by oakwool

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written, performed, and recorded by aidan stoddart

cover art by jillian hesler


released December 30, 2016


there are a lot of these, but i must give them.

so much has changed since i began working on this music more than a year ago. i'm halfway through my final year in high school, and in a couple of weeks i will be registering to attend a college that i love. this year has given me my closest friends and some of my most memorable experiences to date, and i am so incredibly thankful for all of it.

this music is who i am, and as such, it makes sense that i attribute it to all the people who have made me who i am today.

thanks to God, first of all, for being the love that binds my world, and for giving me hands that can kind of, sort of get away with playing bar chords.

thanks to my wonderful family. thanks to my mom, who is funnier than i am and who taught me that people are good. thanks to my sister, who is a better person than i am and who taught me that i have a lot to learn. thanks to my dad, who read to me every night for most of my childhood and who introduced me not only to middle earth and narnia and camelot, but also to myself.

thanks to nana and amma, for believing that i am special in some way and for being endlessly supportive of my exploits.

thanks to aunt tami for being a fan, and to uncle john, corey, and chelsea for being awesome and inspiring people.

thank you to the truly splendid community at church of our saviour episcopal; more than anywhere else, i feel that coos is my home. thanks to emily rutledge, my stupendous youth minister, for loving me unconditionally, especially in those hours when i struggle to love myself. she has also bought me a lot of food over the years, a gift with value that cannot be understated. i like carbs; sue me.

thank you to all of my terrific close friends. i really can't believe that i have you, and i don't know how to begin listing all of you. but i love you so much, and you are my anchors. thanks for putting up with my stress and letting me send a few of you weird demos of songs i write.

thanks to my friends from governor's school. you are all tremendous human beings who are going to change this world, and that is not a hyperbole. thank you for welcoming me and reminding me of my own value.

thanks to madeline michel and all the members of the monticello theatre community. you guys are the best and i have been able to do so many cool things thanks to you.

thanks to judy gary for letting me be a part of the amazing virginia consort youth chorale. what a fun choir to sing in each week. we sing the hallelujah chorus every year, and we just sang it at our 2016 christmas show. it was my last time, and it made me feel really emotional.

many, many, many thanks to my teachers at monticello high school. i would not be where i am without you. particularly, thanks to the inimitable lord baran for being my sounding board and for giving me opportunities that have made me a better, wiser person. thanks to tim hickey, who believed in me and who helped me love math again. thanks to dean eliason and barry keith, two men whom i will never forget for a wealth of reasons. they are going to have to deal with me visiting them and telling them stupid anecdotes well into my adult life. thanks to my counselor, shamika terrell, for continuously telling me that i have potential, and to adam southall and paul jones for backing her up. thanks to geoff parks for seeing a lightbulb in my head even when i was too scared to flip the lightswitch. thanks to eric schmalz, a man who helped me discover my passion for history and religion, and a truly hilarious gentleman.

this one deserves its own paragraph because she's been dealing with me since the first two days of my freshman year: a gigantic thank you to shannon deegan, who has given me so many amazing opportunities to explore the world of language and the world of humans both in journalism and in english class. she is so endlessly supportive; i probably show up in her room several times a week, even when i don't have class, just because i'm anxious all the time and she reminds me that my ideas are worth it through her feedback. and she doesn't even act annoyed when i appear! in all seriousness, thank you, mrs. deegan. you are one of those teachers i'll talk about for years to come.

thanks to judy cutright. i love you, mrs. cutright. you made the mess that is middle school worth it. you also gave me a love for shakespeare and for theatre in general, a love that has impacted me in myriad ways. i see mrs. cutright at church now, and a few weeks ago, she told me that i could start calling her judy now that i'm an adult. this is difficult for me, and i told her i'd get back to her on that.

thanks to my favorite musicians, not that they know who i am. they have influenced me artistically, moved me emotionally, and inspired me when i felt depressed. particular thanks goes to sigur rós, whose album "takk..." quite literally changed my life, and to neil finn, who taught me through his music and through his lovely interviews that songs are good and potent things.

thanks to j.r.r. tolkien, c.s. lewis, lloyd alexander, neil gaiman, richard adams, and the other fantasists who gave me a love for otherworldly things. if you haven't noticed, professor tolkien, your legendarium shows up in my songwriting in less-than-subtle ways. i hope you don't mind.

thanks to julian of norwich, whose amazing and age-old book, "revelations of divine love," reinvigorated my faith and augmented my compassion. her theology also inspires my song-writing in many ways.

finally, thanks to the following poem by rumi.


"the way of love is not
a subtle argument.

the door there
is devastation.

birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.

how do they learn that?
they fall, and falling,
they're given wings."


thank you for listening, and peace to you,



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oakwool Charlottesville, Virginia

Aidan Stoddart plays music in his basement

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Track Name: heavensfield
heavensfield lies in foggy air
there's a sense of despair, in the grasses, in the stones
heavensfield, i'm a king returning; i'm a lordling
lights, torches, and harps, and falling dark in

heavensfield, in all its wonder
i came here in autumn as a twig, i loved the snow and every sprig
of thistle on the moor, yes, Lord, i've been here before
but it's tainted now, the ink hit the lantern in
Track Name: things that creep
deep inside a glen-made bosk i lay
verdant murmurs lullabied the day
somewhere aloft, somewhere far away
past the reach of branches light strayed

still as now the dew flows through their veins
when i look up the fireflies play their games
the things that creep fill my heart with strains
'cause i know that my life's filled with all these banes
Track Name: tweed-patch man
"am i an iconoclast?"
the tweed-patch man asked
sitting with the mushrooms, moss, and grass
where his love lasted

"they call me a torching foe,
who's lighting everything for sake of woe, i don't know
what am i forsaking except ghosts and zealots
who scare the crows?"

and the fish said, "o, it gives us life"

"they say they've got something alchemic
they've made a sword an alembic
am i a heretic, to ponder each stone,
every stick?"

then the dam was fructifying,
the tweed man said "dear ones i'm trying!
they wear in the stream their rusty armor, to end the
water's murmurs!"

and the fish said, "o, it gives us life"

"when i am all alone
when fluttering memories find cerebral homes
i find people i have known, their breath is strong, their seeds
have grown."

and the fish said, "o it gives us life."
Track Name: hiding sun
someday i’ll walk my garden path
someday i’ll stride right back
it’s all i have in these caves
it’s all i’ve got to stop being grave
it’s all i have in the dark
it’s all i’ve got in my heart

i’ll come back

the world ahead and behind,
sun sets behind peaks unkind
westerly, laughing at me
by ring, by star, where the elves are
i’m free

i’m frightened
Track Name: faire
when the fluttering faeries sang
with the heart and the psaltery
they recounted to me tales of a realm
vibrant with hues and light

and it fills my pebble steps
that in a day i'll be bereft
left with all the dancing and happy wandering
lingering inside my head

it's the most lovely thing

were merriment not a bee sting
were i not so enamored with honey and fantasy things
there'd not be such sadness in every bell i hear
when bumbles ring, still i miss the spring

when gnarled wood and roots, knocked
while the glass folk smiled and strode under
branches and into the shops
sparkling eyes that tell you stories older than the mossy rocks

i walked in a bustling little land

o, melody, come to me
in the smoke, in the swells
in that village where all is well
patience of the merry sidhe
bring home back to me
there's beauty in all i hear,
smell, and see

i am a story
Track Name: lanterns
there’s some odd spirit in me
and he’s gathering all the lanterns
and hanging them on a tree
that shades my thoughts and flowers

now that i’m going away
he’s left a memory stained in my mind
over grass and path, in night and day
there’s warmth in me though home is behind

and when i lie, o, o
on a knot, on the journey far
i dream of wooden brothers i know;
i’ve hung them up with stars

there’s something tookish in me
it’s wandering, rendering me restless
and i guess it’s foolish of me
for it i’m leaving these pantries and chests

oh for a longing song
i’m wistful like a willowtree
i can’t fathom how long i’ve been gone
now there’s something grey in me

and when i lie, o, o
on a knot, on the journey far
i dream of wooden brothers i know;
i’ve hung them up with stars
Track Name: collapsing in the cloud of unknowing
i can't sleep
everything is crumbling over me
telling me i'm not enough
that i'm not who i am

if i could sing myself away
i'd try my best
there's no use in self-inflicted lullabies
so i breathe and wait for you