More than four years ago, 26-year-old Alex Cannell had just graduated from college and was working in the wealth management field in Boston. Cannell’s life then took a twist when he contracted Lyme disease. He had trouble getting the right diagnosis, causing his condition to worsen and force him to go on work disability.
A musician and songwriter, Cannell moved to Mattapoisett where he has strong family roots. He took his four-year journey and poured it into an album titled, “Things in Motion.” Cannell describes the album as a do-it-yourself effort, featuring himself on drums, bass, guitar and vocals.
The album will be released digitally on Thursday, November 16, on the underground streaming service bandcamp.com. On Thanksgiving, November 23, it will be released on all major streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.
Cannell, a musician for St. Gabriel’s Church in Marion, says he drew artistic inspiration from the picturesque Mattapoisett. His work at the Episcopal Church and his beekeeping hobby helped him connect with nature and use that as a source of healing.
The album cover features waves crashing and the moon, both of which go through complex cycles.
“The waves and tides continue on – no matter what,” Cannell said. “It represents the fluidity of life in general.”
A guitarist first, Cannell says he also drew musical inspiration from the Grateful Dead, the late Jerry Garcia and the jam-band tradition.
The last piece is an instrumental, meditative piece – a perfect way to end an album that culminates the last four years of Cannell’s life – taking his pain and confusion from Lyme disease and turning it into a source of inspiration for others.
“The last song is 100 percent guitar – no words or lyrics,” he said. “I did a meditative, peaceful solo to close out the album in a peaceful way.”
Cannell said he went through many doctor visits and medications before he was officially diagnosed with Lyme disease. Four years ago, he had just graduated from St. Lawrence University and was working in the city when the mysterious symptoms left him with no energy and some complex medical issues.
“The aim of the album is to help people with similar afflictions to have somebody to connect with and be inspired by,” Cannell said. “From an illness aspect, people can relate to the title; it represents the cycle of being and living with a chronic illness. It holds the promise that things can come together and unveil a brighter future.”
The album features 10 tracks that “pack a punch,” Cannell said. The songs are short, two to four minutes, but are bound to connect to a “broader community to help them on their journey.”
Those interested in Cannell’s journey or the album itself can also follow Cannell on Instagram.
By Jeffrey D. Wagner