The album "Muse Tree", which contains many songs from early in Julean Rai's songwriting career, as well as some newer songs, written for the album about real people and events at around the same time, starting from his journey leaving home at seventeen. From "The Roots" (a story about losing a first love while at the same time choosing to leave home), to "Fifth Street Coffee Song" (a story about 90s coffee shop culture, to "For Me" (a song about a last jaunt with an old friend before friendship fades into early adulthood), each song is an autobiographical account of real life, real people, real loss, and real change.
In an abandoned warehouse -- turned into rented artist's studios -- with two guitars, a snare drum, a mixing console, scattered percussion instruments and piecemeal recording equipment, Julean set out to create an album that had been both performed and waiting for galvanization for over a decade. The studio became his home for the next 40 days -- waking to record and often falling asleep at his board. Julean would eat, sleep, record, and master his creation; rarely leaving the confines of the studio. These sessions for the "Muse Tree" would also include sessions for album two, "Darlene" (European release: "Here."), as well as "Alexandria, Falling" and "Disconnect". He would not return to New York until all four projects were completed, and ready to be heard.
With the aid of friend and artist Benjamin Bader and promoter Bill Cunningham, Julean would complete all four projects, returning to New York to begin work on album three, "Secrets and Stains", while writing the material for the more-recent "Candy" EP (featured on "Live at the Baggot Inn").
This was the second attempt to perfect this first chapter: the first occurred three years earlier, in 2003.
"Muse Tree" was recorded alongside and in the same sessions as "Alexandria, Falling", "Here.", and "Disconnect". Intended to be used sellable merchandise to fund a hastily planned move to Europe from New York City, "Muse Tree" was equally hastily mixed, mastered and burned to recordable CDs alongside printed, one-sided covers for the trip (called the "European demos".
Distributed by hand during last minute open mic spots, squeezed in shows, busking excursions and eventually real shows in London, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Vienna, Hradec, many points in Romania and Hungary, and eventually Poland (where Julean settled), the album eventually found its way onto the Torrent networks, which was responsible for most of the early distribution of this album.
In 2017, Origen Music released a fully remixed and remastered version of "Muse Tree", which contained unreleased takes and material from the original sources and a professional master.