The newest album from the folk outfit Lost in the Trees is a very personal one. Ari Picker, the creative force behind the band, began writing the songs for A Church That Fits Our Needs after the death of his mother, Karen Shelton. She was an artist herself, one who struggled with mental illness throughout her life. In 2008, she killed herself.
"When you grow up with enough emotional obstacles, your body and your mind become adapted to that in some way — you learn to deal with it efficiently," Picker says. "When I found out about [her death], my brain just went into creative mode."
The resulting recordings exist somewhere between folk, rock and chamber music. Picker says he imagines the album as an earthly refuge for his mother's troubled spirit.
"I wanted to give my mother a space to become all the things I think she deserved to be and wanted to be, and all the beautiful things in her that didn't quite shine while she was alive," says Picker. "I feel like that's what a church should do: They should give you the space to reflect and be the best person you can be."