On the album's overall concept: "From the get-go, there are overlapping story lines. One of the stories is the soul coming into the world at the beginning: 'You'll Be Bright,' that's the invocation of welcoming that soul. After that is "You Were Born," the physical birth. And then it gets into more introspective things, like working out inner issues and figuring out who the real you is. A big part of it is also about trying to live responsibly and take total responsibility of your actions.

"I started working on it during [Connie's] pregnancy, and I spent a lot of that time on introspection and facing my inner flaws. The last records were the search for the overall mystery, why we're all here and where we're going. This one is figuring out how I can be a better person while we're here."

On "Blessings (Invocation, Pt. 2)," a pivotal track: "Lyrically, the idea came from a night when Connie and I woke up in the middle of the night and had a scare. That happens a lot with us. We're still really worried we're going to wake up and he'll be gone. There's still that reflex thing. That song came from that, and it's about offering blessings to those spirits that have left and the spirits entering the world, wishing them safe travels, and offering blessings to all the parents who are looking over their kids."

On his song "Running With the Wolves," which includes a line about fleeing from cubicles: "There's an ongoing feeling that so many people get from facing the constant demands of work and a technological society and keeping up with the Joneses. Everybody has that feeling of wanting to simplify their lives and do less -- stare off into space a lot more."

On his own cubicle experience: "Working for Prudential in Brooklyn Park. It was the kind of job where you had a certain quota to meet, and it really wasn't that hard to meet it. So I would work the quota and then go out in my Jeep in the parking lot and work on 'Who Killed Puck' [Cloud Cult's 2001 debut]. As long as I kept up with what they needed, I got away with it. So it wasn't that bad."

On moving deeper into the country: "There's just a lot more balance in our lives here. You get back from touring and you're used to running from point A to B constantly, so it's nice to have the contrast. Here, you go in the hardware store and they expect to talk to you for a few minutes, or the mailman wants to stop and talk to you. It's a nice, slow pace. That drive for the ultimate success in your career isn't as high a priority here, which we welcome."