The beginning of a new week means just a few days are left in our 7 days of 78s…and that a holiday weekend is in sight! Just in case you were afraid your Monday might lack a little flavor, we have a dash of Memphis hot sauce to add to it. Trust us, it cooks.
We’ve heard that when you’re in Memphis, every night is like the end of the world. After our last full day there, which we packed with a marathon three recordings, we’re pretty sure we know what that means. The Bo-Keys and Percy Wiggins were our final shoot of the day, and we arrived bone-weary and excited beyond belief. A splendidly shabby room packed with incredible musicians, the dark Memphis night for a backdrop, and a bold, old-school, no-holds barred sound that challenged our mic and carved itself into a perfect record.
Today is a Sunday afternoon with an agenda. It seeks to usher us into a real Autumn for the first time since the months of strange and unseasonable weather began.
Today the sky is powdery and sunny and the air is quick and brisk; the experience of being out in it is haunting and energizing.
Who are we to argue with such a Fall day? It demands a song to match its mood. So Arborea’s flipside track “Red Bird” is the perfect song for this afternoon. We recorded with the duo on a sun-cooked hotel porch in rural Pennsylvania in August, but it was always meant to be a song for a more solemn season.
In the spirit of the freewheelin’ freedom that comes with the weekend, today feels like the perfect day to share Ella Mae Bowen’s rockin’ flipside “Heart Locked Out.”
We recorded with Ella Mae in the house in Nashville that inspired her songwriting, and we felt so freewheelin’ that day that we set up on the staircase instead of in a room. Her voice and her presence were bright and strong. And when she sang, she turned the excitement of youth into something beautiful and vital we can all understand.
Our second day in our week of giving thanks recalls another week not too long ago when we felt very fortunate. Just after returning from our first recording trip to the South, The 78 Project was invited to participate in IFP’s Independent Film Week in New York as part of the Spotlight on Documentaries. We were so honored, and we wanted to do something special as a way of showing our appreciation. So we invited our dear friend Timmy Mislock (The Antlers, Abandoned Lighthouse) to record a 78 with us during our screening time at the conference. Timmy sang “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down” for a rapt audience of filmmakers and industry and a few invited friends. And we played it back for everyone right there in the room!
Why give thanks for just one day? We feel like we’re going to need the whole week to express our gratitude for everything that’s happened with The 78 Project so far, and everything that is to come. So for the next six days we’ll be posting a 78 from our Southern Road Trip (you might even remember them from our Kickstarter campaign updates) every day and adding them to our online archive!
Star & Micey stirred up the morning air in St. Mary’s Cathedral in downtown Memphis with their Flipside, a brand new, never-before-recorded “Rocky Song,” during a harmony-filled morning session that left us all speechless.
“Red River Valley” is one of those songs for which everyone has their own story. It has at least a dozen claimed origins – as many as the regions the Valley touches and then some – and everyone who knows the song, knows it from a different source. An emotional scene in a movie, a family who sang it together, a battered LP bought at a yard sale, a childhood school music class. The common thread being that wherever the song is heard first, it strikes a chord and takes on a personal meaning. Because like so many songs about a place, it is actually about the people in it. It can be sung by a lone cowboy in a secluded mountain valley, or as a duet in a New York apartment. Love and loss are the same everywhere.
Buy it on iTunes.
After listening to it together with them in the room, and again at home as we prepared to post it, Lisa and Joe’s Flipside song continues to amaze. “Little Bird” – which Lisa wrote and Joe produced the album version of – is a song of metaphors and images, complex in its design, but simple and perfect in its emotion. And their performance of it is simple and perfect in its emotion to match.
This past week we watched a storm devastate our city. We felt the weight of the sky bearing down on us, reminding us that in some ways we are powerless. During the days after the winds died down, we spent almost all of our time feeling thankful that we had our lives and our loved ones, despite what was lost.
It was a reminder that the ways we feel and express our gratitude for life must be purposeful and can be grand.
We can gather in a place where the roof is high enough so that the weight of the world doesn’t sit directly on our heads and shoulders. And we can fill that high ceiling with song to show that we have the power of grace to return to the sky. As Adam Arcuragi did this past Spring in a chapel in Harlem when we met him there to record. His message of gratitude for life gives a perfect sense of calm in this week of uncertainty.
Buy it on iTunes.
This month of connecting with our friends, family and fans to fund our movie has been wonderful. We feel so energized by everyone’s support!
Our Kickstarter campaign to fund The 78 Project Feature Film ends Friday, October 5. We can finish strong with your help!
These next few days are your last chance to contribute to our movie fund. We’d love to have you be a part of this journey! Please go to our Kickstarter campaign page and read a little bit more about our fundraising efforts and plans for finishing the film. And donate if you can!
This movie has already exceeded our expectations, and we still have more shooting ahead! We compiled this video for our Kickstarter, made of moments from the The 78 Project web series, to give an idea of the kinds of experiences we will be finding as we shoot the film. Take a look, and if you like what we’re doing, please join in and help us continue.
So many amazing things have happened this month as a result of this community-driven funding campaign.
We had the opportunity to post four great new tracks from our adventure as updates in our campaign. You can hear Arborea‘s “Red Bird,” Ella Mae Bowen‘s flipside song “Heart Locked Out,” Timmy Mislock performing “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down,” and Star & Micey‘s flipside “Rocky Song.”
Plus we’ve gotten wonderful press. Over the last two weeks our project and our Kickstarter campaign were featured in The Village Voice, USA Today’s PopCandy blog and The Awl.
Thank you truly and deeply for watching and listening and supporting The 78 Project!