Tomorrow is a family day. Not that every day isn’t, it’s just that this week in particular we make such an effort to gather together our loved ones. Putting aside the stress and distance, it’s a wonderful thing to find that we are all joined in such a profound bond; that we are not the first, nor will we be the last to experience the world. It’s not our sole responsibility to navigate it.
Holly Williams’ family has a vibrant musical story. As Hank Williams’ granddaughter, she has a birthright of song. And because her husband, Chris Coleman, is a musician, singing and playing guitar is something they can share as a family. When we visited them in Nashville, they sang “Amazing Grace,” together in their home with their dogs at their feet. It was the picture and sound of togetherness and warmth.
Some things never change, and we like them that way. It’s comforting to sit in the same taped up vinyl booth in our local rock club, and to know that a simple, well-crafted rock riff will always make us feel good.
With his timeless songwriting and style, John Paul Keith was right at home in front of our Presto surrounded by the decor of Memphis’ Hi-Tone Cafe. His flipside song sums it up perfectly, how someone can exist in many different moments all at once. The comfort of the old, the lure of the new, and the place in between where we find ourselves most times.
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.
As summer drifts away in a shimmery breeze, it’s hard to remember what it felt like to be truly cold in the winter months. But listening back to the recordings we made in February with Valerie June we were instantly reminded of the chillness in the air that made the warmth in her performance so especially lovely.
Valerie chose “Happy or Lonesome” to pay tribute to a performer from the past who might just be her namesake. But as she sang her long-distance longing with such a hopeful tone, we had to wonder if she had Memphis on her mind, too.
Valerie is effervescent when she plays a happy song, so buoyant and free that it fills you with a heady happiness to hear her. For her flipside she chose a love song, “Raindance” – maybe to offset the murder ballad she’d done earlier in honor of Valentines Day – but definitely to bring a little light to the dark winter evening.