Long Black Veil

I’ve heard many songs over the years that have made me stop and question what the song lyrics are saying. Is it a double entendre? A double meaning? Could it be two interpretations, with one that is perhaps a bit risque? Maybe the song contains some ambiguity that shades the lyrics in different understandings? It could be simply me hearing something that the author never intended the song to say.

I listened to four albums by Johnny Cash over the last weekend, and one song caught my attention. That song was “Long Black Veil,” a 1959 country ballad written by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin and initially recorded by Lefty Frizzell. Since then, dozens of cover versions have existed by some very prominent artists, a testament to the quality of the original songs writing. I include this version from The Band whom I enjoy.

The song starts with a murder that occurred on a cold dark night, and the few witnesses agreed that the slayer looked a lot like him. The judge gives the accused the chance to avoid death if he had a good alibi. Although he had proof and a credible person to back it up, he never said a word. Why didn’t he say anything? Because he was doing some horizontal dancing with his best friend’s wife. The song then shifts to the lyrics that give us the song title, “She walks these hills in a long black veil.” The story then turns back to the gallows, the narrator tells us that his best friend’s wife sheds not a tear as he is hung for a murder he did not commit, and she is the only one who knows the truth. But she walks the hills alone on stormy nights when she should probably be at home with her husband if they are still an item.

OK, now, let’s break this down. A guy is on trial for a murder that he did not commit because he was shagging his best friend’s wife at the time. He does not tell the judge, thus becoming the hero for not saying anything and protecting their dirty little secret. And she doesn’t say a word to defend him, hells belles, she doesn’t even shed a tear. How much more cold and heartless can a woman get. And what became of her marriage? I would be curious if my wife took walks in the cemetery in the middle of a stormy night; not suspicious at all, is it. Perhaps, he isn’t part of the story. Maybe she continued her cheating ways, and he dumped her, and she has run out of boyfriends, and in her old age, she haunts the tombstone of one man that she had discarded, and it haunts her.

From the narrator’s point of view, he was a hero for protecting her from the slings and arrows of adultery. I find this problematic because heroes don’t go around humping their best friends’ wives. The woman who visits his grave is a victim, like the guy at the necktie party. She is not a heroine. She humped her husband’s best friend and saved herself by sending him to his death, and she didn’t even shed a tear at the gallows—heartless floozy.

In conclusion, this is not a story of a man unjustly hung for a crime he did not quit, and it is not a song about a woman holding her tongue to protect her marriage. It is a song about a man and a woman committing adultery behind her husband’s back. There are no heroes or heroines in this song. There is only cheating, lying, death, and secrets buried at the top of boot hill, where the guilt and memories of the past are buried and visited by a woman in a long black veil.

Long Black Veil 0102

Ten years ago, on a cold dark night
There was someone killed ‘neath the town hall light
There were few at the scene, but they all agreed
That the slayer who ran looked a lot like me

The judge said, “Son, what is your alibi?
If you were somewhere else, then you won’t have to die.”
I spoke not a word though it meant my life,
For I had been in the arms of my best friend’s wife

She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me

The scaffold is high, and eternity nears
She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear
But sometimes, at night, when the cold wind mourns
In a long black veil, she cries over my bones

She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me, nobody knows but me, nobody knows but me.

Archbishop Beardmouth At The ChemOlympics

Now and then, a recording in my inbox or my favourite record store stops me in my tracks and elicits a “What the #&@%” from me. That happened to me on April Fools Day this year. At first, I thought the promotions people were pulling an April Fools prank at my expense. Not so. It was the real deal.

The first thing that gave me pause was the title of this recording, Archbishop Beardmouth At The ChemOlympics. That has to be a prank with a mouthful like that. Not so. That is the name of the EP and its lead track.

The second thing that pulled me up short and caused me to question the legitimacy of this recording was the name of track three, Picadors with Auntie Joan. Track four, Ballytransnational with Da and Esther. Track five, There Goes Waterface with Mrs. Hegarty. Come on. This EP can’t be the real deal. It must be playing me the fool.

Nope, nope and note some more. Those are the actual track names, and the release is the newest EP from one of my favourite new bands, Telefis. Archbishop Beardmouth At The ChemOlympics will be the sixth blog about Telefis and their music that I have posted since November of 2021, so they must be doing something special to garner that much praise from this grumpy old fart.

If you have been counting along with me, you may have noticed that I didn’t mention track two. Archbishop Beardmouth (Thomas Leer Version) is the longest track on this EP and arguably a fan favourite with its dance/trance beats. It takes the most excellent track of this EP and ramps it up to 11 on the volume knob.

There is one more thing to this EP that caused me to investigate further what the #&@% is going on: the cover photo of this EP. See below.

There is still a one-upmanship thing around Telefis; in my opinion, the only thing better than this EP is the full album ‘a hAon‘, released by Dimple Discs on March 4, 2022. At this point in the blog, I will hand the keyboard over to Telefis and let them expand on Archbishop Beardmouth At The ChemOlympics. I should also mention that Telefis is a collaboration between Garret ‘Jacknife’ Lee, Cathal Coughlan and Thomas Leer. It is Thomas Leer that put the beats in Archbishop Beardmouth (Thomas Leer Version. I imagine you figured that out on your own.

On the theme of the song Cathal Coughlan offers this vignette….” Archbishop Beardmouth visits the ChemOlympics, in his full Byzantine-Slavic magnificence, the giant torso-curtain of hair announcing him. He is very gratified by what he sees. Gone are the mandatory drugs tests and geopolitical skirmishes of yore, and instead has come immaculate, chemically-enhanced performance. There’s only the occasional moment when the live camera feed has to be cut in order to enable the re-reading of the script and perhaps the replacement of a competitor. At these times, His Eminence loses interest in the spectacle and becomes aware of the obsequious ravings of a young man seated below him, who points at a laptop screen full of animated bodies – devised, the young man says, by a special form of artificial intelligence. The youth tries to interest the prelate in buying into the “cryptocurrency,” which will fund the growth of this technology, which is named “COPD-coin.” The young man explains that he named it this way because it represents a shock to the international order. His Eminence appears irked by this and begins to grill the young man, “You wish to destabilize your own Motherland in this way? And you dare to approach the Lord God’s representative with this treason?” “No, no, Eminence,” the young man remonstrates, “It shall be prevented from trading in the Motherland. Only in the sinful and subhuman parts of the world will it be allowed to operate. Because those people are stupid and decadent.” The Archbishop raises an eyebrow and leans forward. “Well then, how much money do you need to raise from this scheme?” Later, at the big reception for the dignitaries, there are home movie screenings. On the screen, we see vintage images of Ireland’s famed one-time Orthodox Jansenist Papal ruler, Archbishop John Charles McQuaid (sometimes depicted in the company of his earthly proxy, Éamon de Valera). He parades through a life of saintly self-love (since unfairly besmirched by individuals unfit to have breathed the same air as His Lordship) – from long-con shrine, to concrete basilica, to institution of pious incarceration. It could be said that we shall not see his like again – but let’s give it a go. Viva crypto!”

Bandcamp https://telefis.bandcamp.com/album/archbishop-beardmouth-at-the-chemolympics- ep

 Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/1BRBM5JdtOwJSA6uqXFHxG

‘Archbishop Beardmouth At The ChemOlympics’

https://youtu.be/DpNVvFS9hTk ‘Archbishop Beardmouth At The ChemOlympics (Thomas Leer Remix)’ https://youtu.be/Gu6ZeN-oqEg

 ‘a hAon’ LP order (CD and Vinyl) https://ffm.to/telefisahaon

 ‘a hAon’ LP order (download) https://orcd.co/telefisahaon

 U.S. album order http://ffm.to/telefisusa 

Keep up with Telefís

http://telefis.ie/index.html https://www.facebook.com/telefis1961 https://telefis.bandcamp.comhttps://twitter.com/telefis1961
https://www.instagram.com/telefis https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBQvW6eYx1JL6wY9XBEelfQ https://open.spotify.com/artist/2Kgr6OaELetXaWdKDTpyEr https://music.apple.com/ie/artist/telef%C3%ADs/1569593407

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Perfect Order

I have Scandinavian DNA. Well, at least some of my DNA is from Scandinavia, 47% according to Ancestry.ca. The northern Sami Lands of Finland and Sweden are my heritage, but I don’t speak a word of their languages. However, I am fascinated by their use of ÅÄ, and Ö. These three letters are in addition to the same 26 letters in the English language that I use every day.

My maternal grandfather was Otto Järf, and there are those funny tiny dots over the letter a which becomes ä. My maternal grandmother was from the Pääjärvi family, lots of dots going on there. They were both from the Korpilombolo, Norrbotten area in Sweden.

All of this brings me around in a circuitous way to the word KÅRP. The name of a Swedish band with a dot over the letter A or Å. I have been listening to KÅRP plenty since they released the single It Looks Bad in 2021 on an EP titled Kris. Kris is the Swedish word for crisis. It Looks Bad was the first song ushering in a trio of EPs that explore three stages of the apocalypse: Chaos, Silence, and New World Order.

Kårp started working on their apocalyptic-themed EP trilogy before Covid was a thing. Kris handled subjects like climate change, capitalism and right-wing extremists. The second EP is a reflection on what happens right after a downfall.

“The idea with Perfect Order was to reflect the feeling of what happens right after a downfall. We call it the silence and the absence of all fixed values. The carpet is being torn away under our feet in a place of total nihilism—a time when there is no history or future.

The topic of an apocalypse is somewhat dark just by the very nature of what it represents. music that carries Perfect Order to our ears is, pardon the interruption, in perfect order. Kårp gives us hope that we can get through the dark times. “The idea with Perfect Order was to reflect the feeling of what happens right after a downfall. We call it the silence and the absence of all fixed values. The carpet is being torn away under our feet in a place of total nihilism—a moment in time where there is no history or future. The EP is called Perfect Order because every now and then, we believe that there is a short moment of perfection. We’ve been hoping it could be a nice place to be in, at least for about 15 minutes. There is nothing to do there except to possibly beat a rhythm on a dirty trash can and hope that people start dancing.”

So there we have it, a song of hope. En sång av hopp, I managed to get another letter in with the cute little dot over it. Bra musik reser sig ur apokalypsen och lämnar oss med hopp om en bättre värld framåt.

Follow KÅRP on social media FacebookInstagramTwitterYouTube) and find the band’s music on BandcampSoundCloudSpotify and Apple Music.

KÅRP present their music through the Swedish indie label Smuggler.

The Wheel by Black Rose Burning

I have wanted to write something about the band Black Rose Burning and their recent music and video releases. Please note the word “wanted,” I wanted to write about the music I had the pleasure of hearing. I like their new album, The Wheel and their new video featuring the single release, The Wheel. Anyhow, I have wanted to write this for over a week now but I couldn’t stop listening to the album long enough to hear my own voice. Better late than never.

Let’s launch this blog with the album, The Wheel; there are a lot of wheels going on here. The album’s name is The Wheel. The newest single is, you guessed it, The Wheel. The video in support of the single is also The Wheel. It feels like I am driving a Polaris Slingshot, sleek, angular lines, fast, stands out in a crowd and is easy to like. Although Black Rose Burning does have some fun with its music, it is not a Relient Robin. It just occurred to me that rockets don’t have wheels, just playing with my head.

From the first note of the opening track, An Anthem for the Strange, I was hooked. The opening consists of pulsing syncopation that ushers in the synths and the rest of the instruments. Maybe not so much ushers, perhaps more like a black hole that sucks you into is gapping maw. That momentum never slacks off.

Black Rose Burning makes music very well. They also know how to write intelligent lyrics. I particularly like these words from the opening track, An Anthem for the Strange.

“This for the stranger who hides among the darkness

This is for the strange, who hide within their silence.”

I have to confess that my interest in this recording is biased. I am a science fiction fan. Geoge Grant, who formed Black Rose Burning in 2018, is also into sci-fi. In George’s words, “I write about outer space a lot. On both records. I find it inspirational. It’s vastness. It’s the place I’d most like to go. Maybe the place I’d most like to escape to might be a better definition.”

“This is the third video for the Black Rose Burning Sci-Fi space series ‘Under Twin Suns‘, which documents the journey of “The Traveler” from earth to his homeworld. The song encouraged the spaghetti western feel of this video, which is a space age homage to films like ‘High Plains Drifter‘ and ‘The Good The Bad And The Ugly‘. I’m a big fan of that genre of films as well, and I’ve always wanted to pay tribute with a video of my own,” says George Grant.

The video supporting the album’s namesake, The Wheel, is also a bit of fun that stays in the context of the cheesy spaghetti western. George Grant tells us, “This is the third video for the Black Rose Burning Sci-Fi space series ‘Under Twin Suns‘, which documents the journey of “The Traveler” from earth to his homeworld. The song encouraged the spaghetti western feel of this video, which is a space age homage to films like ‘High Plains Drifter’ and ‘The Good The Bad And The Ugly’. I’m a big fan of that genre of films as well, and I’ve always wanted to pay tribute with a video of my own,” says George Grant.

While The Wheel video may be a bit of fun, the music on the album is more down to earth while still working within the framework of a sci-fi story. George Grant is the leading man on this album. Wearing the hats of instrumentalist, producer, and engineer, George Grant has created a stellar recording. The Wheel was recorded and mixed by George Grant at PVRCo in Putnam Valley, NY and The Wolf’s Den Manhattan. Jason Corbett mastered The Wheel at Jacknife Sound Vancouver. Jason spearheads the band ACTORS who come through my neck of the woods tomorrow. So much good music and so little time to hear it all.

Back to Black Rose Burning and their release “The Wheel.” While the video has a playful feel of classic sci-fi campiness, the album is down-to-earth good listening material. There is a consistent feel to the album from start to finish. The Wheel shoots through 12 galaxy’s through a 50 minute time portal. Sit back and enjoy the trip.

‘The Wheel’ https://youtu.be/ScsvrYbGwgg
Bandcamp https://blackroseburning.bandcamp.com/album/the-wheel
Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/5rgo6CEVqJyQzEbRUlSPYc
Apple Music https://music.apple.com/us/album/the-wheel/1597809360

Keep up with Black Rose Burning
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St. Arnaud

Way back on February 2 of this year, it honestly feels like an eternity ago, I did a blog on the single, Catching Flies, from the band St. Arnaud and enthusiastically endorsed it. I have been listening to it again for the umpteenth time since February 2 came and went. Catching Flies did not buzz off.

On March 23, my son Joel and I are in the Starlite Room waiting for St. Arnaud to take the stage. We were the first non-staff/musicians to enter this old building. It used to be a cute cathedral. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyy_yiZ-3DY The Starlite Room was originally a “citadel” (church or place of worship) for the Salvation Army, constructed in 1925. If these walls could talk, I am sure there is a song waiting to be sung.

We parked ourselves in our favourite corner of the balcony, and I noticed Ian St. Arnaud was sitting just behind us talking to someone. I boldly asked him if he could sign my CD, and he blurted out, “Where Did You Get This?” He didn’t shout, but he was sure excited. This was the first time he had seen the CD, Love And The Front Lawn, which would not be released until April 29! He signed it “Copy # 1” with his signature.

The opener, Wyatt C. Louis, is an emerging artist with a couple of good songs. I feel that with time and experience, Wyatt will be an artist to keep on the radar. Check him out on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsLeoGHBeds

Ian takes the stage with a crackerjack band, and I feel that the band generates more energy live than they due on an album. And that is saying a lot because I think the album is damn good. The band looked like they genuinely enjoyed being up there and playing music after the long Covid hibernation. They bantered with the crowd and interacted with each throughout the show and during their little jam sessions.

It isn’t often that a band has a single horn player, Whitney is the only other one that I can think of, and that is a funny coincidence because we bought their CD at a show in the Starlite Room before it was officially released. Two bands with a horn player and I have their music in hand before hitting the store shelves.

My first taste of St. Arnaud’s music was when they opened for Lucy Rose at the Temple on July 17, 2019. They impressed me, and I was eager to hear them again post-Covid. They did not disappoint. Ian St. Arnaud is front and center with a sweet vintage Harmony guitar that makes some beautiful noise.

I was remiss in not getting all the band members’ names and their signatures on the CD, live and learn Norman. I assume the drummer is Will Holowaychuk from the band’s formative years. He holds the beats so smooth that I almost forgot that he is playing.

There is a slick Telecaster player, the trumpet man and a bassist. Five musicians that I hope to see again. I was going to add that I hope to hear them again, but that would be silly because I am listening to them on Apple Music while I type this, and no, I will not be listening to the CD; it is retired to the vault, and I will get a player copy when St. Arnaud the album Love and The Front Lawn is released via Mystic Sons.

All photos are courtesy of Joel Weatherly https://jweatherly.ca

The Call

Let The Day Begin, from 1989, is a strong album from start to finish that showcases the group finding their groove and working it to perfection. For me, a standout track is the title track that went to number one as a single release. The album generally had good reviews, me included. It isn’t an overproduced record due to the band wanting a rough around the edges feel in an attempt to have some of their live energy captured in a studio.

Into the Woods, 1987 vintage, has more than one standout track. In The River gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. I can’t put the finger on what it is about this song that elicits a strong reaction, but I know that I like hearing the music repeatedly. Memory was a neat coincidence this time around the turntable. I was scanning family photos as part of my genealogy preservation project, and the song Memory came on.

In my memory
I can still see that face
In my memory
I can still hear the voice
I remember talking with you
The stories I could tell
In my memory
I remember you still

Perfect timing for word association. Good memories that I could both see and hear, a good coincidence.

The album Reconciled from 1986 has one of my favourite album covers. I felt this album delved into their faith more than some other albums. While not strictly a Christian band, they certainly did not hide their faith, and it shows up on Reconciled. Reconciled also has some of the best bass lines from their catalogue. Michael Been, the lead writer and singer of the band, was also the bass player, and he seems to have risen higher in the mix on this album.

I also listened to their self-titled album, The Call, and Modern Romans and Scene Beyond Dreams. They are the first three albums from The Call, and while still good, I didn’t take any notes while listening to these three albums. I feel they were building blocks that culminated in their later work, which I sincerely appreciate. I also have the album Red Moon, but it is on CD, and I am focusing on vinyl.

How to Make a Paper Airplane

There is a new album out that I think is a very good listen. I should know; I’ve heard it about a dozen times. It How to Make a Paper Airplane by Andy Zipf.

Andy Zipf has hit the nail on the head with this album. It speaks to me on several levels and pulls on some heartstrings along the way. I’ll give you a few of the most striking examples. The whole album is good, but a few songs stand out above the others, for me at least.

The opening track had me just by reading the title. Everything is Fine. I’m ok. How Are You? There was no waiting period, no playing it ten times trying to find an angle. I have been struggling lately over the fact that I don’t have a friend. I have dozens of “friends” on Facebook, but I don’t have a friend in the physical form. I recently heard the title track from the sitcom Cheers, which ties into the same vein as Everything is Fine. I’m ok. How Are You?

From Cheers:

“Making your way in the world today takes

Everything you’ve got. 

Taking a break from all your worries

sure would help a lot. 

Wouldn’t you like to getaway? 

Sometimes you want to go 

Where everybody knows your name, 

and they’re always glad you came.

I have recently been lamenting that I don’t have friends like the ones in Cheers. I don’t miss the bar scene where Cheers happened and where everybody knew my name. And where they were glad I came there. I long for that genuine friendship. Perhaps post-Covid, I can find some of that friendship again, without the beer this time!

Let’s get back to Andy Zipf and the title track. Everything is fine. I’m ok.

How are you?

Everything is fine. I’m ok.

How are you?

Oh, you know. Cant’ complain.

I’m all right. Fair to middling.

It was so good running into you.

Yes, it was. Let’s hang soon.

Take care, man.

(But what I really want to say

is that I’m lost

I don’t know who I am anymore

I’m fallin’)

Everything is fine.

Everything is fine.

We lie to ourselves that everything is fine. We lie to others, or at least we withhold the truth.

Everything is not fine. I hurt. I hurt emotionally. I hurt physically. Everything is not fine.

I really wanna scream out loud.

What have you been doing with your life?

I gotta get myself together man.

I could write a thesis on the difference between friends and acquaintances. I want to scream out that everything is not fine. Everything is not ok. I have stuff going on, and I am sure you do too, so let’s get real, how are you doing? An acquaintance from the past used to ask a loaded question that cut through the b.s. He would ask, “how is your heart?” Let’s move on to another track.

Hey There, Dragonfly is a great tune that touches upon taking the time to see the glory in the details that are always around us, but we seldom notice. The song also has this great line:

talk to my ego

tell him to let go

of what he has not done yet

and the anchor of regret

We do not have any control over two things in life. One is the future, what we have not done yet. Shit is gonna happen; let go of it.

The second thing is the past and the anchor of regret over what we did not do. Or the anchor of regret over what we did do. We can’t change the past; let go of it. Talk to my ego, tell him to let go.

Next up is some gut-level music. (Altar Boys, you should give it a spin.)

It’s hard to pray anymore is a chapter out of my book of life. It’s not just hard to pray anymore. I don’t pray at all anymore.

It’s Hard To Pray Anymore

I’d ask the Lord for some peace in my heart,

but I don’t pray anymore

twenty-third Psalm

I shall not want

I just want to be counted

I can’t say out loud that I’m broken

I’d ask the Lord for some peace in my heart,

but I don’t pray anymore

now I’m forced to remember

I ain’t gonna get all the answers

I’d ask the Lord

for a pillar of fire, but I don’t pray anymore

It’s hard to pray anymore

To me, this is a power-packed song from a powerful album. Several years ago, I walked away from my life as an evangelical pastor, and I don’t pray anymore. I would also add that I don’t have all the answers. When it comes right down to the brass tacks, I have precious few answers. And when I look at the world around me, I’d ask the Lord for a pillar of fire, but I don’t pray anymore.

I will elucidate on just one more track from How to Make a Paper AirplaneYou Won’t Need Your Glasses Anymore. This song chokes me up. My Dad passed away, and this song hits so many memories that it could have been written about my Dad and me. The last night that I spent with him, I whispered in his ear that I was letting go of him, and it was ok with me if he let go. He did let go twenty-four hours later. I guess Dad won’t need his glasses anymore. Pass the Kleenex, please.

This album is full of moments that took my breath away. There were moments of endearment that put a smile in my heart, such as the title track, How to Make a Paper Airplane. And then there are moments of beautiful pain that gave me pause to stop and mull it over. There is a quote that I like, it has been attributed to several people, and it goes like this. “Music is the silence between the notes.” I had to pause between songs on this album to let the words sink in, to let the music speak between the notes, much like taking the time to notice a dragonfly.

I won’t unpack anymore of the songs on How to Make a Paper Airplane. You can listen for yourself. I hope it gives you as much pleasure as it gave me.

The entire album is out on these platforms:

Spotify

YouTube

Apple Music

SoundCloud

TIDAL

Rodney Cromwell present “Memory Box”

Adam Cresswell, aka Rodney Cromwell, will be releasing his new album, “Memory Box,” on March 18, compliments of Happy Robot Records.

Rodney Cromwell dips into the inspiration inkwells of synth-pop and chill-wave, taking cues from Kraftwerk, The Cure, Polyrock, Stereolab and others. Gary Numan and Vince Clarke are also floating in and out through the album, to my ears, at least.

Moving from robotic voicing to orchestral synth waves, Rodney Cromwell is giving us an album of enchanting music with lyrics that span topics as diverse as the dangers of TV shopping and the unfulfilled future that we were offered but never received.

Memory Box is full of synth waves dancing in and out, sweeping us off our feet one moment and encouraging us to sit and listen to the next one. The tracks march incessantly forward with drum machines keeping everything moving and melding seamlessly as the tracks merge into the album’s whole.

The ‘Memory Box’ LP is out on March 18 via Happy Robots Records with distribution by Cargo Records. Distributed by Cargo Records, it will be available on yellow vinyl LP, in stores and digitally on all the major platforms, including SpotifyApple Music and Bandcamp.

‘Memory Box’ LP order https://rodneycromwell.bandcamp.com/album/memory-box-2

‘Opus Three’ single https://youtu.be/SfT_MeP1CqY

Bandcamp https://rodneycromwell.bandcamp.com/album/opus-three

Artist Spotify https://open.spotify.com/artist/5dTvT69KRMnuB2l3rq945G

‘Memory Box’ video https://youtu.be/aY1Uza7pz8M  

‘Memory Box’ EP https://rodneycromwell.bandcamp.com/album/memory-box-single

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/6t05EvrYYzpd4AhHinhNPf 

Keep up with Rodney Cromwell

Website | Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | YouTube | Spotify | Apple Music | Amazing Radio | Booking contact | Press contact

Keep up with Happy Robots Records

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Sokolonko

Ukraine-based electronic producer 6TH CROWD (a.k.a. Dari Maksymova) presents her new single ‘Sokolonko’, inspired by an old harvest song. This is the first offering from the album ‘Step’ (the Ukrainian word for Steppe), which she was working on when Russia invaded Ukraine, turning the country into a war zone.  

“This is a Ukrainian song from Donbas, my dear home region, which Russia is tearing apart right now. I didn’t know if I’d have a chance to do it later. In my research, as I learned more about folk Ukrainian music, I noticed that modern culture has plenty of references to music from western and central parts of my country, but nothing from the east.  Nothing from my home. Culturally it simply didn’t exist. So I decided I wanted to change that balance and bring songs from East Ukraine back to life, to remind myself and everyone that Donbas is a historical part of Ukraine, no matter how badly Putin wants to destroy it,” says Dari Maksymova.

“If people don’t remember their own history, someone can rewrite it for them. And then come with guns to “defend” Russian people in Ukraine, Moldova, or Serbia.”

In 2020, 6TH CROWD emerged on the electronic music scene with her debut ‘Avoid The Void’ EP, which addressed certain issues regarding the newfound COVID-19 situation, social distancing, lockdown and quarantines. In 2021, she released the ‘What Happened’ EP via French label 50 Degrees North Recordingson the trail of 2020 singles 1312′ and ‘Не вивожу (Ne Vyvozhu)’.

“Over a week ago, Russia invaded Ukraine, shelling cities and killing hundreds of civilians. The Russian president calls it a “special operation” for “saving Russian-speaking people.” A more accurate term for it is “war”. And even more accurately is the intention behind this war: Russification, and Russification is cultural genocide. It’s clear that the ancient Greeks don’t exist, but we know of them because their cultural artifacts have been preserved. In the absence of their books, literature and artwork, we wouldn’t otherwise know anything about them as a people. Their history would simply cease to exist. That’s the goal of Russification – to remove all of the distinct and unique ethnic histories and merge them into one,” says Dari Maksymova.

“When Communists gathered different nations under the umbrella of the USSR, they desperately needed to rewrite history. They needed everyone to share the same bland fake ethnicity, they needed people to forget their roots. So people would never get second thoughts about belonging to ‘the great empire”, never question orders and the party line.  While, in newly-built cities, their Russification program was going pretty well, people in villages continued to be a real pain in the ass.  They lived and worked far from centralized sources of information and relied on the government very little… and didn’t rush to become Soviet people. Yes, they lived in the Soviet Union and yes, they worked in Soviet fields, but one thing they did that drove the Russians crazy: the villagers spoke Ukrainian and sang their own songs.”

She adds: “Before people had Spotify, they sang to themselves –  while working in fields, while fighting, getting married… they sang all the time. Those songs passed from one to another, along with very important information about people. What language they spoke, what they believed, what they hoped, who their heroes were. Songs from people are also songs about people.”

You can support 6TH CROWD by downloading this single, available via Bandcamp and Apple Music, who will donate proceeds to Vostok SOS, whose humanitarian campaign includes helping people evacuate and providing humanitarian aid and psychosocial support, with hotlines for affected people and a team on the ground in the region, coordinating aid.

You can also add this song to your Spotify playlists. But the most important thing right now is to support Ukraine. You can donate to humanitarian missions, directly to the army, spread awareness about this ugly war, and join demonstrations in your city. There are also many other ways you can help Ukraine now and numerous options for supporting humanitarian aid efforts in the region.

Bandcamp https://6thcrowd.bandcamp.com/album/sokolonko
YouTube https://youtu.be/-XXLDxVkKE8
Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/0S0znk9tCYKyLdcRFpcJw9
Apple Music https://music.apple.com/us/album/соколонько-single/1611393289
How to help Ukraine https://bit.ly/36V7Ff6
More on how to help Ukraine https://bit.ly/35weaog