This album touches on themes of longing, grief, and fighting for justice in an era when white supremacy is on the rise. I wanted to capture the sound of the band I’ve played with on tour on the east coast over the past few years – Conrad Sisk on cello, and Joel Price on mandolin, violin, and harmony vocals.
The first recording I made was All the Livelong Day, an EP with my first band Eli Conley and Hip for Squares in 2011. We recorded all of the parts one at a time in my bandmate Maia Wiitala’s bedroom in the basement of her parents’ house. Her friend Justin Vanegas was kind enough to record us for free, and it was a great way to learn about the recording process and get used to playing my guitar parts to a click track (basically a metronome in your headphones to keep you playing at a steady rhythm) and recording another track singing over it at a later time.
In 2013 I went into a professional studio for the first time and recorded At The Seams, my first full-length album. I made that record with producer Michael Connolly at Empty Sea Studios in Seattle. Michael was an incredibly kind, skilled producer, engineer, and musician. He helped me take my solo songs and fill them out with his parts on upright bass, mandolin, Rhodes organ, and accordion.
I am really proud of that record, but it’s not a sound I have ever been able to re-create live. So I was very excited to get to make my first full-length album with a full band together in the studio.
Joel flew in from Philly on a Wednesday night, and on Thursday afternoon we got together to rehearse in person for the first time. I’d sent him demo recordings of the songs that I made on my computer, and we’d had one Google video hangout where he played his ideas for me over my recordings so I could hear the direction he was going in and give feedback, but that’s not exactly the same as rehearsing together live!