This is definitely our most ambitious project.
The arrangements are more sophisticated, the technique is more demanding, the production was more involved, and we blew past our record number of songs per album. We probably struggled the most to take hold of the meaning of the songs. A melody can pull us in a dozen directions, and we can respond without ever understanding. But to truly participate in the conversation, we need to understand it. Music’s strength is its abstraction, but the abstraction is equally a danger.
This quest for genuinely meaningful music inspired (in part) this album’s title: “Based on a True Story.” All music is based on real life, if only because real people write it. Such is particularly true of folk music, where academic music theory yet holds little sway. Our music is itself based on truly world music.
And yet, we’re all Americans. Our music is just an echo of ethnic Celtic music, however faithful our echo may be. The stories we tell are not wholly true—even our album’s tribute to unappreciated history, “John Riley,” is not strictly factual. We ourselves prefer to only share the glossy pictures on Facebook. Partly, we’re frequently blind to this world as it is. Partly, we wish we saw less.
“Based on a True Story” is not a perfect album, and unfortunately, we’re similarly imperfect. But for what it’s worth, it is an honest retelling of life as we misjudge it now, and life as we hope to see it one day.