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Singled Out: Society Of Broken Souls' April's Moon

04-13-2018
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Society Of Broken Souls

Songwriting duo Society Of Broken Souls (by Dennis James and Lauryn Shapter) releasd their new album "Midnight and The Pale " today and to celebrate we asked them to tell us about the song "April's Moon". Here is the story:

Dennis: "April's Moon" came to life in an odd way. In April of 2016, we attended a song writing workshop hosted by Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler (aka Over the Rhine). The workshop took place at Nowhere Else Farm - their beautiful home in rural Ohio. As we were leaving one evening, I looked up to see this sliver of a crescent moon just above an old corn crib on their land. I quickly jotted down the opening line and tucked it away for later. The rest of the song came to life with some scattered images from that weekend mixed in with sights from the road.

In particular, the refrain, "The birds above the churchyard, they're kettling the sign " came from Pawnee City, Nebraska, where I took notice of some birds riding the thermals above a church. I looked up that behavior, and it turns out it's a way for the flock to signal that it's time for migration. After learning that, I felt it was a pretty powerful image and made it the anchor of each chorus. The song is about letting go of dogma. We all get stuck in our ways and wonder why our situation never changes. But growing by way of letting go of what no longer serves us is a notion that lies at the edge of the ethos of our band. I listened to the birds that day, and every time we perform that song, I'm reminded of them telling me it was time for me to migrate. That's how I read the sign anyway - it was time for me to spread my forlorn wings.

Lauryn: By the time we went into the studio with this song, we'd probably performed it over 150 times, maybe more. And so by that time, the song definitely had itself locked into its own sound. But I love how little things in the studio made the song so new for me. When we play it live, I'm on acoustic guitar and auxiliary percussion, but in the studio I added piano and violin. The violin part is one of the simpler lines I've played on anything, but there's something about the simplicity of it that is so gorgeous. We added some heavy saturation to it and pushed it pretty far back in the mix, so it just creates this unearthly line floating above the very gritty and earthbound sound of Dennis's baritone guitar. Dennis also played a rhythm guitar part on a 1930s archtop guitar with a higher voicing of the chords and it's so subtle but we both find it such a break-your-heart-wide-open sound that we weren't expecting. That's what's so cool for us about being in the studio - how we can take well-worn songs and make them brand new for us.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!

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Singled Out: Society Of Broken Souls' April's Moon



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