FRIENDS AND FAMILY— CRITTERLAND is out today. It would mean the world to me if you’d give it a listen, pass it around to your pals, and help us in all the DIY ways we ask our community to do! Come see us on tour, too! Proper newsletter in a couple weeks, even better than the last. Come say hi, let me know whatcha think!
If you give it an old-school listen, you’ll find it’s a record wrestling with ancestry and inheritance, with years repression and fear, and finding light at the end of the tunnel. Someone called it “rural gothic,” and I like that. There’s already some amazing reviews— a Rolling Stone write up, good stuff like that. 4.5 stars on SLANT, 8/10 on PopMatters, you know, signs of a good record that isn’t for everyone, which I don’t want to be.
I play folk music because it feels like my last option, something that feels totally free to me, a dam against the tides of same-sameyness and virtuosity and bombastic, 15-second jingles. Folk music is how I take life, problems, and history into my own hands, and how I invite people I care for to do the same. It’s a huge paradox to make into a small business, but I’m a back-porch stomper more than a jumbo-tronner.
So, this is intended to be a tomato plant, not an aesthetic. A sourdough starter, not a starbucks cup. I want CRITTERLAND to be the first board in a cabin, the first notes of a lifetime of singing together. Not a “lifestyle” or just a “job.” I want to make mantras for the kind of life I can stand to live, and it’s weird and intense and joyful.
The rich and the politicians they’ve bought believe they are the architects of society, but they aren’t: people are. We persist in creating things that are slow, silly, complex, and special. We have alternatives, and I want to prove it. Nations, brands, and war machines don’t seem to understand the fundamentals: life takes everything from you. Who, how, and how much you love is everything.
I’ll end with the lines from the record I’d put on a tombstone:
“Why have a god if no one is saved? / Love is a burden if it isn’t brave!”
welcome to critterland,
-your pal willi