Near the start of The Pinkerton Raid’s fourth full-length album, Where the Wildest Spirits Fly, songwriter Jesse James DeConto asks, “Where’s the star to lead us home?” Amid landscapes pigmented with pain, the question is a quest for meaning, in resistance to Camus’ absurdity and the Will-to-Power in the White House. And the answer, over and over again, in a repeating cycle of realistic truth-telling and undeterred hope, is simply this: We sing together.
For nearly three years, Jesse and other band members have been leading barroom sing-alongs back home in North Carolina, gravitating toward the songs that have soundtracked social movements since the 1940s: Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” “What the World Needs Now,” made famous by Dionne Warwick, and countless songs by Dylan, Guthrie and Seeger.
Rather than chasing a particular sound, Jesse worked with producer David Wimbish (The Collection) and engineer Jeff Crawford (Skylar Gudasz) at Arbor Ridge Studios to serve the melodies and invite the listener to sing along. Drummer/trumpeter Scott McFarlane, bassist Jon DePue, saxophonist Tony Sali and guitarist/percussionist Steven DeConto form the core of the band, and the new recordings capture the sing-along vibe with a choir joining in on the catchy choruses.
The Pinkerton Raid has shared stages with The Ballroom Thieves, Annabelle's Curse, Forlorn Strangers, Lowland Hum, Noah Gundersen and Denison Witmer. The release of Tolerance Ends, Love Begins in 2017 brought the band from Durham to Chicago to Washington DC, with slots at the Festival for the Eno and Shakori Hills, a session at Daytrotter and critical acclaim from Paste, No Depression, Popdose, Aquarian Weekly, and more.
The title of the new album is a lyric from the song “Thin Places,” conjuring the Celtic idea of an earth charged with spirit. These songs were shaped by wanderings from the South to the Midwest to northern New England, and the band will bring them back on the road in 2018, in search of more thin places.
Elk Walking is an acoustic and electric guitar driven indie-rock band of a rare breed. Fronted by singer-songwriter duo Savanna Dickhut and Julian Daniell, their music is energetic, electric and groovy yet still captures the folky acoustic flavors and lyrical focus of a singer-songwriter duo. The band is accented by fiery electric guitar and carried by powerful harmonies and meaningful songwriting. The filled out demanding sound of two lead singers is reminiscent of the sounds of Jefferson Airplane, or Fleetwood Mac and the songs are individually unique yet remain set in the bands signature sound; a mix of gritty and pretty, lonesome ballads, energetic love songs, and social commentary. The band frequently references and finds inspiration in the mysteries of nature and the living natural world.