New Album Announcement: Gilead

Gilead Cover

I am currently in the process of recording three new musical projects, and I’ve decided to release “Gilead,” an acoustic album in memory of my father who passed away in 2015, first. The title is taken from the novel “Gilead” by Marilyn Robinson. We read the book, which is written as a letter from an aging father to his son, as part of my seminary studies. Since this album is basically my own final farewell and tribute to my own dad, it seemed fitting. The tile also evokes a bit of a nostalgic longing for a place that I’m not sure exists.

In addition to that book, I was also inspired by Bob Dylan’s early acoustic albums, Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, Sun Kil Moon’s Benji, and Leonard Cohen’s early work.

After messing around with a lot of electronic experimentation for my last two releases, this one is going to depart from that and be very, very bare bones. Acoustic guitar, harmonica, and my own naked voice. It’s shaping up to be very rough around the edges so far but that also seems fitting. It’s the first time I’ve done a collection of songs using just acoustic guitar and harmonica since 2007 and back then it was just because I didn’t have anything else to work with, honestly.

I have three songs out of a possible ten or eleven completed so far and it’s coming along quickly. The cover image is of my dad, just after he came home from the Army in the early 80’s, though it looks a lot older than that.

I will be donating any proceeds from Bandcamp downloads (and possible CD sales) to Saint Jude’s Hospital.

To view my past releases, you can visit rancegarrison.bandcamp.com or search for me on Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, and other digital music retailers.

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Seven Trumpets

This song is the last song on my 2012 album, Black Crow excluding the instrumental piece “Stars/Dawn” which closed the album and brought it full circle, connecting with the opening piece “Stars/Dusk,” a practice I picked up from a lifetime of listening to classic Pink Floyd albums.  (Darkside of the Moon begins and ends with a heartbeat.  Wish You Were Here opens and closes with “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.”  The Wall begins and ends with a spoken sentence which ends on the first track of the album and begins on the final track, the exact quote being, “Isn’t this where we came in?”)

I had originally intended to record this song with a much more sparse arrangement that would have featured a single snare drum played with a brush, strummed acoustic guitar, and bass.  Instead, there was no percussion featured at all, and I used a finger picked acoustic guitar arrangement with piano and a variety of synth sounds which were coaxed from my Casio keyboard.  The closing instrumental section was an overlay of five electric guitar parts and turned out perhaps a bit clumsier than I had intended.  Like the rest of the album, this song was recorded on my Tascam 2488 Neo, a digital recording device that served as my introduction to anything approaching a real recording workstation.  I recorded this in a small, messy makeshift studio I set up in the bedroom that had previously belonged to my recently deceased uncle in the house that my great-grandfather built in the tiny town of Pennington Gap, Virginia, where I grew up.

As for the lyrics, I am always reluctant to go into detail about exactly what a song’s lyrics are about as I feel that there should be some amount of interpretation left to listener.  Like the rest of the album’s lyrics, there’s a lot one can read in about death as the songs that made up Black Crow were all to some degree a reaction to the death of several family members a couple of years earlier.  Suffice it to say that there are also hints of my own Christian Universalist, Catholic-leaning beliefs along with shades of my deep reverence for the Buddhist tradition (“Christ and his mother set beneath the Buddha’s tree. . .And the sins of all mankind were cast into the sea”) as well as my love for my then-girlfriend, who is now my soon-to-be wife.

Take a listen, and I hope you enjoy it.

You can download the album, as well as more of my music, from rancegarrison.bandcamp.com or at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/black-crow/id538278042?uo=4

Die Laughing by Rance Garrison (or, I made a short film/music video and I’m sharing it with you.)

I have been recording and writing music since I was nine years old. I started out on a tape recorder that my mom bought me from the Dollar General and a Yamaha keyboard my Granny got me for Christmas.

After eighteen years of writing and recording songs, this is the closest I’ve ever come to the sound that I hear in my brain, and I hope that this trend will continue. I’ve poured every bit of creative energy into this one song and the short film that accompanies it. This is also my first attempt at film-making, and considering that plus the fact that I was using the super-glitchy current version of iMovie for editing, I’m incredibly pleased with the results.

If you could take the time to watch, like, comment, and share this, I would be incredibly grateful and humbled. I hope that you enjoy it half as much as I enjoyed making it.