Whitacre is a Denver-based quartet that sublimely integrates folk, indie, and Americana into a smooth, galloping blend of anthemic ‘mountain rock.’ Eponymously named after lead singer and rhythm guitarist Paul Whitacre – and also featuring Chase Perry, Mark Cunningham and Joe Fishel – the band recently dropped their ten-track album, Seasons, on April 17, 2020, and are hoping to bring their vivacious sound to audiences everywhere.
The new album, the band’s debut full-length, is a message of hope and growth threaded through deft musicianship and curated thematics. Seasons is the breathing soul of Whitacre and we are honoured to have Paul – the Whitacre himself – join us for this track by track to explore the songs of Seasons.
Paul Whitacre: “This twenty-second, chaotic instrumental track was one of the most fun things we’ve ever done in a studio. Mark, Chase and I all ordered food and stayed up past midnight with our producer, doing everything we could to find weird and unique noises to record. I remember lying underneath the piano just babbling words that came to mind and recording the vibrations that my voice caused through the piano strings. It was incredibly weird and such a blast.”
2. “Sailor’s Son”
“An anthem of sorts, this song is a reminder that no matter how far gone someone feels they are from home, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. The bridge includes random cries for help, which I believe is one of the most emotional moments on the record. We also recorded this song late at night, and I had the idea for the bridge to yell out ‘I’m still the sailor’s son, I don’t want to be done.’ I think everyone hated the idea at first, but running the vocals through some vintage analog gear made it turn out pretty uniquely.”
“The title track of the album is a metaphor for the different phases of life we all go through, and the opportunity to grow from the different seasons we’re walking through. I initially wrote this song with much darker lyrics in a time of life I was feeling especially down. It was a slow acoustic song when I penned it. This song is such a testament for what my bandmates bring to the table. They changed this song for the better, and it’s one of the best songs to play live.”
4. “Southbound Train”
“Continuing on the same theme of being engulfed by pain and loss, this is the first song on Seasons that starts to view the situation in a somewhat positive light. The instrumental at the end of the tune is a manifestation of our readiness to break free of the mundane. Mark and I wrote this song together in the attic of a church building, talking about our own personal experiences of broken relationships. It’s a moment of unique collaboration like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, and I’ll cherish that writing session forever.”
5. “Here, Again”
“The instrumentation and structure of this song support the frustration we feel as humans as we fall back into old habits. We felt like this was the best song on the record to make a music video for, though we didn’t have a solid plan for how we wanted to tell the story visually. If you watch the video, it starts in the basement of Mark’s office, which used to be a slaughterhouse of pigs. It was one of the darkest places I’ve ever been and we were all equally terrified while filming.”
6. “The Journey Home”
“This halfway point of the record makes me think of taking a deep breath – a reset button of sorts. Taking in everything that’s happened up to this point and being willing to turn it into something good moving forward.”
“While it may initially sound like a typical love song, ‘Peach’ is a song that faces the fact that relationships are another messy part of life, and that it’s okay to feel pain within them.”
“A bluegrass influenced ‘country’ tune that gave every band member an opportunity to vocally vent about their biggest frustrations. Even though it’s one of the most personal songs on the album, the message hits home with almost everyone that hears it. Mark, Chase and I all gathered around a microphone in a huge warehouse looking-room and gave ourselves two takes to capture our verses. It makes the song feel really raw – I love how this one turned out.”
9. “Stand My Ground”
“After being robbed of thousands of dollars worth of gear on our first tour, we thought long and hard about whether or not we were supposed to still be a band. We learned so much through that experience, and I think it has a lot of parallels with other life challenges people are facing currently.”
10. “Between Dreams”
“Similar to ‘The Journey Home,’ this song is another moment of rest and reset. Accepting that the curveballs life throws at us are all opportunities to grow and become better. This song is a reflection on what life has been up to this point.
On the album overall, Seasons is a metaphor for the phases of life that humans go through, and the opportunity to grow from the good times and bad. When we initially grabbed studio time to track these songs, we had no intention of recording a full album. We went in with two complete songs and came out with a ten-song LP. It’s almost like there was a story that HAD to be told, and it wasn’t up to us to decide when that happened. We’re so proud of the end result and hope that y’all enjoy these tunes as much as us!”