The Trappistines would be more than happy to introduce you to “New Ulm.” What is that you ask? It just so happens to be the small Minnesota town in which band lead singer Corey Lawson previously spent time. It’s also the name of the latest single from the group, inspired by Lawson’s past and that difficult feeling of having to let go when you know it’s time to move on to a new phase in life.
Featuring woozy synths, a wall of saxophones, and a nice beat, Lawson seals the deal with his soulful, moving, R&B-inspired vocals. The accompanying music video takes on a reflective theme, with many home video-like shots of the peace and tranquillity of the outdoors intermixed with some spacey performance snippets from Lawson’s very capable bandmates.
The song is the first single from The Trappistines’ brand new album Joy, due for release on February 12th. With more to say on “New Ulm,” Lawson said, “‘New Ulm’ is a song about letting go of a relationship that didn’t work, while still, for better or worse, being able to remember beautiful moments. The initial instrumental elements of the verses were crafted by longtime friend of the band and studio co-owner, Brock Lammars.
I brought the session home and wrote the chorus section and vocals and the turned it over to guitarist Matt Vannelli, and woodwind multi-instrumentalist, Nelson Devereaux. The ending of the song, crafted by co-producer, Aaron Baum and drummer Jared Isabella, is the perfect sonic metaphor for the subtle chaos I was feeling when I first heard the initial rough instrumental.”
although it was recorded during the summer part of the coronavirus lockdown, Joy is a collection of songs written before the pandemic began. You won’t hear any musings about freedom or strong political statements; instead, you’ll hear a lot about themes of love, loss, isolation, and rebirth. Had it not been for the society-wide lockdown, Joy may have never come together since Lawson had very different plans for 2020 which included a tour with the indie duo Heart Bones. He was also laid off from his job, which afforded him a lot of newly discovered free time, which jumpstarted the recording process of these already written songs. More mature and soulful than his previous work, Lawson has enjoyed a productive year in which he not only recorded Joy, but also has been writing even newer music, as well as a screenplay.
Although the album was written pre-2020, the songs that encompass it arguably feel oddly more relevant, self-aware, and informed than they would have one year ago. It speaks to Lawson’s perceptiveness and acumen as a contemporary songwriter.