When we left off the first Lost Leaders record was just released. This was in 2014 before the country went mad. That record did things for us. Our song “I’m Gonna Win” was on radio stations around the country and on several year-end top song lists. We played many an on-air concert singing into foam cylinders suspended on desk-lamp arms under florescent lights. It got us into some great publications like Relix, No Depression and The Huffington Post and on A-sides with John Chattman so we got our origin story down pat. And we’re sticking to it. Most importantly it got us in front of thousands of people including a sold out show at The Capitol Theatre. It consumed tires and gasoline and Spotify playlists. It also got us looking forward. And got us writing.
Much about this new E.P. mirrors the creation of the previous release. We have a thing for barns that are like churches. Where the first record was recorded largely at Levon Helm’s barn which feels like a church, this set of songs was recorded in a barn built out of an actual church, taken apart and reassembled, cathedral ceiling, stained glass and all. Here in the Hudson Valley we holed up and worked on six new songs with a great crew of new players. Byron brought in some beautiful finger picked guitar songs with great harmonies and I brought in more cynical yet optimistic rockers. Some of the original contributors came back. Jared Samuel (G.O.A.S.T.T) contributed some synth weirdness on April Snow and Clark Gayton (E. Street Band horn section) gave us an awesome trombone choir on Gienevieve. This time around the songs are drawn from a more immediate place. We didn’t have as much time to write them. So they are drawn more sharply. They are brighter, more concise and hit a little harder.
Lost Leaders grew from a collaboration that has lasted through years of weirdness and magic. It has lasted through Byron’s time in Ollabelle and their time on Columbia records touring with Ryan Adams, Diana Krall and others. It lasted through my time in Lava Baby and our strange NYC power-pop journey with a record label whose president was convicted of money laundering. For all we know he is still in prison. It lasted through years of touring with bands and artists from all the dark corners. The partnership became Lost Leaders during Byron’s tenure in The Levon Helm Band and is now continuing through his time playing with The Lumineers on their current record and tour. Lost Leaders continues to stay off the boards and push its way onward. It continues to make much from little. But despite the self generating energy that propels us ever forward we’re calling this new E.P. “Heavy Lifting”. That’s just how it is.
- Peter Cole
Westchester County, New York Fall 2016