When we started planning to travel to 13 National Parks to write our next album, a few people definitely seemed to have a little bit of confusion about the project. What we were doing and why?
It’s true, we’ve come to find in the last couple of years that nothing inspires us quite like nature. It’s not that we wanted to write songs about the parks, or the trees, or the water… not really… more than that, we wanted to give ourselves an incredible experience to create this record from.
Have you ever noticed the difference in your attitude or psyche in general when you take a few moments' break from your work to step outside? Perhaps it’s Vitamin D from the sunshine, perhaps it’s positive energy being emitted into the atmosphere from the trees, perhaps it’s just giving your brain a moment to breathe and think about something new.
We’ve found that we tend to feel most inspired in one of two places: when we’re outside in nature and when we travel. Something about opening ourselves up to learn and experience new things - that’s when the magic seems to show up. Knowing this, why would we purposefully set out to write our next record sitting indoors? Go where you feel most inspired - this was the basic premise.
So we went; we explored; we did our best to document it, and for the most part it is still a complete and utter blur. We’re still processing all of the things we saw and touched and smelled and the beautiful souls we met. From Park Ranger Ian - dancing about in Big Bend National Park and warning us of the abundant Javolina - to the guys living in their trucks beside the beach in Crescent City, California that we shared some of our Mountain House meals with - to the incredible communities we played for in places like Birmingham, Dallas, Austin, Oklahoma City, Spokane, and Livingston, MT. To Tim in Ok City, who was going through a particularly rough patch of life but took time out to help us diagnose the first of many van problems we would have on the road - to Dietrich and the Providence House community in Austin - to Tim & Rachel and their friends in Spokane who inspired us with their incredible business stories, their amazing homemade pizza, and their generosity - to Audrey and the 100 or so people who we watched that beautiful sun set with over the mountains of Montana - to the hundreds of you who contributed your own hard earned money to this project, so that we could fix our van, pay our musicians, and bring this music to life.
With every day that passes, we remember new things and we feel even more grateful to have had this time to work on this project.
We weren’t sure what would happen when we set out on this journey. When we said to the outdoors - “Your turn. Teach us what you will.” When we did our very best to put no human restraints on our creativity, but instead to go wherever it wanted to take us.
What has resulted for now is 13 new songs. One for each National Park we visited - even though that was in no way planned or thought out. These songs are not about the parks any more than they are about each of us. Shared human experiences, learning as we go, being taught from each person and thing we come in contact with. We’re honored to share them with you and we hope that they will reveal things to you about yourself that you may not have known before. We hope they inspire you to go on your own adventure; to take your own risks. To live this one, wild life we’ve been given with dignity - being true to yourself and the others in your life with the honesty that we all deserve. Create your own work; blaze your own trail; light your own fire on the beach of your choice. We believe in you, we love you, and we continue to be in this together with you. We hope these songs will be your mantra and the anthems that lead you as you go out seeking.
And we’ll be here, creating more music, when you return.
Dan & Josh