Sad Daddy by Melissa Brawner
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Premiere: Sad Daddy's 'Cold Rain'

By Jof Owen

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As soon as you hear it, it makes sense that 'Cold Rain' was recorded in a studio out in the wilds of the Arkansas woods, looking out on a lake, breathing in the overwhelming depth and vastness of the American landscape.

The second track to be lifted off their forthcoming album Way Up In The Hills, finds Sad Daddy reflecting on the state of the world and the desire to go back to simpler ways and self-sufficiency, doubling down musically on their own peculiar brand of down-home, back-to-the-country jug-band bluegrass.

"I had been kicking around the idea of the song for a while as the pandemic set in, and I had come up with some sort of stream of consciousness quarantine lyrics for the first verse", Joe Sundell, who wrote the song, explained. "I thought about the loss of control we were all going through, both as individuals and as a society, and how it made some of us feel like the walls were closing in.

"In trying to come up with some imagery that depicted that in some form," he continues, "I imagined the last two verses – first a guy whose life is turned upside down and finds himself in a hole at the bottom of a lake, and then the idea that if things keep progressing the way they are, we all have to jump into this new reality and learn to swim".

Since 2010, the ramshackle roots collective have travelled down many a road - sometimes together, sometimes separately - at times focusing on their solo projects and then reuniting as a band. For their new album, all four members - Brian Martin, Joe Sundell, Rebecca Patek and Melissa Carper - met up at Brian’s cabin in Greers Ferry, Arkansas, and over a couple bottles of chocolate milk and a few jugs of whiskey they conspired to create their third album, Way Up in the Hills.

The following weekend, the four met again at the cabin to record with engineer Jordan Trotter. He brought his equipment to the cabin, where they put 14 original tunes to tape in a circle at the lakeside "home" studio in the Arkansas woods.

'Cold Rain' blends Sundell's scratchy box-banjo sound with Rebecca Patek's yearning fiddle in this simple and strangely uplifting song for simpler times that sounds like the soundtrack to the pre-apocalypse.

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Sad Daddy's new album, Way Up In The Hills, is released on January 28th.