We absolutely love songs about horses here at Holler. Especially when it’s not really a song about a horse at all, but an existential rumination on the endless pursuit of success, validation and the pathways towards a fulfilling life.
“'Galloping' is about the never-ending chase for the dream,” Phoebe Hunt explains about her latest song. “The quest for what is constantly out of reach. The race for the thrill. The desire to win. The mental and emotional challenge we put ourselves in to become 'something more' when all we really want is to get back home. 'Who is in control? Rider or beast? Will I ever make it home for the feast?’”
“Are you running so fast that you’re flying away,” she sings, searching for peace of mind as she grapples with the implications of what it means to be both an artist and a human being. “Have you found eternal freedom in the setting of the dawn of the day?”
“When writing the song, I was with a dear friend Beth Cooke on a walk with Ginger, our family dog who has sadly passed since,” Hunt told us. “On the way to the park, she was being such a well-trained dog, heeling when I asked, etc. On the way home, however, she was pulling like a horse to the barn. That inspired the song. I felt that her animalistic nature was a metaphor for desire. What is it that causes us to ‘pull' as we head back home? What will we find there that we cannot find from accolades or achievement? Will we ever make it home for the feast?”
‘Galloping’ by Phoebe Hunt is premiering exclusively at Holler below.
Taken from her forthcoming album, Nothing Else Matters, ‘Galloping’ is typical of the themes of the new record. Stripped back to just a fiddle and her voice, her lyrics are revealed in all their sparse and vulnerable glory.
After years of writing, recording and touring as a band member and bandleader, on her latest recording she is a woman standing alone, and the raw simplicity of the instrumentation gives these songs a strange kind of defiance, imbuing the songs with a measure of toughness and emotional strength.
“These songs have never ever been played with a full band,” explained Hunt about stepping into a space of her own, away from the band setting she was more familiar with. Classically trained as a violinist, an affinity for fiddle and old-time music led her on the path to the genre-bending folk band The Belleville Outfit, and more recently a bandleader with her own backing band The Gatherers.
“It was really a different process to work from the inside out instead of from the outside in,” she told us, explaining how the songs for the album came together in 2020 at a time when she was off the road in Nashville, far from her bandmates in Brooklyn.
As she sat in the guest room of her house, flipping through a notebook of around thirty song ideas she’d written over the course of several months, she knew that she was ready to make another record. But it would have to be different than the ones that had come before. Whereas previously it was a challenge to find ways to strip down her songs with the band into arrangements to perform alone for solo gigs, these songs had been born out of total creative isolation - just her voice and fiddle had given life to each of them from the beginning.
“I just realized that there is this tiny little world inside of me... my own little reality. In the past few years, I have gotten to really spend time there, and this album is my way of sharing that tiny little world with others.”
The original idea for Nothing Else Matters came during a conversation with Lawson White, the producer and recording engineer Hunt worked with in Nashville, as they struggled with the difficulties of scheduling and being so far apart from her band.
“In that moment on that call with Lawson, I came to see that my voice and fiddle are enough... that I am enough. And that was our rule: no bells, no whistles, no overdubs, no frills. I believed that standing on my own two feet, with the instrument I’ve given thirty years of my life to, singing the songs that come from my heart can be enough. And I hope this record can give that kind of permission to the listener, allowing them to find their truest expression... no matter what their limitations or circumstances look like.”
Nothing Else Matters by Phoebe Hunt is released on Popped Corn Records on July 28th and Marketing and distributed by Thirty Tigers.