Come Gather Round Us -- side project of Catherine Feeny and her husband, producer Sebastian Rogers -- recorded their second album in the fall of 2009 over the course of 4 days in front of a small studio audience. Due to scheduling conflicts, Despair? wasn't mixed until the summer of 2010. After almost a year away from the recording, ideas came fast to the four band members about how to enhance, but keep the integrity of the original recording.
"We used a lot of restraint," said Rogers. "We had connected with so many exciting players in Portland, but we wanted add one strong element to each song, not six."
"We kept it simple, says Feeny. "We'd both been down that other road, and this was about exploring something different—making more with less."
Despair features all originals - four by Feeny, five by Rogers and one by Mike Danner - with songs that range from "Home" (Feeny), the stripped opener with just the right touches of accordian and a double bass about a struggle to find peace amid feelings of hopelessness and dislocation, to "Holy White Ghosty", a personal and open letter to a generation of political and social moderates and their untapped power. Other standouts include "Windchime" (Feeny), about the clarity that comes from a self-imposed trip to the deep end, "Freedom or Death" (Rogers), a calling out of American ethnocentrism and media censorship and "Frontline", starting at South by Southwest, a first person account of chasing the dream. With threads of raw, sensual and politically charged songwriting throughout, and helmed by two of the best unsung singer-songwriters of their generation, Despair? stands to be one of the strongest collection of original folk pop songs released in 2011.
released 14 February 2011
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