Unforgiving forces shape music as fragile as frost.
A surprise winter storm on October 4, 2013 slammed into the Black Hills region after days with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, catching ranchers and cattle unprepared. Some 10,000 cattle were lost. The losses were high because the animals had not yet grown their winter coats and were grazing in summer pastures rather than more protected winter pastures. In addition, the ground hadn't frozen, so cattle that sought protection in low-lying areas became stuck in mud. Rain soaked the cattle; then winds up to 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour and heavy snow froze them. Atlas dumped three feet of snow in some parts of the Black Hills. The band had only cut 5 songs, and power was out to stay.
Songcraft and impulse with borrowed eyes.
A cinematic quality runs through the songs on this EP. The instrumentation decisions came about as Billy and Ryan balanced many choices between airy passage of strings, threaded background vocals and 50's vibrato guitar lines. Stephan Junca's drumming really stands out on this recording - a soft backbeat reminiscent of Levon Helm's playing carries the often fragile melody lines to new places. All this runs behind some very strong and personal songcraft. Holzer's compositions feel like paperback vignettes criss-crossing eras, like some Hudson Commodore, rumbling from dirtroad to interstate. Visions of roadside bars and edge of town filling stations shift to seaside shanties and wagon-side conversations between mother's and daughters. Together with Talbot's emotive works inspired by life on the plains and reflections on love's mortal coil, this EP captures the freshness of a band forming for these songwriter's works. - Jeff Chase, November 2015
Honest production of independent music.
Vapor Records integrity supports the fidelity of artists.
I think anyone who has recorded with Billy knows that once he has a group of songs together, as a single songwriter or with a partner, he becomes a force of nature to get a living breathing band together to record it. He puts the same attention into the "family" who record the music as those who play it. Everyone needs to be working together, loving the creative process, and be willing to challenge each other into getting the song where it needs to go. The gold standard for Billy is a live performance, and if a take fails to capture the band moving and finding as one, it will not make it to the wax. Period. Billy's relationship with Vapor Records has allowed for the creation of very unique independent "americana" music, and our mutual hats go off to them for being a part of getting Billy and Ryan's music recorded and shared to folks looking for something special.
The physical CD package of ON THE ROAD TO SPEARFISH includes a 3-ink CD for Unkindess of Ravens. The music from the EP is available through the links below.