Smoke Signals from the Anderson Camp

Greetings from the blissfully autumnal Midwest!

Sometimes I think we get thinking about when life will slow down and we put things off until then, failing to realize we’re all sixty years away from that, and even old folks seem to keep busy somehow. I know I do. Being back in Indiana has been cathartic in a lot of ways. I love having a packed bookshelf instead of a milk crate with rotating ammo. I also dig having an actual kitchen with a cast-iron skillet rather than a cooler and a consistent diet of sandwiches. But in some ways, the grass is always greener and I end up missing the haggard, endless road.

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Not to say we’re not still hitting it. From solo shows at the HollerFest up in Michigan and one-offs in Mishawaka and Anderson, to an infamously ill-fated Illinois weekend and the glorious Midpoint Music Fest in Cinci this last weekend. We get to add Sun Kil Moon, OK Go, Real Estate, and Miniature Tigers to our resume of shared bills. (Okay, so they were at different stages. Same festival. Go with it.)

Something we’re doing differently right now though is practicing. Living on the road, shows were practice. Now that we’re mostly just weekend warriors, we’re getting together in the vacant room in my basement apartment (my roommate and I don’t have enough furniture to designate the room as anything) and workshopping the new material. We’re slowly but surely building the material that we’ll release next year. We’ve recruited our longtime friend Jonathan Class to produce our new full-length at Varsity Recording Studios here in Anderson, and we’ll be hitting the faders at the end of January to scrape out about ten new songs.

You may have heard a couple of them if you’ve caught us live in the last few months. “Cave of Clouds” is a ballad of isolation, “The Farmer and the Viper” is an adapted Aesopian fable about misplaced compassion, and “Birth Control” is a new favorite that strangely has nothing in the world to do with contraceptives. And I’m writing lyrical drafts just about every day on receipt paper at my barista job – you know, because I wanted to be as cliche a musician as possible.
Joshua Powell of the Great Train Robbery live in Michigan

I wanted to write you all to let you know we’re still hard at work, and to apprise you of our upcoming Midwestern dates. We’re playing pretty regularly for the rest of the year, and you can see all those dates on the sidebar of this here website. Getting all the way out to New York at Thanksgiving!

Tiernae Salley took some new photos for us of the old/new lineup, and we’re always thrilled to work with her, as well to have Michael back in the band. We wish you all the best as we’re all digging the fall weather together, and we hope to catch you at a show soon.

-Joshua

Gallows

I don’t know if this track is going to make it on a record or not.

I wrote “Gallows” in my friend Anna’s living room up in Olympia, Washington last summer. I was having a really rough time with some strained relationships in the band that were totally my fault, and I was more than flirting with some self-loathing. This song came out of that time, and it’s honestly a huge bummer to play. It’s especially hard because it’s the most honest song I’ve ever written. Kind of like going to confession.

That said, every time I play it, someone seems to connect to it. I’ve had a lot of folks ask if it’s going to be recorded, and a big part of me is really hesitant because I feel it would cheat the weight of the songs in some ways. But friend-of-the-band Jonny Ginese offered to shoot this take-away show and I figure that this way, anyone who wanted to get a hold of this track can at least hear it this way.

Don’t hold it against me.