After a show at The Garage in Charlottesville, Virginia, Rookin joined Pando Creative Company for a trip out to an isolated plot of land in the country. Accompanied by a late night chorus of crickets and cicadas and illuminated by the band’s Saturn SUV (and when its battery died, Pando’s Prius), the band recorded a video of the song “Astronaut’s Wife.”

A stripped-down version of the track from the band’s 2014 EP Stonewall was performed alone in the the grass with the band members’ faces standing out in stark contrast to the silhouettes of trees in the background. The video perfectly captures the naked self-doubt in the song’s protagonist-an astronaut’s wife wondering if the astronaut would still put up with her after he returns from outer space.

The band was formed a few years back by a pair of Harvard boys, Adam Horn and Ben Naddaff-Hafrey, who joined with old friends of Naddaff-Hafrey’s, Socrates Cruz and Ethan Schneider. The band tries to write a type of folk that gets back to the roots of historical folk music: “We want to go back to the source and reanimate it a bit. We’re making some effort to regain common ground between people and genres,” explained Naddaff-Hafrey.

The band’s songs are littered with references to history, literature, and mythology- references that come about because of what the band is reading or experiencing. Their song Once More To The Lake is inspired by the E.B. White short story of the same name, and the sound of the song captures the description of the thunderstorm that closes the story. The group’s next album will include a song that tells the tale of the death of Mark Twain’s brother in a steamboat explosion.

The band’s eclectic mix of acoustic and electric sounds can be attributed to the members’ diverse backgrounds. Naddaff-Hafrey played in several soul bands, Schneider is a jazz drummer who used to back a gospel church, Cruz plays progressive rock, and Horn sings hip-hop hooks for Boston rappers. Naddaff-Hafrey describes their most recent EP, The Lookout, as a “more coherent effort and a stronger move towards discovering the sound we’re working with on the next project,” a project titled Unionism that they will be going into the studio to record in a few months.

A song about an astronaut’s wife, a role none of the band’s members play in real life, comes from the band’s goal of including empathy in their songwriting. While listening to Bob Dylan’s Blood On the Tracks, the band found a Dylan quote about writing about stories you empathize with. Says Nadaff-Hafrey, “that’s what we’ve been trying to do since.”

Here’s “Astronaut’s Wife:”

One Response

  1. Nico Rivers

    This is such a cool video. I love the background noise – it really fits the tone of the song and helps conjure images of a lonesome wife gazing into the night sky.

    Reply

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