On their newest single, Jake Swamp and the Pine offer a return to traditional folk music heavily based on their love of the outdoors.

21st-century folk music has experienced a movement towards a more urban setting, and can be frequently found in cities with hefty hipster populations. Though there is nothing wrong or right about folk’s evolution, the current state of its more popular compositions means it’s a little harder to find stuff that sticks closer to what is arguably one of the genre’s roots: nature. Local duo Jake Swamp and the Pine, however, are bringing the outdoors back to folk with their latest single “Chapstick and Change.” 

Following their first EP from 2019, “Chapstick and Change” is the second single from the band’s upcoming album, which will be released in October. It was written by guitarist and lead vocalist Drew Zieff while visiting his grandparents in Florida. “Drew was packing up his things when he heard his grandma, who he calls Lala, yell from the other room: ‘don’t forget your chapstick and change!’ Drew yelled back, ‘HOLD THAT THOUGHT, LALA,’ and wrote the song in about 20 minutes,” explains Stuart Babcock, the band’s mandolinist. “We really want to embody the feeling of sitting around a campfire underneath a starry sky untouched by light pollution after a long day of hiking in the White Mountains,” says Zieff.

But this is 2020. We are at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, and being outdoors is nearly impossible. The two realized that their song might actually be something their fans could use during a time of uncertainty and, perhaps, unprecedented boredom. “It’s really a bang your fist on a table while drinking out of large steins at a wooden paneled bar sort of song,” said Babcock, the band’s mandolinist. The two pushed the release date of “Chapstick and Change” in order to give people something to listen to while holed up in their apartments. 

Zieff and Babcock also decided to release a previously unplanned video to accompany the single. “Chapstick and Change” is phonetically the kind of song that would be most at home playing from old speakers as you sit on a beat-up plastic chair in front of a campfire, the smell of smoke and pine all around you. This sits in stark contrast to the video that Zieff and Babcock produced, a compilation of videos sent to them by their fans and family: “We were surprised by the amount of people that wanted to get involved,” the duo said about their efforts to gather footage while on lockdown. “We thought that this would be a fun way to get people to act goofy and have some fun while putting positive content out in the world!” 

Watch the music video for “Chapstick and Change” below:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.