After months of slowly working through it, today is the day the Halflight Podcast finally reaches your feeds (subscribe here). And not only that, but I also have a new EP for you as well - the Fear and Love EP. More on that below. If you haven’t picked up a copy of Halfight on vinyl yet, head over to Bandcamp and use the code PODCAST to get 20% off.
Today, the first three episodes are available. Here’s a preview of each episode:
Joce Aucoin lives for creativity. Whether through her visual art, her writing (if you are interested in creativity at all, her newsletter jump + pray is essential), or her support of creative life of other artists. We met on Twitter over a shared love of Nada Surf’s Blizzard of ‘77 (which is one of my all time favorite opening tracks) and soon found out that we have many mutual friends. Through that connection, Joce became a mentor to me as I was navigating how to release music after a decade-long hiatus. Yes, her expertise from her years of running Lujo records came into play, but it was more her deep interest in the health and vitality of my creativity that made her mentorship so meaningful to me.
We talk about the creative process, overcoming creative block, the story behind the lyric The heart doesn’t care if there’s dust on the pen, and why Blue Skies is the first track of Halflight.
Levi MacAllister (AKA Levi the Poet) has one of the most distinct voices I can think of. A certain presence and force, like gravity turned up a notch, like a voice crying out in the desert to any ear it might reach. The world isn’t what it should be, he knows you see it, and he’s telling you he sees it too. He also wants you to look with him, through the wreckage, to squint through the dim light and see a God who truly is love.
We talk about the moment the song Halflight left him in tears while he was weeding his zero-scaped desert yard, about the appeal of certainty and why it’s important to not hold onto it too tightly, about the ways fear masquerades as love. We wonder who I am singing to when I sing let the light in, let me see who you really are.
Levi just launched The Fraction Club, which is a way to get exclusive access to his unreleased stuff, while supporting his important work. Join today! You can also find him on Instagram and Twitter.
Brent James Driscoll (no relation to that other Driscoll) drove into my life in a teal green Prius. It was a borrowed teal green Prius. John Van Deusen & I were on day 1 of our northwest tour and had ran out of gas on Dead Man’s Pass on our way to Boise, ID. Brent stepped out of the Prius and instantly jumped into tour manager mode, asked everybody parked at the rest stop if they had gas to spare, and then hopped in the Prius to drive back to Pendleton to fill a gas can. He returned with fuel, offered me a Topo Chico, and we were on our way. He’s that kind of person whose kindness has a certain intensity to it. Stripped of pretense, open to anyone, and ready to move. He made an instant impression. Mostly, I was just glad he was with us. We followed that teal green Prius back onto I-84 and made it to the show.
We talk about how the lyric fear and love why can’t I tell you apart? struck him, how we often get fear and love mixed up, how we long for more humility and less tribal posturing, and how he’s managed to hold onto faith after his own church trauma.
Brent is one of the creators/producers of the Emmy-winning Sessions in Place.
When I originally wrote Fear and Love in 2017 it sounded nothing like the version you hear on Halflight. More urgent, more angsty, more loud, more 90s. I shared it with Brent before we recorded our podcast conversation and it became his favorite version (we talk about it a lot in the episode). It got me thinking…why not actually make that version? So I called up my friends Aaron Gray (drums) and Jordan Peifer (bass) and we headed back into the studio with Ryan Carbary (who produced Halflight), and by the end of that day the song was done. We didn’t overthink it, we just went for it as loud as we could. It was so much fun, and I’m really stoked with how it came out.
And that’s just track 01.
The rest of the EP gives you a glimpse into the evolution of the song. The original 2017 demo, the 2021 Halflight album version, and an acoustic version to close it out.
It’s everything you didn’t know you wanted to know about one of the most interesting songs on Halflight.
I’ll release an episode per week until it’s done. Right now, that means one episode per song (10 episodes), but we’ll see how things unfold. I’m open to adding bonus episodes if you have questions. Maybe a mid-podcast recap, or a Q&A? If you have questions, feel free to just reply to this email.
OK, that’s it for today. Go give them a listen and let me know what you think.