The Accidentals (Savannah Buist, Katie Larson and Michael Dause) have announced upcoming album Vessel arriving October 1st, with an album tour kicking off September 28th. Ahead of it, they’ve been releasing singles and videos from the album, including “Cityview” which is the song that won a 2021 New Folk Song Award for Savannah Buist, and their latest, “Count The Rings”.
The band have made it clear that the “overarching theme” of Vessel is perspective, with a “consistent mental health conversation” present in the songs as well, and you can find that in “Count The Rings” also.
Savannah Buist explains:
“‘Count the Rings’ is about looking back at all of the experiences that made you who you are today and realizing those situations or events don’t own you. You have choices. When you cut a tree down you can tell its age by the number of rings, by the years of experience. People have internal rings too – sometimes they create triggers that hold you back from living life the way you want to live it. It’s about recognizing the lies you tell yourself to stay within what’s safe, and protecting what hurts you. Sometimes you have to set fire to your own self-imposed limitations. Waiting around expecting things to change will never change a single thing – just do it.”
Exploring this theme further, Buist comments on writing “Cityview”:
“I wrote this song a few months into quarantine. One of the last gigs we ever played was Folk Alliance International, a giant convention that took place in New Orleans in February of 2020. That year, Ani Difranco was talking to Ann Powers of NPR, and she answered a question with, ‘Beyond the eyes, the trains and the angels…’ I whipped out my phone, and the guy standing next to me said, ‘Yeah, you definitely should write that one down.’
A few months later, we did an online show in-the-round with Anna Tivel, and I fell in love with the way she writes songs tapping into untold stories. I decided to write this song about other people’s stories. Everyone you know is struggling with something, accepting something, working on something. They are all a reflection of our own fragility. How we react to things defines how we see ourselves. Becoming self-aware changes your perspective of the people around you.”
The “Cityview” video features Buist and explores similar ideas through images of illness and shared traumas.
New album Vessel was in the process of being recorded with Producers John Congleton (St. Vincent, Lana Del Rey) and Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, First Aid Kit) when the pandemic shut things down indefinitely. To move forward, the band transformed their attic space into a recording studio with gear from their sponsors to finish the album on their own, featuring strings, vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, bass, violin, viola, cello, mandolin, drums, and the occasional banjo.
The band share some thoughts about this experience of writing and completing Vessel:
“The whole album is about perspective. It’s about the parallax effect of feeling like you’re moving in slow motion while simultaneously things are flying by at an incredible pace. Depending on where you’re standing, your perspective on what’s really happening changes. If you simply widen your viewpoint, things become clearer.”
The Accidentals will perform at Mountain Stage this weekend then kick off their album release tour on September 28 at home in Traverse City and be joined by Sawyer Fredericks for the run of dates that take them through the NE and SE. Tour dates are below and more info can be found on their website, theaccidentalsmusic.com.