Analogue Music | Call the Captain: The Many Dimensions of Western…

Call the Captain: The Many Dimensions of Western Centuries

By Cahalen Morrison

It's kind of funny to look back on last year, considering how things are now.

Jim, Ethan and I had all gone through some rough personal patches, and that turned into some pretty good songs. Different kind of themes, a different overall tone, and a pretty cohesive sound. It felt to me like we had come together, after having already made two Western Centuries records, and finally became a band. With three songwriters, lead singers and personalities, I feel like it's pretty natural for that to take a while. After four years of driving around in a van together, we've shared enough life experiences, friendships and music to really fuse.

On our previous records, we came in with fully formed songs, and oftentimes arrangements, and usually had a concrete idea of how we wanted to record the song. We all write our own songs and don't cowrite, or even bounce ideas off of one another very often. For Call the Captain, it was much more collaborative and fluid. We still all wrote separately, but bringing the songs to life was more collaborative. And not even just with the three of us. The mighty Bill Reynolds was engineering and producing, and we'd worked with him on our first record, Weight of the World. But again, this time he knew what we were about, and we had a familiarity and comfort with him. And Thomas Bryan Eaton, who played pedal steel, piano, and a few other things on the record, was integral to wrestling all the good stuff out of the songs.

With this kind of comfort and collaboration, it really allows for things to go in unexpected ways. All of us were really up for anything. Compared to our first two records, we really cut loose. Somebody would say “let's run this shitty little acoustic guitar through a Fender Twin with some distortion”, or “how about some string arrangements?” or whatever, and we did it. We've been getting away from the country mold and trying to be open to wherever the music seems to be going on its own. That being said, I don't think there is one “country” song on this record. Sure, there's pedal steel and fiddle and harmony singing and the like, but if you really break down the songs, both lyrically and musically, I truly don't think that one of them is a country song in the typical sense. They're just songs.

From All the Things That I Could Say to You Right Now to Space Force, we covered a lot of sonic ground. It feels like we were able to venture farther, but also hold back, to get sounds that really worked for the songs. Some were planned, some were completely last-minute changes, but they all ended up bringing the songs to life. Call the Captain feels and sounds like a record that captures all the dimensions of Western Centuries, and that's what we're after.

VISIT: Western Centuries