“Oh, I had a band back in college,” a tossed-off footnote for cocktail parties and brief, embarrassing small talk before meetings and first dates. It’s like a dash of aquamarine eyeliner—it’s there, no reason to unpack it, everyone gets it. You were young, stupid—drank all the time, didn’t have any real responsibilities. And, I suppose, if life is a maze and we spend our formative years searching for the one true path from beginning to end, this is a fair assessment—it means nothing because it has made no substantive contribution to the path you have stumbled upon. But I don’t think that’s fair.
The present is the wake of the past, each moment echoing and colliding with itself, churning up unseen truths about ourselves and the people we’ve known. And here, in this now, I can see beyond the ambition and our supposedly misplaced priorities: driving to Athens, begging for shows, paying too much for amps and guitars and drum racks(Clay). All of that washes out and you’re left with the reality of the music, and I could not be prouder of what this recording is and represents.
Is it good? Is it bad? At this point I’m completely incapable of objectivity—each note is laced with nostalgia and the musty, ear-ringing claustrophobia of that basement on Riverside Drive where we sweated through song after song, dreaming that it might mean something to someone beyond ourselves. See? It’s all very romantic for me at this point.
I know this isn’t a unique story—this country’s full of self-anointed Late Greats—but I guess I don’t care. I can look at this album and say we tried to make the best possible thing we could with the resources we had. There’s great and rare satisfaction in knowing this thing represents a full exertion of effort, and, listening to this again, I wonder if I still have the same capability for earnestness and unguarded optimism that I had when we wrote these songs and thought we could beat the odds.
Maybe this album will resonate with some people, maybe no one will care. Or maybe the past should remain passed, rather than a collection of possible presents and futures forever on hold. With that in mind, I do not place any burdens on this album beyond the truth of what it is—a record of the culmination of 4 years of love and friendship woven out of a creative collaboration that was set aside perhaps too soon but maybe at just the right time. There’s no way to know, but I guess that’s half the fun.
released January 15, 2015
Recorded at DARC studios in Athens, GA
Sound Engineering by Asa Leffer
Additional Recording at Old Capitol Recording in Tuscaloosa, AL
Sound Engineering by Russell Bush
Guitar, vocals -- Paavo Hanninen
Drums -- Clay Pence
Bass -- Russell Bush
Lead Guitar -- Micah Craine
French Horn, Synthesizer -- Beth Hataway
Songs written by Squirrelhouse
Lyrics by P. Hanninen
Thank you to everyone who had a part in the life and times of Squirrelhouse.
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