Last year, Stephen Pierce of the bands Ampere and Kindling — released his debut album as Gold Dust, a project that channeled his interest in psychedelic folk music. Today, the Easthampton, MA-based musician is announcing a new album called The Late Great Gold Dust. He’s introducing it with “Proof Of Life,” an expansive track that boasts a dulcimer and some wonderful textures. It’s accompanied by a cover of Karen Dalton’s “Something On Your Mind,” which is available as a lathe cut 7″.
“To me, I suppose it’s about those things that we don’t say, the ways we don’t act, and the remaining truths that even in isolation can offer some kind of connection,” Pierce wrote. “It’s been a really weird time these last few years, and it’s not getting any less weird. At least for me, anyway. In any case, this one may be the lightest and most hopeful song on a pretty heavy record, and maybe that in itself is something to hold onto.”
Listen and read Pierce’s full statement below.
01 “Go Gently”
02 “Proof Of Life”
03 “Mountain Laurel”
04 “A Storm Doesn’t Hurt The Sky”
05 “Absolutely Nowhere”
06 “Larks Swarm A Hawk”
07 “And Yet”
08 “Unreliable Narrator”
09 “All Things Aside”
10 “Catalpa Bloom”
11 “Weird Weather”
12 “For Luna”
I’ve been asked to write about something that exists beyond language.
Sometimes songs come easy, but putting words to what’s behind them ends up being somewhat of a challenge for me. They can seem like such visceral and corporeally intuitive reactions to feelings that can’t be easily summed up or untangled in a few simple paragraphs. Maybe that’s a good thing: there’s a kind of universality in most of my favorite songs, something that I can grab onto and make into my own. Something that lends itself to a personal resonance. At the end of the day, I want you to take whatever you can from this song: Your life is different from mine, no doubt, and I’d not want your experience to be tied to something I hold inside of me. But I think ultimately, it’s dealing in some pretty shared feelings.
To me, I suppose it’s about those things that we don’t say, the ways we don’t act, and the remaining truths that even in isolation can offer some kind of connection. It’s been a really weird time these last few years, and it’s not getting any less weird. At least for me, anyway. In any case, this one may be the lightest and most hopeful song on a pretty heavy record, and maybe that in itself is something to hold onto.
I was watching some live footage of Pentangle from 1972, from a live TV broadcast. When they played the trad. Scottish tune “Willy o’Winsbury,” Bert Jansch put down his guitar and picked up a dulcimer. The impact that his chiming drone made when he joined the rest of the band was something that moved me to do a quick search and order a modestly-priced dulcimer of my own. I did some reading about the tuning and the generalities about how they’re played and—while waiting for it to show up in the mail—figured I’d write a song for it. That’s this: Proof of Life. While I’ve still not written a song ON dulcimer, I’m happy to have written one FOR dulcimer: It encouraged me to approach the writing process a little differently than I otherwise would’ve. I’m grateful for that.
And I’m grateful to you for giving this song a listen. I hope you find something in there that makes sense to you.
The Late Great Gold Dust is out 11/4 via Centripetal Force Records. Pre-order it here.