Whitwell Session

by The Local Historians

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My family had an early Thanksgiving celebration this year, with mid-November being the only chance for my brother to join us before shipping out on his next Air Force assignment. These tracks are reflection of my time with my family, especially that time spent each year on my Grandparent's farm in Tennessee. I recorded each one in a different location on the farm, one in the old, barely standing barn, one in the large field behind the house, and one in the bedroom where my brother and I stayed. I was able then to share the relatively finished tracks with my extended family much to their mixed surprise and enjoyment.

Once I got back to Chicago I promptly lost all of the raw recordings in a hard drive mishap, leaving me with only the roughly mixed tracks I had shared with my family shortly after recording. These tracks which I am now releasing as this EP bear many moments of imperfection and bits I would have liked to record over again. However, the result is actually one of my favorite sets of songs yet. They are united by a common rawness and lack of polish which fits their setting and lyrical content perfectly. Dogs bark, chains rattle, grass sways, crickets chirp, my voice cracks, and guitars go out of tune, but I really enjoyed making these songs and hope you enjoy the fruits of those efforts, however spoiled they may be.


released December 4, 2012



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The Local Historians Chicago, Illinois

We are storytellers, way-finders, spirit-singers, will-o’-the-wisps. We have dust on our shoes and we’ll shake it off as we leave. We have songs burning inside our bones begging for release.
The Local Historians are Zach Harris, Derek Dixon, Rachael Claire , Kristina Johnsen, and Jake Norris.
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Track Name: Whitwell, TN (Barn Session)
My grandfather haunts round the toolshed out back
My father tore down the roof
The cinderblocks stayed in an unimproved way
all covered with decay and soot
The bonfire burned long through the night
the embers were warm at the dawn
The grey dogs drew near and the horses steered clear
I wandered those tool-ridden halls

Cowardice is the meekest of men
the last to declare his worth
Pride will decide while idly by
he works at his toes in the dirt
Over the hills and out in the heat
storefronts are dryer than gin
All round the din let the countryside ring
with the grievance of long dead men

Oh sweet Marion, Marion-town
your valley of mist is no more
The highway was paved and the traffic obeyed
your sons all lay drunk on the floor
Silence, cold Silence, it sings to me sweet
cradles my head in its arms
Mountains loom big and the brothers all drink
I won't give a thought to the harm

Deep in the ground do the flames linger still
do the men call out from the mine
Oh '81 is there yet a way home
or will only the weak survive.
My grandmother stands with her dress gathered up
watching the hawk flying low
Waiting for signs that God upon high
still watches her grandchildren grow
Track Name: Tornado Days (Field Recording)
I've got a song inside my bones
I've got a song inside my bones
I've got a song inside my bones
won't let me go

I've got a song inside my bones
I've got a song inside my bones
I've got a song inside my bones
it leads me home

Down dusty roads, dirt between my toes
I thought that I could find the way back

I try to run but nipping at my heels
The jaws of doubt are chasing me astray

Tornado days, I have had my fill
They lift you up and break you at the door

Summer nights, cool against my back
Take me to the place I know well

Hold on son we're here beside you!

Singer lift your weary voice and send the story rise rejoicing!
Woman lift you bleary eyes and you will see the new sun rising!
Cast thee down ye heavy laden at the feet of Christ emblazed in
Holy light and Holy fire. Purify or cast asunder.