Filled with traditional Country, Roots melodies and vocals – My Politic is back with a new album and we got the very exclusive for you to enjoy.
“These are the reasons I feel the way I feel, I drink the way I do, I am the way I am,” lead singer-songwriter Kaston Guffey explains of his band My Politic’s new album 12 Kinds Of Lost. “Its pretty dark,” he says, “but honest.”
My Politic has created a storytelling masterpiece on 12 Kinds Of Lost, exploring the human condition through empathetic narratives against a backdrop of Appalachian-influenced Americana, Country & Folk music.
12 Kinds Of Lost is an anthology record with each song telling tales through a series of characters coping with heartache, depression, anxiety, detaching from roots, dealing with cancer and fighting addiction.
Like a 1-2 punch, Guffey is a raconteur of imagination while co-writer Nick Pankey is the grounding force that accentuates the songcraft. With tight harmonies and a workshop of instruments including Dobro mandolin, upright bass, fiddle, drums and more, the songwriting duo is surrounded by a band of skilled musicians.
Guffey and Pankey met in 2003 in the small town of Ozark, Missouri while playing in other musical projects. In 2006, My Politic was formed and at the age of 16, the boys recorded their first album, A Few Words I Couldn’t Find Yesterday. A train carried them to Boston with two records under their belts, and the duo began honing their sound with living room recordings. After three years in New England, they settled into Nashville, TN.
The two set up shop, writing and picking on their front porch. The house became a staple, coined the Mad Valley Lodge, the home that would become the well where the songs of 12 Kinds Of Lost layed, honored by its image as the album’s artwork. A musician’s collective, the house is a landing spot for intimate performance showcases of fellow troubadours passing through Nashville. Pankey documents the happenings on his Mad Valley Lodge podcast.
12 Kinds Of Lost is My Politic’s first studio album, a progression from their previous bare bones and basement recordings released previously. This is a band that represents togetherness and community. Like old cowboys used to sit around a fire telling fables, My Politic shares tales of uncharted territory where great art still blossoms.
My Politic is: Kaston Guffey (vox, guitar), Nick Pankey (guitar, vox), Wilson Conroy (Dobro mandolin, vox), Will Cafaro (upright bass, electric bass), Jen Starsinic (fiddle) and John Wood (drums).
In addition we sit down with Kaston Guffey to talk about the single and more!
Hi Kaston, welcome back to VENTS! How have you been since we last caught up in 2015?
Things have been great! We have expanded the band lineup, adding some amazing players. We have been hitting the road a lot more and we wrote and recorded our new album “12 Kinds of Lost”.
Can you talk to us more about your album “12 Kinds of Lost”?
What we set out to do with this album is try to make it sound a little bigger than our previous ones. We filled out the band adding upright bass, fiddle and drums and we got into a big studio for the first time. We recorded at The Sound Emporium here in Nashville, and had our good friend Adam Taylor engineer and Co produce it with us. We wanted a live feel. So we got everyone into a room and just tracked the whole thing together in 4 days. It was an amazing experience. Everyone showed up, and all the songs fell into place.
What events in particular inspired you to write this album?
This batch of songs was written in a pretty chaotic and somewhat dark period. My mom had just been diagnosed with stage 4b cervical cancer and I was driving back and forth from Nashville to Missouri a lot. I had a significant amount of alone time on those trips. The election was something that weighed really heavy as well. I’d also gone through kind of an existential thing in 2015, got a therapist and really tried “working on myself “, whatever that means. I found out I suffered from some anxiety and depression and these songs are just an extension of all of that in a way. I wrote them from a kind of a “lost” place you know? I was also exploring the process of writing a lot more. Trying define certain aspects of the craft to myself. With all the shit I was going through, just threw myself into the craft and really went to work like I’d not done before.
Any plans to release a video from the album?
Yes! Our good friends, The Moving Picture Boys directed another one for us. They did our last video for “Heartless” and this one is called “Loneliness” It should be out sometime this fall!
What inspired you to name the album 12 Kinds of Lost and how does the song tie into that?
As I said earlier, these songs were written from a ” lost” kind of place and I started noticing a theme with this batch of songs. So I wrote the title track to sort of sum up the album. Every line in that song alludes to one of the other tracks, it’s kind of a quasi-concept album.
How was the recording and writing process?
I wrote a majority of the songs on the front porch of our house. We call it the Mad Valley Lodge. That’s why we chose to the house on the cover of the record. I’d mostly get ideas at work and let them rattle around and in the evening or the next morning I would sit and work the ideas out with my guitar on the porch. This record was the first time I really made it a priority to sit and write, even if I didn’t have anything, really focusing on the craft and the characters in song like I’d never done before. I think it definitely paid off. We knew pretty early on that we wanted to cut the album live, and we weren’t used to playing with such a big band, so we rehearsed like crazy and started playing as many shows as we could as bigger band. We had all but a couple of the songs really arranged and ready to go when we walked into the sound emporium. I really gotta brag on Nick Pankey (guitar vox)Jen Starsinic (fiddle), Wilson Conroy (Mando, dobro,vox) Will Cafaro (bass) and John Wood (drums) for being so incredible during the whole process. It could not have gone any smoother and its because they are so damn great at playing and collaborating. Nick and I have been doing this for 10 years and made 6 records together, and everyone just showed up and made it feel like they’d been with us the whole way.
How has the Appalachian influence the music on this album?
I think when you have the kind of instrumentation we have, upright, fiddle Dobro Mandolin, with the 3 part harmony, all that is inevitably going to have an “Appalachian” feel to it. That is all by design. I’ve loved that style of music for a long time. A lot of my favorite songwriters have some of that sound too and I think any kind of narrative , story driven writing lends itself really well to that sound. Knowing early on we were gonna do bigger sounding record, I definitely wrote more in the style of bluegrass and country, more that I have in the past.
What aspect of human condition did you get to explore on this record?
I think there are a lot of areas that could be considered “the human condition” that get explored on this album. Heartache, loneliness addiction, hypocrisy, feeling lost and disconnected. There’s a lot of subjects on this record and we try to write and deliver all of it as honestly as possible.
Any plans to hit the road?
We are hitting the road for all of September. Playing venues and playing a lot of house concerts. We love house concerts. The full list of dates is on our website. www.mypoliticmusic.com
What else is happening next in My Politic’s world?
Well, we got this album coming out and we are hitting the road for a while. I am starting to write again albeit slowly. We are hoping to hit the road a lot more next year and get out to some places we haven’t been. Just keep making records and playing is all we can do.