Last night we had the opportunity to support the Soil & the Sun on their current spring tour and I felt the need this afternoon to write at least a part of how I’ve been feeling about these guys.
But before I do, I need to make another mention. Another supporter for the night was an incredibly talented gentleman named Samuel Lockridge. We first crossed paths with this well-haired fellow a few years ago when a strange band called De La Cado from Lexington messaged us on myspace. The message read something like: we’re playing a show tonight at the Madfrog and all the bands ditched us … we know know one is coming to the show … wanna play? We said yes. And we agreed to play with suits on.
We decided a long time ago that we were going to play shows that we wanted to play, irregardless of whether or not it was a “smart move.” Because at the end of the day, we were friends and all we wanted to do was play our songs. It was sort of a tip of the hat to Ian Mackeye who always said that Fugazi was about being a band and engineering shows in a way that they and other people were comfortable with. Not to break into the right crowd; not to attract label attention; not to impress anyone. As a result, they had fun and loved what they were doing. There’s some great film of them playing for a handful of prison inmates in a big empty room. Those are the best shows, and this show we played at the Madfrog was one of ours.
The audience for that night was basically us, De La Cado, a strangely happy guy in dreads named Nate and his friend. The show was incredible. I remember being in the bathroom when De La Cado started playing and closing up shop to run out to the stage as fast as I could. They were angelic. Loud, epic melodies with the most amazing harmonies I had ever heard from a local band and there was Samuel, belting out those tones.
So that’s how we met Samuel Lockridge, along with a few other friends, and watching him sing by himself last night at Rohs was just as enamoring.
Ok, now, the Soil & the Sun.
Let me start with this, a few years back the Soil & the Sun were a two piece ensemble:
They have since then been blessed to grow in families and members and have become an all out American super-group:
Now that you’ve seen those two videos, I have this to say: the Soil & the Sun understand the creative spark. As a two piece their songs were intimate, well crafted and insatiably avant-garde. Not avant-garde in the he’s kicking a trash can for no reason sort of way, but rather the he’s looping hand swipes on an acoustic guitar and it sounds like a hundred carpenters sanding canoes. Fast forward to today and they’re intense, orchestrated and brilliant. But more importantly, they’re completely different. That’s what strikes me the most about these two manifestations of the band, that both are so genuinely creative, yet they’re in now way the same.
That’s the first thing I love about this group. I’ll share the second thing I love too. I love the reality of who they are; their ideals. This band travels in one conversion van together with two married couples (no more I don’t think, though actually I could be wrong) and a toddler. This screams reality to me. These aren’t a group of people revolting against responsibility, their personal convictions and their beliefs. This is a group of people that have firm ideals and have risen to the occasion to meet them. They’re a group of people that want to mature together and remain creative together. They’re real people.
It’s hard to express the depths to which I align with this sentiment, let alone what the sentiment is itself. I personally see the death of creativity in immaturity. When people refuse to mature out of a misplaced counterculture ideal, they miss out on being human. And I think our capacity to create comes out of our ability to be human. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a difference between never growing up and being misunderstood. Emerson said it best, “to be great is to be misunderstood,” and I’m all for being misunderstood (though you might not understand what I’m saying). I know that this is my own personal opinion, but I love the Soil & the Sun because I think that by choosing to be musicians and to mature and take on responsibility at what most of the world would consider young ages and impossible circumstances, they’re so human. They’re so real. And their songs emanate experience; themes of fidelity, faith and admitting their faults. Those convictions that a lot of people are afraid of or refuse to deal with and, in my opinion, miss out on a lot of what it means to be human. That’s why I love the Soil & the Sun, because they’re unafraid of growing as people and for it, they’re fairly misunderstood.
Having the opportunity to share a sanctuary with these musicians last night was an experience that we were incredibly fortunate to have had. We’re very thankful for everyone that came out and especially for Rohs Street Cafe for staying up so late with us on a Wednesday night to host the entire thing.
Long live the Soil & the Sun and New Mexican space music.