Guitarist Bill MacKay is about to release Altamira, his third album with his band Darts & Arrows. The current incarnation of the group features keyboardist Ben Boye, bassist Kyle Hernandez, and drummer Quin Kirchner, and is joined on three tracks by alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella and violist Renee Baker. The album, out October 16, was produced by Matt Lux, who’s worked with Rob Mazurek and Iron & Wine. (Pre-order it on Bandcamp.)
We’re premiering the video for “Evergreen,” directed by Maren Celest. With its use of hillbilly-ish drones, and its slow psychedelic unfolding, the music recalls saxophonist Sarah Manning‘s Harmonious Creature (read a 2014 Q&A with Manning here) crossed with bits of Neil Young & Crazy Horse, or Pontiak.
MacKay writes of “Evergreen”:
‘Evergreen’ speaks on the energy or light that hides behind the everyday strife of living. Despite the desire to limit or quench its flame, it endures and refuses to be submerged. Even hope is but a shadow before it.
The introduction is a gathering of lifeblood, of primal force; the uptempo verse punctuates this drawing-in of energy; the slow-burning lyrical section that arises several times recalls both an urge to transcend, and an urge to simply see; the conclusion is a positive spark: ultimately, nothing we do can destroy this greatest of flames.
For the video, Maren Celest had free rein to develop her thoughts and visions in relation to what she heard. She also appears in it, as does Diana Bowden, and the musicians. Maren’s work turned out to be remarkably consonant with my idea of the song. To cite just one series of images, her frequent falls in the video project an un-premeditated will-to-adventure that lies at its core.
The images of water, the electricity that surrounds the band as they play, and Maren’s running away up the hill at song’s end all strike me as honoring freedom. The actors are not aimless in what they do, but sure of foot. In truth, the running away is not away at all, but towards something radiant and unsettled, a dash towards a limitless reality, one of genuine promise.
Watch the video for “Evergreen”: