The cover of Drew Kennedy’s new record, At Home In The Big Lonesome, sets the tone for the songs contained therein.
Pictured on the cover is a Texas skyline, mountains in the distance, with a single contrail blazing across the sky. The emptiness is palpable, with the holder of the record seemingly able to gaze deep into the wide open space captured in the artwork.
The big lonesome mentioned in Drew Kennedy’s record title echoes, both sonically and psychologically, throughout the record. The first chords of the record’s opening track, “When I’ll Miss You Most,” are sparse and serene, immediately calling to mind a quiet retreat, while “Open Road,” featured on this month’s Trail Mix, is the perfect driving tune, brilliantly dissecting the thoughts of a man behind the wheel with his truck pointed towards the horizon ahead as the miles and the emptiness between the dots on the map churn by.
This is a fantastic record to get lost in.
I recently caught up with Drew Kennedy to chat about the new record, alone time, and the big lonesome.
BRO – Do you think everyone should get lonesome from time to time?
DK – Absolutely. Disconnect. Wander. Explore the open road with no road map. The interconnected world we live in is great, but remembering that you are more substantial than your social connections is even better.
BRO – Your son spent 37 days in the NICU. How did songwriting help you during, or perhaps after, that ordeal?
DK – The songs that I wrote prior to that experience – the songs that make up At Home In The Big Lonesome – served as an anchor in a really tumultuous time in my life. But, really, our focus was Oliver. Music is important in my life, for sure, but everything took a back seat until he could actually breathe on his own.
BRO – Favorite guilty pleasure song to listen to when you are alone?
DK – Sylvan Esso’s “Coffee.”
BRO – We are featuring “Open Road” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?
DK – If you want to know what far West Texas feels like to me, this is it. That’s the geographic region that runs from Sanderson to Van Horn east to west, and Fort Stockton to Presidio north to south. The first time I went out there, I remember seeing a fully loaded freight train from front to back in its entirety. I grew up in Pennsylvania, and I guess that’s something I never realized I hadn’t seen – with all of the hills, mountains, and trees up there – until I had seen it. It’s big out there. It’s beautiful and wide open. It might as well be the moon compared to where I grew up. I tried to capture that feeling in this song. I was lucky enough to write it with my brother, Josh Grider.
BRO – Where is your favorite big lonesome?
DK – The stars on a moonless night in Marathon, Texas.
Drew Kennedy and his brand of lonesome Texas county will be in Maryland and New York this weekend before returning home to finish the month of November with a run of dates in the Lone Star State.
For more information on Drew Kennedy, tour dates, or how you can get a copy of At Home In The Big Lonesome, please check out his website.