maybe we're all living in a flood zone.

Today I released a bonus track, "Flood Zone," to the folks that have pre-ordered the new album. It will be officially released next spring as part of a digital EP that will include "The Village," but until then it will only be available as a thank-you to folks that are helping us fund the release of the new record. We're about 20% of the way to our ultimate goal so all pre-orders are gratefully accepted here.

But back to the song itself. I often write songs by just sort of free-associating or journaling without an end goal in mind. This one began years ago, in one of my physical notebooks, as a brainstorm session. Part of it was inspired by the song "Pacific Street," by HEM, which I covered on the record I made with The Sentimentals. I always loved the line "there are oceans in our neighborhood," and I've always been kind of obsessed with water in my songwriting... lots of songs about sirens, about crossing the Atlantic, songs about sinking ships... rarely has water been a benevolent force in my songs, but it has always been present, lapping at the shores of my mind.

This song began as an imagining of folks down at their local neighborhood bar, deciding to ride out an incoming hurricane while drinking and playing darts. It's not that they don't think the threat is real; it's that they find more value in sticking together, in weathering the storm as a community, rather than abandoning their homes. The characters in this song don't trust the government or FEMA to save them; they have seen news coverage of previous storms, of people left stranded on their rooftops, of emergency relief funds that never seem to materialize.

Today, quite by chance, I found myself reading a WaPo article about a motel in Florida called El Rancho where several survivors of Hurricane Ian have been living for a year now. The article was heartbreaking and served to illustrate this exact scenario. These people lost their homes in the storm and have yet to be able to get back on their feet, as is so often the case after disasters like this. The article rightly pointed out that this problem will only grow as climate change drives more and more extreme weather patterns, and as the wealth gap widens ever further. With no savings cushion to fall back on, so many people are one storm away from losing it all.

When we started making cuts to the track list for the new album, "Flood Zone" was an obvious song to cut. Clocking in at just under 7 minutes, it's not really a song for the modern age and certainly not for putting on a vinyl record, but I love the guitar outro especially, so trimming it just wasn't an option. The decision to pair it with "The Village" for later release made a lot of sense, as "The Village" is also a song about community -- or rather, the lack thereof. "Flood Zone" is about a group of people who trust only in each other and know full well that they are at the mercy of bankers and levees; "The Village" is about the pervasive sense of loneliness in a world that is increasingly tied to a screen, a world in which we choose to cut ourselves off from one another. Both of those are themes that run through the new record, and I'm happy to know that these two songs will end up together in the end, representing a little coda to the album itself.

Many thanks to NOAA for putting this photo in the creative commons sphere so that we could use it for the artwork.

Pre-order "Flying on Instruments" and get a download of "Flood Zone" here.

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