IPM: The County Well: Villains, Victims & Visionaries… interesting name for an album, so let’s go deep here with why you chose that title?
Don: The title is due to the nature of the content. The previous County Well album was called Drink More, and those songs seemed to have a lighter feel. As those musical pieces were coming together, others were emerging that were heavier and did not fit. As one album finished and the next was under way, I decided to follow this thread of weightier tunes that fell under the category of Villains, Victims or Visionaries and chose to connect them with recurring themes and voices.
PM: Previous County Well releases have seen you collaborate with numerous talented Roots-based artists — including singer/songwriter Jeffrey Halford, also a Floating Records recording artist. How/when did you and Jeffrey come together for VV&V?
Don: The general concept of The County Well is collaborating with as many likeminded and talented artists as I can find and adding their unique voices to the songs. I met Jeffrey Halford in Mill Valley, Ca. around 2008. We were both involved in a project celebrating the anniversary of a local record store, Mill Valley Music. I heard Jeffrey sing and play and appreciated his talents immediately. Floating Records produced the vinyl for his Lo-Fi Dreams release and then we went on to collaborate on his outstanding work, West Toward South. We are both songwriters and enjoy talking about the craft and sharing ideas. After I moved to Idaho, he made a visit, played some gigs and I got him into my studio to sing a couple VVV songs. He sings “I Am the Grey Sky” and “East of Every Day”. His new album, “Soul Crusade” will be out Sept. 23rd (on Floating Records). I co-wrote four songs on the album.
IPM: Was recording Villains Victims & Visionaries made any more difficult with the whole Covid thing these past few years?
Don: No getting around it, Covid wreaked havoc on everything. Maybe one of the silver linings, was it got me being more creative and I think the song output increased in a good way. I truly enjoy being in the studio and need the songs to get me there. Also, finding people who could record remotely, became a bit more of a necessity and brought on some new relationships.
IPM: Who are some new musicians making contributions to Villains Victims & Visionaries, who haven’t previously appeared on any of The County Well projects?
Don: One would be Dave Cosca, whose stage name is Yorba Dave. We met at my studio one day, played a couple of tunes and I asked if he would sing a couple for the new County Well album. He stepped right up and sang “Graves” and “Eyes in The Trees”. Another would be Ward Loving. I find out he is an opera singer. He is the first voice you hear on Villains, Victims and Visionaries and pops up throughout the album singing backup vocals. The notion for this album being an operetta was partially fueled by having Ward in the choir.
IPM: When all is said and done, what would you like the ultimate message of The County Well and the music on Villains Victims & Visionaries to be?
Don: The ultimate message? Of course. Sure. The ultimate message here is the creation of musical content is a wondrous thing. Like a painter and a blank canvas. Let’s go a little darker, let’s add some dissonance, let’s have the songs have some connection to one another. Let’s write a novel, paint a mural, get creative at all costs and push things into new directions. Villains, Victims and Visionaries is like black licorice and the Grateful Dead. Some will not like it or have the patience to explore it but those who do, will find themselves with something they will continue to crave.
Donate to IndiePulse Music Magazine’s Academic and Music Education Scholarship Program HeartBeat4Kids
IndiePulse Music Magazine creates Scholarships to help Youth In Need of assistance to complete their educational goals and stay in school.