WATER LIARS – ” Roll On “

Posted: February 8, 2021 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , ,

We recorded this music five years ago. Then the wheels fell off.

In June of 2015 Andrew Bryant, Grove Randolph Robinson and I rolled up to the Echo Lab in Argyle, Texas. The silver (not grey!) GMC Safari called Barbara Vanwyck, (no AC, but otherwise a damn good vehicle) had made the trip in fine form. In hindsight, though, there were omens; precursors to what was in store for the record. As I write this now, it seems almost poetic. Texas had just been visited by historically torrential rains, and as we wound our way to the studio (which was in the sticks) we discovered that the county road we were following was completely flooded and impassable. I remember we just stopped and got out, unsure of how to proceed, surprised by the small lake where a road should have been. It was early evening, hot, and we’d just driven a long way.

Even though we’d known about the rain bombarding north Texas, it hadn’t really occurred to any of us that we’d get so close to our destination only to be prevented from actually getting there. Looking back, that was pretty much the story of Water Liars—traveling far, working hard, only to come up short. The oldest story in the book, I know. But it was ours, too. That night, we were able to backtrack and eventually find our (much more roundabout) way to the Echo Lab. Over the next ten days we worked harder, spent more time and money than we ever had, by a damn sight, on a record that we hoped would lift us a couple rungs on the ladder of “success”. We had a good time making it, too. For much of my 20s and early 30s I never really felt at home anywhere, but for those ten days in Argyle I can honestly say that those rooms and that porch somehow felt like home to me.

We slept in bunkbeds like brothers, lived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and granola bars, shot BB guns at beer cans, kept an eye out for scorpions. We were infinitely fortunate to hang out and work for ten days with Matt Pence, a musical and studio engineering hero to each of us. It was our further good fortune that Matt was in the habit of piling his fine dogs, Hoagie and Rufus, into his van each morning before heading over to the studio. Hoagie was deaf and had to wear a red flashing light on his collar so he could be found if he wandered into the woods at night. I remember sitting on the back porch, listening to the crickets and the whippoorwill that would sing every night and watching Hoagie’s red light, and feeling happy. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. We worked long hours and we thought we were on the right track.

In the days, weeks and months after we wrapped the session, plagues came, mistakes were made. We left the studio to find our management had suddenly, unceremoniously folded. Still, a Music Business Attorney was “consulted”, the album was “shopped”, time passed, and nothing came of it. The lack of any result, of any positive reception for what we felt was our strongest work yet, made for some deafening mental and emotional silence for us. We’d come through a lot since starting the band, but in the end we simply proved susceptible (how could we ever not have been?) to the inescapable tensions that develop between most people in most places even in the fairest weather. Compounded by Mississippi July and alcohol, those tensions came to a head. Wrong place, wrong time covers all manner of circumstances, so it makes the most sense to leave it at that. The album languished, and so did the band. Honestly, it all seems more silly now than anything else. Life went on, as it is prone to do. In any case, now–in suitably roundabout fashion—we send this music unceremoniously into the world, to sink or swim as it may.

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All told, Water Liars spent less than four years as a going concern. We spent that time almost constantly on the road. We managed to release three full length records and a small handful of 7” records and covers. This album, “Roll On”, would have been our fourth record. We were swinging for the fences with what we hoped would be sort of a departure for us–a sharp record, a big record–a rock and roll record. I’d like to think that in some measure we achieved that. But that’s for y’all to decide, please and thank you. If I’d had my druthers, it would have been the one that allowed us to keep making Water Liars records for years to come. That wasn’t the way things worked out but I’m grateful and glad it’s still here now. I hope it finds you well as can be, and I thank you for listening, and for caring. Please turn this one up.

Roll On,

JPKS // Fayetteville, AR // July 2020 

Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster: songs, singing, guitars
Grove Randolph Robinson: bass, organ, mellotron, piano, guitars
Andrew Bryant: drums, singing, piano, organ, guitars, mellotron

Released July 3rd, 2020

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