Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Terrell’

There’s nothing like a near-fatal car accident for resetting a person’s perspective. Two years ago, not long after the release of Mipso’s fourth album, Edges Run, three members of the indie-Americana quartet—vocalist and guitarist Joseph Terrell, vocalist and fiddle player Libby Rodenbough, and touring drummer Yan Westerlund—got in a car accident that left Terrell bloodied on the asphalt. Their new record Mipso puts Terrell front and centre for the most part but accords more space to Rodenbough, mandolinist Jacob Sharp, and bassist Wood Robinson, the chief players in the North Carolina four-piece.

Even when they’re on lead, they share the spotlight with their peers, which means that harmony takes on the fullest meaning of the word over the course of the album. Terrell, Rodenbough, Sharp and Robinson sing in accordance with each other, sure, but they’re also singing about their collective shock and grief at having come so close to suffering losses, whether from breaking up or losing their lives.

Jacob: “Hourglass” is about shedding the imposed expectations of life we all carry and what it means to arrive at a destination you had convinced yourself you needed to go and find the same emptiness you were surrounded by on the journey to get there. More about getting off a treadmill than finishing a race. On this album I hoped we would collaborate and write together in a different way than we had previously. This song represents that process and accomplishment so well. I had a verse and a howl and knew I needed help stitching it all together. Libby had a chorus, Joseph quickly found a second verse, and Wood and Yan settled into a groove that brought it to a sonic territory we hadn’t been together before. And it all gave more meaning to the nuggets of the song than I knew it to have on my own. Joseph: I love when two totally separate ideas fit together unexpectedly. Not like puzzle pieces, which were made for each other, but in the way two ingredients create a new flavour.

Sometimes one person’s song is just one taste, and it needs someone else’s idea to gain some context, to allow some tension between the two of them, to pose a question. Libby: This song began as an experiment, combining an orphan verse Jacob had written and an orphan chorus I had kicking around. The verse was about the frantic feeling of always trying to beat the clock; the chorus was about realizing the things you were once striving for don’t exist anymore, or maybe they never did. It occurred to us that these two somewhat converse kinds of unease often go together: our anxiety about running out of time morphs into an anxiety about “the times.” Both our sections of song lent themselves to an uptempo pop groove, which felt appropriate for the kind of electric paranoia in the lyrics, though it was somewhat unfamiliar territory for the band. Wood and Yan fell into that groove very naturally, and the rest of the band fell in behind them.

Renowned Chapel Hill string band Mipso has signed with Rounder Records, it was announced  “Mipso” is a wildly creative, boundary-pushing band that is somehow also completely consistent with Rounder’s deep string band tradition. Their ensemble playing, singing, and song writing set them apart from the pack of rising acts in today’s roots music scene.”

“It’s hard to imagine Mipso would exist if not for the influence a key handful of Rounder releases have had on our music, so it’s exciting to join a label whose legacy we already love,” said guitarist and singer Joseph Terrell.  “Plus, the new Rounder team really understands our band. We think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

“We’ve long been inspired by Rounder Records’ commitment to artistry,” adds Mipso manager their deep industry experience, passion for music, and creative vision for ushering the label into its 50th year and beyond — makes it a very exciting match for Mipso.”

The band — Terrell,  bassist and singer Wood Robinson, fiddler and singer Libby Rodenbough, and mandolinist and singer Jacob Sharp — first came together when they were students at the University of North Carolina. Their distinctive and wholly original blend of indie-folk, traditional Appalachian roots music, and atmospheric pop has earned them a devoted following among music fans and admiration from critics.

Joseph: “I think there’s a double strangeness in looking back on our childhoods from our late twenties. For one thing the memories themselves are fuzzy, deceitful. And then all the strongest emotions I can access–the moments of joy and triumph or heartbreak–feel unfamiliar, like I can’t see the world that way anymore. It’s harder to see such bright and beautiful primary colours. I guess I’m old enough now to feel totally disillusioned about the politics and culture of the 90s–which is to say I’m seeing the era clearly!–but still it’s hard not to miss the wide-eyed wonder of being a kid. There’s probably a German word for this kind of negative nostalgia.”

Libby: “It was really tempting to take this song in a kind of familiar bluesy direction, but we fought the temptation and tried to take into a weirder, quirkier zone. Joseph’s lyrics are like that; they describe nostalgia for childhood in a way it often feels to me: sort of uncomfortable and sad in an inscrutable way, but charged with the emotional memory of something beautiful.”

”Hey, Coyote” has a really particular tone, kind of half wistful prayer, half self-deprecating joke. We were brainstorming for the video and realized…it’s totally a Twin Peaks vibe! Had some fun with that. Basically a mixture of earnest formality and a little absurdity, plus the backdrop of strange outdoorsy gear and wildlife. We were also thinking of early 90s arty pop videos like “Downtown Lights” by The Blue Nile…Some of that very saturated sentimentality we grew up on, for better or worse. Somehow those two visual worlds fit together well.” – Joseph

David Lynch was unavailable for the Hey, Coyote shoot, so we did our best. this one was really fun to make.

Joseph: “We were playing a show in Missoula, Montana, and I had the afternoon to explore town, feeling like a very fluent traveller, very at home in the world. A barista looked at me flatly and asked, “where are you from?” and it snapped me out of my little delusion. I’m not at home here, and in fact, we travel so much that I don’t really feel at home anywhere. Why lie to ourselves? Why pretend? Because it’s so sad not to. We spend our days moving between impersonal commercial spaces: hotel lobby, gas station, restaurant, venue, bar. I remember realizing once that every room I’d been in all day had been selling Doritos. Coyote is like Hermes, the trickster figure, God of travellers and transitions and commerce and language. I guess this song comes from wanting to have the option of leaving these in-between spaces and really being home somewhere.”

Chapel Hill’s indie Americana quartet MipsoJacob Sharp (mandolin, vocals), Wood Robinson (bass, vocals), Joseph Terrell (guitar, vocals), and Libby Rodenbough (fiddle, vocals).

Mipso Announces Self-Titled album for  Rounder Records Debut, Set For October 16th