Posts Tagged ‘Matthew O’Conke’

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Last year, Columbus folk-rock crew Saintseneca released their most recent full-length, “Pillar Of Na”, and they’ve been touring on-and-off ever since. It makes sense, then, that inspiration would strike them to record their own version of “Wait A Minute,” a bluegrass standard about the long hard days of touring. The track, which was originally written by Herb Pedersen, has a long history dating back to the ’70s, first appearing on the Seldom Scene’s 1974 album Old Train.

Saintseneca’s take on the track captures the band’s crisp, earthy sound, with Zac Little and the rest of the group harmonizing on the song’s desperate throughline: “”Wait a minute, did I hear you say you’re going far away again?/ Try to change it, I can’t take the lonely nights without your love.”

“Wait A Minute” by Saintseneca

Band Members
Zac Little, Caeleigh Featherstone, Steve Ciolek, Jon Meador, Matthew O’Conke

we’re celebrating Pillar Of Na by releasing this one-take live version of the title track. It was recorded by our friend and longtime videographer Jon Washington at Musicol Studios in Columbus. Musicol is Ohio’s oldest studio and also a vinyl pressing plant.

Pillar of Na is Saintseneca’s most ambitious album to date, with Little aiming to incorporate genre elements he’d rarely heard in folk. “I wanted to use the idiom of folk-rock, or whatever you want to call it, and to try to do something that had never been done before,” Little explains. “To reach way back, echoing ancient folk melodies, tie that into punk rock, and then push it into the future. I told Mike Mogis I wanted Violent Femmes meets the new Blade Runner soundtrack. I’m looking for the intersection between Kendrick Lamar and The Fairport Convention.”

Memory is the common thread running throughout the Columbus folk-punk band’s fourth album, Pillar of Na, arriving in August 31st via ANTI- Records. Following 2015’s critically lauded Such Things, the new album’s name is rooted in remembrance, referencing the Genesis story of Lot’s wife who looks back at a burning Sodom after God instructs her not to. She looks back, and God turns her into a pillar of salt. “Na,” meanwhile, is the chemical symbol for sodium. “Nah” is a passive refusal and the universal song word. It means nothing and stands for nothing. It is “as it is.”

“Pillar of Na” (Live) by Saintseneca from the album ‘Pillar of Na,’

Band Members
Zac Little, Caeleigh Featherstone, Steve Ciolek, Jon Meador, Matthew O’Conke

The other big news is that our European tour starts next week in Oxford, England. It’ll be our first time over in 3 years and also our first time in places like Paris, so we’re majorly jazzed to be playing these songs for the first time in Europe.

Tour dates:
Nov 21: The Jericho Tavern – Oxford (UK)
Nov 22: Rabbit – Norwich (UK)
Nov 23: Hyde Park Book Club – Leeds (UK)
Nov 24: Broadcast – Glasgow (UK)
Nov 25: YES – Manchester (UK)
Nov 27: Sebright Arms – London (UK)

The Ohio folk-rock band Saintseneca has carved out a nifty discography using unexpected tools in inventive ways. There’s the exotic instrumentation, sure stuff like the balalaika and the bouzouki, to go with more familiar sounds – but the group also has a real gift for matching fatalistic, ruminative rambles to arrangements that sparkle and surprise. In the brightly infectious “Moon Barks at the Dog,” one of many highlights from their new album “Pillar of Na”, Zac Little suggests an M.O. for Saintseneca that fits into just six words: “Weep with me in 4/4 time.”

The Columbus, Ohio group’s latest single, “Beast in the Garden,” uses Adam and Eve’s exile from Eden as a nostalgic discussion point, stopping short of any sermonizing or guilt-tripping. Its intricate finger-plucking bursts joyously into a mix of jubilant horns, anxious violins, and sprawling Zither-based instrumentation. Little’s voice rings with urgency as he sings, “Beast in the garden/Be still guarding the gate,” referencing the couple‘s inability to return to paradise.

Four albums into its career, Saintseneca continues to poke at its sound’s margins, as the new record’s nearly nine-minute title track incorporates fluttering acoustic instruments, a crowd-pleasing folk-rock jam, a stormy crescendo, a verse about Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” a chant of “We all must get stoned” and an a cappella coda that revisits “Circle Hymn,” the track that opens the album.

But Pillar of Na’s artier reaches also liven up more broadly accessible jams like “Frostbiter,” which marries oblique musings on death, dashed hopes and survival to choruses sweet enough to swoon to.

Band Members
Zac Little, Caeleigh Featherstone, Steve Ciolek, Jon Meador, Matthew O’Conke

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