By Kevin Alan Lamb
We find ourselves at a time where we must decide whether a coincidence is merely a remarkable concurrence of events, without apparent causal connection, or if it something more? Something powerful. Something divine. Something to give us faith, and something to believe in. I find myself sitting on my front porch, enjoying a rainy Thursday in Ferndale, listening to Remnose’s latest album “Waiting On The Wind” in the very place where my buddy Ryan played them for me the first time last summer.
Now, just days away from The Front Porch, I will see Remnose live for the first time on This Is A Good Porch, named as a result of the partnership I formed with this third year festival and communal gem. Remnose will showcase their authentic, homegrown sound at 619 W Breckenridge St., aka The Dragon House at 5:30 PM on Saturday. Magic weaves itself into our lives when we let it; when we give love, and practice patience, we get it.
Marlon and Carson Morton are the foundation of four want-to-be Yoopers who create music to be enjoyed while inebriated on a rowboat, cascading in gentle Great Lake waves, star gazing, because that’s where it was written. I’ve long discovered a well of wonder along coastlines where existential wanderings have the tendency to become undeniable truth, slowly stripped from me as I stumble home on the beach, once more upon the road of navigating the practical (seemingly) present. But even though it feels like we let go of the discoveries made gazing into the stars, there is a source within each of us that knows nothing will ever be the same, so let go of the expectation for it to be.
Drawn to water the very way I’m drawn to music, I find myself feeling at home listening to “Wishing Well” – swooned by the echo of lap steel dancing upon the water I envision it blanketed in. I’m not sure how would I dance to Remnose, but damn, it sure makes for quality, and soothing listening. There’s something to be said about the power of brother bands and this one holds true.
The opening lines of the album describe someone in a boat or ship that’s taking on water/sinking, depositing the classic metaphor and existential dilemma, should I sink, or should I swim? It is a reality that each of us is faced with at a frequency many would care not to admit, but it is a reality that makes us all more similar than we are different. The rains have increased, along with the winds blowing them. I imagine myself upon the water, under the glimmer of moonlight, listening to these songs, tuning my vibration to find my words, and my way.
You can tell yourself you’re waiting on the wind to blow you in the direction of your dreams, or happiness; you can tell yourself that by some ineffable phenomena, tomorrow will present the best possible ingredients for change you desire today; and you can tell yourself that coincidence is remarkable, but not connected to something greater; however, I don’t think it will help you feel, or be, any better, so, what are you waiting for?
Here’s my conversation with Remnose’s Marlon Morton.
A mutual friend of ours who introduced me to your music once described your sound as “Our community’s sound – referring to Ferndale.” How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard your music?
I have in the past described our music as feeling a bit like drunk star-gazing, on a row-boat, floating somewhere out in the middle of Lake Superior and I think our new record has a bit of that vibe throughout, but it also has moments that feel more cavernous and/or desolate. In literal terms I think our music has always been inspired by self-reflection and this album definitely follows that pattern.
I’ve heard songs from this album (some time ago), walk us through the time it was written, recorded, and the wild instances of life that standout in-between.
The first song that was completely written and performed as it is on the album was “Walk on the Moon” and that was early in 2017. The oldest song we recorded that I’ve been bouncing around since probably 2013 is “Wishing Well” but really only the chorus has stayed the same throughout the years. The biggest change for us over the last couple of years was losing our founding lead guitarist when our buddy Vince moved up to the U.P. and went back to school. This led to us adding our newest member Sam Sparling, who is responsible for the silky smooth lap steel and synth punches throughout our new tunes.
Rumor has it you host a dope festival on an island in Northern Michigan? Tell us more.
The old Drummond Island Fall Festival eh? We technically don’t “host” the festival but our family has had a place on the island since our Dad was a kid so we stay very involved in the festival by supplying the beer, music and general shenanigans all weekend long. Best weekend of the year.
Is “Waiting On The Wind” in any way (perhaps subconscious) a reference to what’s “Blowin In The Wind” (Bob Dylan)?
There may be something here…Honestly though, this song (or album title) makes huge references to being on the water which is something my brother and I are very attached to/ inspired by. The opening lines of the album describe someone in a boat or ship that’s taking on water/sinking and the metaphor of the song is are you going to sit there and sink while waiting on the wind or are you going to do something about the situation? The whole album in a way might be a bit about me waiting on the wind for certain things to happen in my life instead of taking action and creating opportunities for myself. All that being said, we’ll have to ask Bob Dylan what exactly he meant by “the answer is blowing in the wind”… Now I’m gonna go listen to that song.
There’s no denying the special power of brother bands. What age did you start making music together? Would you say that it’s easier to be in rhythm with someone genetically tuned the same?
Brother bands rule! I can’t even say I would’ve been a musician if it wasn’t something big brother Carson started doing first. When I was 14 my Dad got me an electric guitar and Carson had already been playing drums for a year or so at that point, taking lessons and jamming with friends. At first I think it’s sort of competitive, like who’s better at what and we both kind of wanted music to be our own thing but it really turned into a blessing when we got older. When we were in high school, Carson would be driving us in and we’d both be singing along to whatever was on the radio, one of us taking the lead and the other on the harmony. Eventually we came to realize we were pretty good at it and more so, that we loved doing it at any chance possible.
What are some of the highlights of your year ahead?
Definitely want to get out on the road as much as possible… Trying to make that happen whilst maintaining full time jobs and with one of us going to school. We’re definitely pumped to be playing Pig and Whiskey this year, long time attendees but have never had the chance to get up on that stage. Really just excited to keep going on the road we’re on and keep pumping out music to the best of our ability.
Will this be your first time playing The Front Porch? Stoked to have you represent This Is A Good Porch.
First Ferndale Front Porch for us!!! We usually spend as much time as possible up north in the summer but we’re really excited we were able to hop on this!
If you had a super power what would it be?
I want to teleport, no more expensive plane tickets…yes.
Just in case you were listening for one, This Is A Good Sound. Catch Remnose in action on This Is A Good Porch at 5:30 PM, Saturday.