If you follow the bands out in Rockland, especially Nyack, you’ve probably heard of Blue Was a Bear, a sometimes folky, sometimes jazzy, always heartsick quartet that plays with Britney Boras every once and a while.Â Well, Blue is still chugging along, but now the members are working with some of their friends and collaborators on a side project called History of Lovers.
In some respects, I like History of Lovers even better than Blue Was a Bear. Â The new project sounds a bit more stripped down, and therefore closer to the actual emotions that Blue Was a Bear is always striving for.Â “Trouble,” a ballad by guitarist Aaron Rauch and vocalist Bethany Olson, was recorded in Olson’s Connecticut living room, using only Garageband and the internal mic on her laptop.Â It definitely doesn’t have the quality of a professional recordingâ€”at times, you can’t really hear her singingâ€”but it has a lot of heart. According to Rauch, he and Olson like to sit around every now and then, chat, drink some wine, and play music.Â Just thinking about it relaxes me.
Rauch and Olson lounging.
At about five minutes, “Trouble” might be a little long for such a subtle, quiet song, but you won’t mind listening the whole way through, even if you know there won’t be any big musical surprises at the finish line.Â There’s finger picking, and restrained vocal harmony at the refrain, not to mention the calming sound of Rauch’s fingers sliding across the fretboard.Â The style is reminiscent of Iron & Wine, the whisper-inflected, one-man alt folk band.Â That’s not surprising, though, as the History of Lovers band name is taken from the title of a song on Iron & Wine’s 2005 EP, In the Reins, a collaboration with the band Calexico.
“Trouble” is the kind of ballad that you might want to put on after you get home from work, and are looking to unwind.Â Light a candle or two, makeÂ a cup of tea, and just appreciate the basic components that make up your life: a comfortable couch, the cool fall air, your loved ones in the other room, the sleeping plants in the window, a TV that’s not turned on.Â After the song is finished, you might just want to let the silence ring out for a while, and savor the mood.
(Photos courtesy of Aaron Rauch)