ARTIST NAME: Bard Edrington V
SONG TITLE: Take Three Breaths
ALBUM TITLE: Espadín
RELEASE DATE: April 29, 2019
The journey begins in Tennessee, where Bard was raised. Returning home to the south for three years, he digs deep into the music that influenced him there, Appalachian Mountain music (Rendezvous Duel, Southern Belle) and Delta Blues (Spread my Wings, Riverside Blues, and Mississippi Flows).
He takes those influences to Mexico where he lived with his family for a year, playing music with his wife to earn a living.
The culture of Mexico, from stories of the simple farming lifestyle of the Mezcaleros to the exuberant emotions of Mariachi horns, soak into “Gold and Black Mare” and “Take Three Breaths”, while “Mango Tree” simply rejoices in Mexico’s succulent tropical climate.
“Take Three Breaths” carries the listener on a journey south down the Camino Real.
Bard leaves Santa Fe to move his family to a small fishing village in the state of Nayarit. The travelers dive across the border to get sideswiped in Sonora, pay bribes in Mazatlan, and pass a 40’ tall Virgin Mary in Sinaloa.
The anchor of the album, Espadín, takes place deep in the heart of Oaxaca. There, you can smell the smoke from the wild agave piñas as they cook in the ground. The traditional transformation of wild agave into distilled mezcal is told in the title song “Espadín.” Follow the Mescalero to his hidden spot “where the espadín grow wild for twenty years or more.” The anchor of the album is found in this song when Karina Wilson’s solo quartet emerges “like sweet water from under the mountain”. Boris McCutcheon’s coaxing of melodies out of the mandolin takes the listener deep into the arroyo.
Bard returns to New Mexico, his heart home, to tell the stories of other travelers who tried to bridge the worlds of “back home” and the new frontier in “Painted Pony”, “Gold and Black Mare”, and “Rendezvous Duel”.
In “Rendezvous Duel” the narrator, Kit Carson, comes back to visit his wife and sits down to tell her all his stories, and then asks to hear hers.
“Maidenhair” comes out from deep in Slickhorn canyon along the San Juan River in Utah, where canyon wrens sing the song of falling rocks and maidenhair ferns’ green, silky leaves spill out of cracks in the earth.
This is the life once explored by pioneering people of the 19th century, deep, slow travel where worlds met and cultures integrated.
Bard keeps this pioneering spirit alive and documents it in sound.
In Espadín, we travel to new lands and experience new possibilities through the eyes and inspiration of this sincere and enormously creative artist.
Explain how to overcome writer’s block.
A simple answer is to seek out inspiration. But sometimes the inspiration is there but the words are not. My technique is to find a melody or chord progression that evokes an emotion, and then continue to play it, sometimes days, until it pulls the lyrics out of me. Usually, the inspiration comes quickly.
Tell us the tricks behind making a hit song.
The truth – If you are true to what you believe, then it’s a hit. It might not get a million YouTube views or whatever is deemed a “hit” these days, but it can be a hit in the eyes of the writer – And, making the song easy on the ears and easy to jump right in and follow.
Tell us how you get feedback for your demo before working on it.
I record all of my demos on the GarageBand app on my iPhone.
When I’m starting to write a new song I might have three versions of it recorded on my phone and spend a couple of days listening to them as I drive around.
I like to get the song in my head so that I can continue to work on it even when I’m not around my instrument.
Explain your recording experience in the studio.
It differs. On “Espadín” I tracked multiple songs with just myself and the drummer in the room. We set it up so that there was some bleed, to give the live feel. Recording with just the drummer is nice because I don’t have to think about what the fiddle player or bass player are doing.
I just lock in on the rhythm and do my part. It gives me more space to focus on my vocals and guitar parts.
“Take Three Breaths” was recorded like this. Then we added all the other tracks to the original live recording.
I go into the studio with a template of an idea for a song and then sometimes that gets thrown out the window.
I let the other musicians do what they are good at – If they are inspired by the music then it comes out naturally.
Tell us how you compose.
By feel – Nothing ever gets written down. My songs do the composing for me.
When I write a new song it’s very evident what the instrumentation will be on it. The hard part is not adding too much.
Tell us if you add effects to your vocals to sound better.
Sure, reverb and echo – Kind of the standard.
Tell us your opinion on music education.
I wish I had some. Sometimes I hear musicians who went to music school are amazing players and composers, but they have no soul to their music and no grit.
And then I hear educated musicians who have it all and have blended the soul into their ability to play whatever note they want.
Tell us how you interact with other artists.
I keep competition amongst other artists out of the picture.
I want to connect with them on a musical level and share inspiration and techniques.
I play with a lot of musicians here in Santa Fe, NM. I like to mix up my band so that nothing gets stagnant.
I want fans to not know what to expect when coming to see me live.
Tell us if you can collaborate with an artist of a different genre.
Absolutely – That’s what’s great about music. It’s a language with lots of different dialects. But sometimes you don’t have to know the dialect to be able to communicate.
Explain how to finance a music project.
Work my ass off in my day job. I don’t do crowdfunding. I’m not into asking people to donate money to me so that I can make an album. I’ll ask you to buy it and support me that way.
Tell us how to generate income from a musical work.
I wish I knew. Right now I just play gigs and record and encourage people to come to shows and support me.
Explain the process involved in recording a vocal.
Some songs are easier to sing than others and I can nail it the first take. For other songs, depending on how it’s recorded, we will do a few vocal takes.
Elaborate on the song.
“Take Three Breaths”
In 2016 my family and I moved to a small fishing village in Chacala, Mexico. We lived and worked there and our sons were in a local school. It was an amazing cultural experience for us all.
When we moved there, a friend and I drove down 1,500 miles from New Mexico. Along the way, we had many experiences.
We got sideswiped just across the border in Sonora, paid a bribe to a cop in Mazatlan, and then once we arrived in Chacala we hit the tequila and wrote ‘Take Three Breaths.’
This is the most produced song on the album. The production of the music was such that I wanted to capture the dramatic chaos feeling we had during the trip.
Elaborate on your artist name and the title of the album.
Bard Edrington V is a family name. Bard means a poet and a keeper of stories. The music I make is based around the meaning of the Bard.
Espadín is a type of agave that is native to Mexico and is used in the process of making Mezcal.