The Pine Hearts – Lost Love Songs
Self-published – February 18, 2022
Recorded in rural Oregon, Washington-based Americana roots trio pine hearts featuring Joey Capoccia, mandolinist Derek McSwain and bassist Dean Shakked return with banjo player Lob Strilla fiddler Bevin Foley and Bart Budwig on trumpet for Lost Love Songs, their 2020 sequel to Back To Sustain. They open the debates with restless-hearted bluegrass Mary The Night’s On Fire with its defiant chorus, “I’ll give up, but I won’t back down.” It is followed by wouldn’t you knowwhich, written to the National Science Foundation, the greenhouse at South Pole Station where Capoccia worked as a carpenter, is another piece of bluegrass from which the title of the album comes (“I’ve searched for lost love songs / I’ve slept under the stars, waded through rivers with fallen angels, drank champagne out of mason jars”). Things take a more folksy way with the romantic Honey, don’t put the sunlight in your eyes and its notes of violin and banjo pizzicato.
Indeed, love songs, lost or not, are scattered everywhere, like the midtempo bluegrass Losing You and the more lively and upbeat Sugarcane. However, writing I assume that during Capoccia’s stay in Kauai Hawaii, The ocean in your veinswith its hesitant guitar strumming that opens before unfolding into another flowing bluegrass breeze, is about taking a break, to experience the restorative power of simply lying on your back in warm water (“Three weeks almost passed and wave after wave finally calmed me down”). On the other hand, it could be drowning.
They head off into more melancholic territory with the thoughtful waltzer Days not shareda song about the loneliness of the road and the call of home (“all all day I whispered a prayer, Lord won’t you take me there/When the morning came I woke up hungry for every place I’ve been. I was calling names… When the road less traveled leads to darkness, I tend to question the path/Though I’ve made up my mind, God I sometimes feel stupid, for the choices I’ve made facts”).
It’s an introspection that resurfaces on the final piece, time unita half-spoken five-minute thirty-something crisis, thinking about the passage of years, the growth of wisdom with parenthood (“it’s like an eternity when you’re only halfway there / Back when we were kids most of us were free / I wondered why the adults were so upset and worried / I didn’t understand not what was so important back then… I guess loving your kids lets the stress start to seep in”) and losing those we love (“Not that I’m a geezer, my god I’m only 35/But I’m already starting to wonder how long I can survive/In this world if it’s without you”), waking up at night in a cold sweat and trying to poke his ears out. “thinking about stupid things…/Like airport parking, oil changes and organizing my closet”.
A similar awe informs the deceptively keen bones of the vineyardinitially painting a picture of grapes growing in the California sun and producing wine, but veined with the awareness it takes”nine thousand miles of irrigation pipe” at “grow crops throughout the summer“, without which “this part of the world would be dust, nothing but desert in the sun“, a metaphor that makes you think about the precariousness of life.
Somewhere else, For a long time crazy offers another love song through the years, the campfire waltz, banjo scampering and violin flight Run in place is as energetic as the title suggests while, considering, the no less dashing Burn this bridge it’s about cutting the ties and moving on to something else that’s holding you back. Which just leaves a return to the sea for Oceans and Limousinesbut this time, polished by the trumpet, the theme is separation rather than appeasement (“So the deep blue ocean got in the way, like late evening and an old limo/Looking down from the hotel balcony, the cars all roll away like waves towards the sea/ Miles of coastline are constantly receding and putting a little more ocean between you and me”). But as long as there’s loss and the need to let go and no”Clinging to things that mean nothing / Like you and your lovers can come and go as they pleasethe song also evokes the classic romantic image of the sea as a balm for the broken hearted. While its enduring vastness is a reminder that the tides will rise and rise, in line”You know the ocean keeps growing, so let it take you like an old limo/And if you wanna get a little closer to me, take your heart to the beach and dip it in the sea/You can spend all the night wishing on every star you see, but it’s not as close as the ocean is to me”.
Expanding their musical horizons and refining their established newgrass sound while offering thoughtful lyrics that touch on emotions we can all relate to, these lost love songs are worth discovering and offering a home.
Order through Bandcamp: https://thepinehearts.bandcamp.com/