Greg Loiacono’s music has been more contemplative of late, it is paced and acoustic, evoking specific moods. And while they might be more subdued in sound and instrumentation, the lyrics hit hard and take the forefront in true singer/songwriter style. This new single, “Chamberlain’s Trunk” (Glide premiere below) is a case in point. The melodies intermingle with potent lyrics that deal with pain and release. Loiacono’s life, like every life, has taken some real turns. Greg struggled with addiction in the earlier days of his band, The Mother Hips. But he has also seen the other side of all of that when he committed to working with addicts that were trying to fight and defeat their demons.
“Chamberlain’s Trunk” deals with all of that but mostly from the side of the person trying to help the other’s struggles. It is the story of wanting to help and having had helped a thousand times but refighting the same battle from the beginning again and then realizing that you can’t help – you can’t do the things you want to do to help the person unless that person resigns and allows you in. Resignation is the theme; it is the helper that must reluctantly resign as well – resign to wait and be allowed the space and trust to go in and do the work that needs to be done.
“I’ve been on both sides,” says Loiacono, “I’ve had people want to help me when I was in my addiction and I couldn’t hear it or see it, or I didn’t want to. In fact, it would piss me off. The other side of it, for me, the clinician side, or side of a loved one, is that you know you can help and if this person would just do ‘this’ then they would figure it out. And I’ve seen people drive themselves insane with [trying to help] and, ultimately push their struggling loved one far away when they were trying to do the opposite. It can be argued that that behavior is just as unhealthy as the addict’s behavior or that it is, in its own way, addict behavior.”
There is a sense of frustration in the song but a stronger sense of love and caring. The single takes on a different strength when the listener considers that the late Neal Casal lent both his guitar leads and backing vocals to the song. It might be easy to link some of the lyrics to Neal’s passing but that would be too convenient. In the end, Neal helped a pal make a beautiful song and this one, like so many that the man penned himself or lent talent to flesh out, will be part of his legacy. In a dark world in which human struggle seems so immediate, “Chamberlain’s Trunk” reminds us that there is beauty in the human condition – there is, innately in so many of us, a need to help and a need to look past the darkness, see the light and bring others along with us into its glow when the time to do so finally arrives. Greg has done that through his music, his personal ethos, and his professional work. Scott Hirsch ( Hiss Golden Messenger) recorded, mixed this song in Ojai, CA and also played bass on the track.
Accompanying the song upon its release is another really remarkable video created by guitarist Deren Ney (Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers). Deren’s video work with Greg’s songs have proven an excellent pairing and Deren’s visuals here, through the travels of a giraffe on the central California coast curiously carry the viewer/listener through the verses and it works seamlessly – check out the premiere below…