SONG PREMIERE: Warden and Co. Reflect on Our Current Times with Timely Folk Rocker “Middle of Madness”

Photo credit: Tim Ferris

“Music can’t lie.”

Seth Warden, Doug Moody, and Brian Melick started out making music for kids. Now as Warden and Co., the trio presents Somewhere (due out April 8th), their first full-length set for people the age of those kids’ parents. No matter the audience, frontman Warden says, the words mean nothing if they’re not true. And in our chaotic current moment, that truth is everything.

“You can’t fake it,” says Warden, whose album releases April 2022. “If you sing certain messages, you better back it up offstage. That’s become our motto.” There’s nothing fake about Somewhere and its 11 servings of auditory earnestness. The band, featuring frontman Warden, violinist and vocalist Moody, and drummer Melick, has created a mood of emotional tenderness, meeting in a special place where rock, folk, and Americana converge. And the feeling is personal, familiar, and, yes, true.

The sounds of Somewhere range from the Tom Petty-esque, driving rock anthem “Living for Love,” to the delicate, father-daughter harmonies of the titular track (featuring Warden’s daughter, 13-year-old Lovella). “This album covers a broad spectrum of human emotions and experiences: love, uncertainty, frustration, desire, fear, and compassion,” Warden says.

Many of the songs on Somewhere, co-produced by multi-instrumentalist Chris Carey and Warden, were written in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. The frontman found himself teaching virtually, which, at first, “felt very uninspired. But after a week, with my kids home, I just started writing — 26 songs in a summer! The producer said, ‘This is your Appetite For Destruction.’”

Of course, Somewhere, whose strings and organic percussion evoke a relaxed late-night backyard jam with lights in the trees and possibility in the air, sounds nothing like Guns N’ Roses. But for Warden, the comparison is about making a clarifying musical statement. “I felt that people who listen to this full-length debut will know who we are,” he says.

Today Glide is offering an exclusive premiere of “Middle of Madness,” a song that finds the band pondering the difficulty of defining truth when everyone seems to be selling their own. The addition of a fiddle adds a dramatic urgency to the band’s well-crafted folk-rock. Lyrically, the song seems to question the state of the world from the perspective of someone who doesn’t want to accept that our reality could be so troubled. Perhaps fitting of the lyrics, the band rocks out accordingly.

Listen to the track and read our quick chat with the band below…

What is the story behind this song?

The story behind this song has been written for us over the past few years. I would dare to say that many of us have felt like we’ve been in the middle of madness lately.

What was the inspiration that made you write it?

As a father of three amazing children and as a music teacher, I’m surrounded by kids on a daily basis. We teach them to behave in a certain way so that they can grow to be successful young adults. They are given strategies on coping, and how to deal with adversity so that they can find positive outcomes. This starts in kindergarten with 5-year-olds learning the “Golden Rule.” Feeling forced to watch the news and keep up on social media over this pandemic has led me to the realization that there are so many adults who are not “walking the walk” for our next generations. How can we expect our kids to act with respect, dignity, pride, and compassion if the adults they see on the screens don’t model the behavior?

How did this song come together?

I wrote the main riff on acoustic guitar early one summer morning and then began hunting for a vocal melody. It didn’t take long to find my voice, and the song began to write itself. Once I had a melody, it was time to focus on the emotion of the song and how it was making me feel so that I could find the topic that I wanted to write about. Once I had the topic, it was time to find the right words, and that is always the hardest part for me… how to say something fresh and original.

Was it “quick and easy” or did it take some time to finesse it?

This song was one of the quick and easy ones! Some songs take 15 minutes to pen and some take years. “Middle of Madness” was easy to write because it’s about my own feelings about the situation our world was, and still is, in.

When you recorded this song, what kind of vibe or overall sound were you wanting to achieve?

I was hearing a Pearl Jam-meets-Dave Matthews Band type of vibe from the song, so when we went into production at Millstone Studios, we aimed to get a tight percussive feel with palm-muting techniques on the acoustic guitar and long-duration chords on the B3 organ. Brian Melick (drums/percussion) is a true “percussive painter” and used his colorful bells and chimes to add to the story of the song, while the Jimmy Page-esque violin solo from Doug Moody takes the song to its peak. We decided to double the main vocal tracks, giving them a smooth yet intense sound, and, in the end, we are thrilled with how it turned out. The production skills of Chris Carey really put the icing on the cake for this song and this entire album.

What do you hope listeners get from hearing the song? What primary message do you hope it conveys?
We hope people can connect with the music and emotions of the song. The message within is there to evoke thought and maybe conversations.

What is coming up next for Warden and Co.?

The album release is in April, so that will be our main focus for a while. The marketing wheel will be steadily turning to reach radio outlets and hopefully industry folks who might take interest in our art. We have a good looking performance schedule for the spring and into summer, so we hope to see you at a show!

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