One of the most powerful features of music is being able to relate to an artist’s work and feel connected to the musician themselves. With honesty being their most dominant attribute, indie folk group GOOD OLD WAR have penned songs that have been so brutally sincere, it’s been difficult for fans and new listeners to shake off the acoustic bliss embedded in the trio’s first two releases and past projects. While camped out in Omaha, Nebraska, during the middle of their current tour, we caught up with vocalist Keith Goodwin via phone to discuss the band’s third album, what it’s like to be a part of the Sargent House family and their unique approach to songwriting.
There’s a short documentary online of you guys in the studio recording Come Back As Rain and, in it, Dan says a great deal of the songs were recorded live. Did your surroundings influence what you were recording?
Yeah, when you’re in a good place with good vibes and no distractions I feel like you get good takes. The studio has great equipment, so the sound of the record I think is better than anything we’ve done so far. There are only two tracks that we did fully live. For the rest of them we did all the music live and then the vocals after that. But it was still cool. The way the room was set up, everybody could see each other and we could communicate while we were playing and that was cool. “Loud Love” was one of the songs recorded all live, and the other was a bonus track. There has been about three different names for this song so far, but I think it’s called “Take it Slow” now.
“One of the ingenious things about having three-part harmonies and significant vocal contributions from all three members of a group can lead you perfectly astray when trying - or attempting - to get at the crux of a lyrical idea. Good Old War’s Keith Goodwin might, technically, be considered the band’s lead singer, but the way that the songs here on the band’s first session with us play out, we can’t be sure if we’re just hearing about a specific girl or we’re hearing about a whole cluster of them. We don’t necessarily hope that there are numerous ladies being described here because we’re not sure that they’re all that great (or, more specifically, we’re not sure that they’re painted in the most flattering of lights), but it would take the air out of what could be a real mountain of tension, allowing it to be distributed evenly over everyone in the group. It could just be an interesting group dynamic that they’re all involved with women who give them nothing but horribly mixed signals. They’re great one day and then they’re driving them to the loony bin the next day, only to circle back around and find a way or ways to win them back over on the third day, reinstating the cycle.