Songs written under the spell of a new baby are some of the purest songs there are. Nothing fuses the new hopeful inspiration and the panicky fear of being a parent better than verse and chorus. More than love songs, more than break-up songs, newborn baby songs have a raw vulnerability to them that crack open songwriters’ hearts and souls in ways that they’ve never even conceived before, and whether they go on to have a hundred more kids or keep it to only one, they’ll never quite crack just that way again. There’s an honesty that comes with songwriting and changing diapers at the same time.
On his latest effort, Turning Tides, Denver songwriter Blake Brown found new inspiration in changes and experiences in his personal life, leading him to view the world through a new lens. Brown and his wife/bandmate, Tiffany, recently welcomed a baby girl into the world. This experience was one of the main lyrical inspirations for the songs on Turning Tides. The songs are about love, partnership, searching for inner strength, dreams, and ultimately desiring to spread positive messages.
Over an echoey, psychedelic desert expanse, Brown and his wife trade vocals on “Life Lines.” He sings, “Give me your hands, give me your life lines, give me your young days and the ones I could never take away,” while Tiffany follows up with, “Give me your darkness, give me your deepest, darkest night. Give me your every last fight.” Together, they then tackle the ethereal chorus, which states over and over, “I won’t leave you.”
That spacey narrative, which actually closes the new EP, sits alongside the much more upbeat “Lift Me Up,” opening track, which sounds like a continuation of the Dust Choir’s 2018 release Long Way Home. With a convergence of acoustic-ey Americana, and danceable rock, Brown and company — which consists of the couple, guitarist Trent Nelson, drummer Adam Blake, and bassist Jason Legler — bring a Brian Eno/Daniel Lanois unearthliness to the tracks on Turning Tides.
Brown’s original vision of The American Dust Choir was to have a revolving cast of musicians, but since the release of 2013’s We Believers, the revolving cast has slowly solidified and now with the confidence of that tried and true team, Brown’s songwriting is able to be repeatedly highlighted by the tasteful but understated accompaniment.