What can life look like now as we forge ahead from such a traumatic year? That’s exactly what Americana and folk songwriter Christopher Paul Stelling struggles with in his upcoming album, Forgiving It All.
The pandemic naturally took something out of everyone, and seasoned Carolina songwriter Stelling was no different. In fact, you could argue along with the rest of the career musicians, they and the industry, were hit among the hardest. With the reflection and rest that the last year forced, Stelling describes a musical experience centering around peace and mercy.
As an experienced artist, Stelling gave his all pre-pandemic, killing himself with frequent shows and logged miles, developing new music, and connecting with his growing fan base. And when the world fell apart, he was on a West Coast tour, putting in his time. The anxiety of it all was too much, however, and he broke down in a Kansas truck stop on the way back east. Quarantine hit without warning, and he soon would be forced to find beauty in the mundane, and spent quality time with his partner and his dog.
As days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, Stelling dove into his career and what he learned from it. He began to ask the questions many had begun to ask in the new space. “What does life look like in isolation? What can music’s role be in the new world? What does releasing the past look like for the future?”
Forgiving It All is expected to be the epitome of these questions, and this sonic journey of his begins with the single, “Die To Know”.
The song begins with a lovely, calming guitar riff that conjures images of a picturesque country farm. Stelling tells a story of naivety and misplaced trust in the future, relating a longing for freedom and companionship. He sings, “Behind me I left a young loving soul/I’d die to know that kind of love again”, a perfect example of yearning he has for a youthful, carefree love. “Die To Know” is a minimalist track encapsulating a desire for simplicity.
“Cutting Loose” begins with a joyful yet somber guitar riff, setting the stage for a hope-filled verse of perseverance and ridding oneself of hindrances. Stelling’s voice shines through in a melodic and catchy hook. Continuing the minimalist track theme, “Cutting Loose” allows for two guitars to work together and create an urge to tap one’s foot and smile. The song is more self-forgiving, and his growth and maturity is highlighted in the happiness of the song.
“We will wrestle for our lifetimes with what happened in 2020 and what may follow,” Stelling writes on his website. “Forgiving It All is an instinctual and honest response to trying to make the best of it…These songs remind us we’re lucky to be here, no matter what or who it is we have to forgive.”
Forgiving It All is set to be released September 24th of this year.