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The High Crest | Gone

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Folk: Folk-Rock Rock: Americana Moods: Type: Acoustic
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by The High Crest

An album written and rooted in loss and recovery - personal journeys out of alcoholism and enduring the passing of someone you love.
Genre: Folk: Folk-Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Old Songs
4:40 album only
2. Carry Me
5:17 album only
3. The Thing About the Devil
5:18 album only
4. Right Now
4:35 album only
5. Bourbon & Vicodin
4:10 album only
6. Into the New
3:21 album only
7. Alcohol & Poverty
5:23 album only
8. I Do This for You
3:50 album only
9. Strange
5:26 album only
10. Embrace
4:22 album only
11. Goodbye Whiskey
3:59 album only
12. Heavenly 2x4
4:32 album only
13. Kerosene
3:34 album only
14. By the Riverside
5:38 album only
15. Withdrawal Blues
5:43 album only
16. Meant to Be
3:33 album only
17. Kitchen Sink
5:23 album only
18. Would It Be True
3:48 album only
19. By My Side
5:54 album only
20. Long Highway
5:10 album only
21. Wish
4:10 album only
22. 12 Hours
4:07 album only
23. Shooter or the Gun
3:43 album only
24. This Wind
4:16 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
HIGH CREST BIO (July 3, 2014)

About the band…

The High Crest is the Iowa-grown folk & roll duo of Kat Darling and Aaron Short. They possess an extensive catalog of original, acoustic guitar-based tunes that come alive with multi-instrumentation, engaging harmonies, hand drum percussion, soulful harmonica, and the steel hum of resonator guitar. Lively performances and impressive musicianship spanning more than a decade are backed by a solid reputation for professionalism and reliability. Always treated to an intimate, one-of-a-kind show, audiences become loyal followers. With their consistency to deliver and their ability to attract a crowd, The High Crest quickly becomes a favorite.

The sound…

The uniqueness of The High Crest’s style comes from an organic hybrid of multiple genres: folk, rock, roots, blues, bluegrass, country. Short’s gravely sound is an easy comparison to the Americana drawls of James McMurtry. Darling’s pleading vocals reflect an earnest Gillian Welch, pulling from folk and Appalachian traditions. But peppered with dueling guitars and spicy instrumentation—Darling’s African djembe, Short’s Delta-blues harmonica, and the ring of the Dobro’s resonator—The High Crest pumps out a groovy blend that is distinctly and authentically theirs. The songs themselves lead into shared storytelling and invite humor, reflection and camaraderie. Frequently backed by their spirited 6-year-old daughter, Abileen, they perform unique children’s tunes at special kid-themed arts events and parties.

Widely known for their commitment to supporting other artists, The High Crest can also be heard as regular hosts of local radio show, Iowa Home Grown. This weekly Des Moines favorite features songs, interviews, and live performances by other Iowa musicians.

Read more…

The High Crest formed in 2004. Until then, Short fronted The Creek Dwellers, a popular Des Moines-based roots band, while Darling got her feet wet writing songs and singing solo. After an impromptu jam at a mutual friend’s house, Short and Darling recognized similar fire in one another as well as complementary styles. These two ingredients became the foundation of The High Crest. They played their first show as a duo in 2004 to a large and appreciative crowd of family and friends at Java Joe’s in downtown Des Moines.

Soon after that initial gig, The High Crest formed their own production company as a launching pad for both duo and solo projects. The name of the company, 5 of Hearts Productions, derives from a late night card game that has become illustrative of at least one aspect of the duo’s undeniable on-stage magic: Connection.

As the story goes, in a light-hearted moment around a table with friends, each had to pick a card from a deck and guess the card held by the person directly across. Sitting opposite Short, Darling said, “5 of hearts.” Short turned over the 5 of hearts. It was a moment of intimate connection that has proven constant in their career as a duo.

As if reading one another’s minds, they frequently launch into the same song or the same chord progression, instinctively knowing where the other is going. They call these their “5 of hearts moments.” Audiences, however, know them simply as part and parcel of The High Crest experience. These electric connections fuel every show and create a contagious energy and engaging intimacy.

As a production company, 5 of Hearts plays home base for multiple projects: their self-titled debut album, The High Crest, released in January 2013; a family music project, Simple Songs Simple Feelings in 2009; and the forthcoming double album, Gone, targeted for release in Fall 2014.

Gone is their most ambitious project yet. Boasting 24 tracks, the songs are emotional heavy-hitters, exploring themes of grief, loss, and change, stemming largely from events of 2009. It was a year of tremendous upheaval for the duo: their daughter, Abileen, was born; a flood destroyed half of their possessions, including sentimental keepsakes and musical gear; they moved and moved and moved again; Darling lost her mother to cancer; and after years of leaning on alcohol as a crutch, Short began a new life of sobriety. The new collection of tunes takes the reader on that journey into the dark…and then, in true High Crest fashion, out the other side.

Ten minutes with The High Crest leaves no doubt that they have found their way out of the dark and into new life; and they want to bring everybody along for the ride. In 2014, and with the release of the cathartic double album, the duo and their daughter will make the road and their music home. An extensive national tour will bring The High Crest’s unique brand of folk & roll to audiences across the country. Prepare to feel, groove, connect, and be inspired.

The High Crest Interview
Patresa Hartman - Band Bombshell

Launching the Boat: A New Life for The High Crest

On their wedding night, Kat Darling and Aaron Earl Short borrowed a houseboat and set to drift on the Mississippi River near Guttenberg. Neither of them had ever manned the helm of a houseboat. But how hard could it be? When the winds kicked up, they found out.

Waves pounded every side of the vessel. They lurched, weeble-wobbled, and zig-zagged through volatile waters. Where the river grew shallow, they finally came to rest, wild-eyed, on a sandbar. Unsure what to do next, Short explained with a half-grin, “We decided to sit there and wait to see if anyone looked at us like we were nuts.”

No one did. Eventually, the river calmed and the sky filled with stars. They were right where they were supposed to be.
Photo Credit: Roger D. Feldhans

Darling and Short, who together are the popular folk duo, The High Crest, are in some ways back on that houseboat. Or maybe they never actually left. Maybe they’ve been zig-zagging wild-eyed through choppy waters from sandbar to sandbar ever since. Even now, they’re heading bow-first into a new kind of life.

The day I talked with The High Crest, they were emptying the contents of their east side home, sorting and pricing them for a weekend garage sale—all part of the master plan to sell the house and go mobile. No hulls and rudders this time; they’ll be on camper wheels.

Darling spoke passionately about her research into minimalism and their quest to purge and start fresh. The contents of their new life will be trimmed to fit between the necessities: homeschooling supplies for 6-year-old daughter, Abileen; culinary tools for foodie, Darling’s, kitchen creations; and of course, the bones of their live show—guitars, drums, Short’s harmonica collection, and sound equipment.

They’ve been edging toward this launch for years, perhaps since the moment they met jamming at a mutual friend’s house after Beaverdale Fall Fest. All those years ago, sensing potential, Short invited Darling over afterward for another jam.

The timing was right. Short, who’d played for years with local band, The Creek Dwellers, was on the brink of a burnout. An opportunity in Minneapolis had him contemplating a move. Darling was just figuring herself out musically, finding tunes on an acoustic guitar and singing harmonies for others.

It was during this inaugural duo jam that the pair realized Darling was a drummer. As Short picked through guitar licks, Darling flipped hers over and pounded out a rhythm on the back. “Man, she had really great rhythm!” Short declared. Eventually, Darling would move her drum lines from the back of an acoustic guitar to a full kit and finally to what Darling is widely recognized for: the djembe.
Photo compliments of The High Crest

The two continued to jam and gel. They uncovered their distinct sound—a sort of driving, whiskey-soaked, bluegrass, heartstrings, storytelling folk, braided into the thrum of a tribal drum circle. They uncovered their strengths as songwriters individually and together. And they learned their connection went a lot deeper than the music.

During a late night game of cards at a friend’s house, each player was challenged to guess the card held by the person across the table. Darling stared at Short directly across from her. “Five of hearts,” she said. And she was right.

The uncanny connection epitomized their success as a duo (both on and off the stage). They still refer to moments of “mind-reading” as their 5 of Hearts moments. Audiences see it on stage when they spontaneously veer off in the same direction in the middle of a song or a set. They named their production company “5 of Hearts,” too, as an homage to that moment of recognition.

As a folk duo and as a couple, they moved back to Darling’s hometown of Atlantic. Darling, whose formal training was in culinary arts, managed The Weather Vane, a coffee shop in Anita. Missing the Des Moines music scene, however, they moved back after a year.

Back in Des Moines, Darling and Short played basement jams and parties over the course of two years before getting married and welcoming daughter Abileen. But a surprise visit from a U.S. Marshall followed by a flood sent them back to Atlantic.

In 2008, Darling and Short had just welcomed new baby, Abileen, when a U.S. Marshall surprised them in the middle of the night at the front door of their rental home. Officers surrounded the home “locked and loaded” looking for the previous tenant. It was too much for beleaguered new parents. “We’ve got to get out of here,” they said.
Photo Credit: Roger D. Feldhans

Before they could, the river rose. That year’s historic Des Moines flood filled the basement with a foot of water. They lost wedding photos, guitars, speakers, and more than a little enthusiasm. As they held their crying new baby on the basement steps contemplating what they could salvage, the lights of a power strip flickered under the surface. The basement clothes dryer sent a spark and electrified the water. They were done. They packed up as soon as waters receded, and they moved to the Darling family farm in Messina.

For a time, it seemed things had settled. They moved into their own place in Casey. They found their groove as parents. But then in the summer of 2009, Darling’s mom was diagnosed with cancer. By the time it was discovered, the cancer had spread. Darling’s mother died that same September.
Photo compliments of The High Crest

The loss was devastating, and as Darling describes it, the grief was intolerable. Five years later, it still is. Her mom had been her biggest fan. She’d instilled in Darling the idea that you don’t have to “make it” in order to make a life out of music. It’s a sentiment that has stuck with them both.

They moved back to Des Moines.

As Darling navigated through her grief, Abileen grew. Short began to take inventory of his own demons, chief among them: alcohol. When it came to drinking, Short didn’t know moderation; so he decided to quit.

In a way, it was another loss. Booze had been Short’s go-to crutch. He used it to relax before shows. Giving it up did not come without fear. “I was afraid the music would get better,” he said, leaving him without a rationalization for keeping the habit.

Darling served as Short’s “sober buddy” for a while. As a motion of solidarity, she gave up drinking, too. “We chose music to be the drug instead of booze,” she reasoned. If they could zone out and into the music, they could achieve the same calming effects alcohol had provided. Only, this time, it would serve the music instead of detract from it.

Short recounted the difficult year of withdrawal he endured; but the reward has been sweet. Sober, he’s discovered he has more stamina to get through long sets. His voice is stronger. Their music is tighter. His songwriting is better, because his standards are higher. “I’m more aware of what I’m putting on paper,” he said.

2008 and 2009 served as considerable shake-down years for the duo. Volatile waters sent them lurching and zig-zagging, wild-eyed and uncertain. They started a family, bounced from one place to the next, grieved, and sobered up. But they kept plodding forward.

In the five years since life turned inside-out, they’ve found their stride. They’ve built an impressive catalog of music and a solid fan base. Their debut album released in January 2013. They’ve diversified their set, branching into children’s music and featuring daughter Abileen. And they’ve finally found a way to process the upheaval that came before: They work it out in their music.
Photo Credit: Kerri Photography

The duo’s most ambitious project to date, a 24-song double album, is set to release in October 2014. They’ve signed on with Des Moines area representatives, Shotgun Management, to help launch the new project, including a crowdfunding campaign to aid in duplication and distribution. Entitled Gone, the collection features thematic hard hitters, songs traveling the landscape of Darling’s grief and Short’s struggle toward sobriety. The authentic High Crest sound remains and is accompanied by hard-earned maturity and wisdom.

The process of writing the songs and then sharing them night after night has been cathartic; and it’s come perfectly aligned with their new direction. As they’ve purged their material possessions in preparation for a new life, so too have they purged their emotional burdens. Darling calls it transformative.

The transition into this new minimalistic life on the road brings its own list of worries. Will they need a stationary home base? What will Abileen’s homeschooling look like? How will they eat nutritiously on the road? Will they be able to provide for their family? How will cat Mango and dog Zapata adapt? How will they manage with so few things? But if the trials have taught them anything, it’s that things work out when you let them.

“We have to trust that there will be support for us. There’s a whole community out there of families doing exactly what we want to do,” Darling said.

Regardless, they’ve been here before. They started this journey on a reeling houseboat on the Mississippi River. All they have to do now is launch the boat and stay the course until the waters calm…because they always do.

For updates on The High Crest and to learn more about the crowdfunding campaign to launch the double album, Gone, you can visit The High Crest at their website (http://www.thehighcrest.com).



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