Andrea Colburn and Mud Moseley write music that that bridges the space between old time country and contemporary issues. Andrea and Mud have a homegrown charm that’s a little Johnny and June, and a little Sid and Nancy. “Dark River” is a 1960s B-movie recast as a spooky hootenanny. Replete with bowed saws, tremolo guitars, and the duo’s keen lyricism, the song offers a vivid narrative about what we cannot leave behind—in this case: undead lovers.
Listen to “Dark River” here, and donate some money to Andrea and Mud’s new album here.
SC: I love the repetitive verse structure in this song and how it parallels the undead return of the singer’s beloved. Can you tell me about why you chose this verse structure?
AC: I'm so glad you understood the undead return! When Mud first played me this song, it didn't have all of the verses that it does now. When he gave me permission to rearrange and add a few things, I decided that an undead return is exactly what it needed. So of course, I added the verse about walking back to the trailer and that his lover was already there waiting for him. After he killed her!
SC: There’s really lovely detail throughout this song. Can you tell me a little bit about these lyrics “the devil don’t wear no bolo tie / he ain’t got no Stetson, and he ain’t got blue eyes / he don’t drive no Cadillac / cause he walks alone.”?
MM: The lyrics in this section serve as a double meaning. On one hand its suggesting that the "Devil" can be who or whatever you label it; specifically the male vocal is labeling this returning lover as evil (the Devil) with "...she walks alone". The female vocals are describing her killer with the coinciding "...he walks alone." The aim was for some ambiguity so that it could be applied to some real life audience experiences. It's sort of an allusion to the Robert Johnson story as well.
SC: What was your writing process like for “Dark River”?
MM: I was playing around with Hank Sr.'s "Lonesome Whistle", and tried putting it in a minor key and the majority of the lyrics just kind of fell out of my mouth. I was sitting by the Yellow River and had been listening to a lot of murder ballads like Omie Wise that week so it came pretty naturally. But the icing on the cake is when I brought the idea to Andrea and she suggested that ghostly Groundhog Day thing. The song itself has changed a bit from our first phone recording to make room for instrumentation.
SC: What is your writing process like? Do you write everyday? Do you keep a schedule? Do you wait for inspiration?
MM: That really depends. Some days Andrea and I will get a bottle of wine and sit on the porch and write three songs in like 45 minutes and other times one of us will bring a well formed idea to the other to perfect. Occasionally Andrea will throw out a random theme, like "Freddy Krueger goes to prom" or "Wild West bank robbery" when we are particularly stumped or just need a new idea, and they sometimes end up as songs. We've got a lot of voice memos on our phone and some are really weird . . .
SC: How does your community of songwriters influence you?
AC: It's very easy to be influenced by other songwriters in North GA. There is a ridiculous amount of talent. I definitely wouldn't be writing songs if it weren't for the amazing musicians that I've met in the few short years that I've lived in GA.
MM: I've always played music but after moving into the city (Atlanta), the huge and diverse community of musicians and songwriters made writing a pretty obtainable goal. Specifically the open mic night at the Little Vinyl Lounge in Little Five Points pushed me in the direction of writing. I'd go every Monday and it would be a group of artistic individuals in a small room, each doing their own unique thing. When writing, I do draw from experiences at pickin' porch (old timers jam) and Bear on the Sqaure from when I lived in Dahlonega. (M.M.)
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