Blood on the Harp’s two-step ballad “They’ll Never Find Me” is a anguished narrative about death and subsequent questions of spirituality. Melodic rivulets of fiddle and acoustic guitar accompany Miguel Olascuaga’s reedy tenor. The song’s bridge concludes with tearful resignation “Well, if heaven is going to cause me all my memories and tears / and make me a stranger to all my family and peers / then oh, lord, please leave me here.” Miguel joined me for a brief chat about memory, character building, and finding purpose.v
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SC: Your songs always have these beautifully flawed characters. Can you tell me about how you created your characters in this song?
MO: First off, I wanna thank you for the kind words and for this interview.
The character in this song is myself, the clergy, anybody fighting with the internal fear of judgment, and the intent from the hosts who instilled those fears.
SC: Can you tell me a little bit about these lyrics: “well if heaven’s going to cost me all my memories and tears / and make me a stranger to my family and peers / Oh, lord. Please leave me here”?
passes. Those words resonated with me all through my years as a teenager and into adulthood, "What the hell is the purpose of living and loving if one day you're going to take it all away and leave us with an ideal that suits only one ego".
SC: What was your songwriting process like for "They'll Never Find Me"?
MO: When I was very young, church, along with Sunday school was the perfect daycare for children that came from troubled homes, or at least that was my experience.
There was an instance in one Sunday school session that will always stick with me, the teacher was explaining what Hell was like to a room full of children and it went something like this:
She walked over to the light switch, and as she turned it off darkness swallowed every face in the room. "Hell is a place for sinners, a place where nobody can save you from the intense fire that will consume your body, it's a million times hotter than our sun and screaming from those around you WHO ALSO are being tortured and burned will be the only sounds that you hear." You will enter through the Lake Of Fire, that's where Jesus throws the sinners and those who didn't believe in him when he comes back. "Nobody can rescue you, it's forever and there's no coming back, no light, no love, nothing but torture and fire. "If you don't accept Jesus and do what The Bible tells you, you will go to Hell for eternity, no one is exempt, not even you [ . . . ] Now let us sit here for a few minutes so that you can understand that this is only a small fragment of what Hell will be like." After her yelling this at us in a dark room for over 20 minutes, let me tell you, when she turned that light on, there wasn't a clean pair of underoos in the building. There is another situation that is much too painful to discuss, and for the sake of protecting what little faith any of you may have in the church, as I realize not all are the same, I'll leave that part out. Those situations are what lead to the writing of "They'll Never Find Me".
SC: What is your songwriting process like? Do you keep a schedule? Or do you wait for inspiration?
MO: I think—as you yourself can agree—being a talented songwriter, [songs] come when they do and not a minute sooner than that. My inspiration comes from my past endeavors and current life struggles, a melody will come to me while I'm working, while I am dreaming, and sometimes when I hear others around me talking. I have some of the most inspiring folks around me and that helps with the writing process for sure.
SC: How does your community of songwriting influence your writing?
MO: Have you heard Atlanta? It's one of the most inspiring cities whether it's food, art or music. With so many talented souls, I am very fortunate to share this space and learn so much from it.
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