The Georgia Mountain Stringband is a collective of songwriters from Atlanta, GA. “Eagle River” is a meditation that builds on a call and response of a guitar figure that builds with mandolin and fiddle counterpoint. Jason Waller sings the sun-bruised narrative about loss and reconciliation—“on the way to the top we chose our own path / and we did it just for a laugh”—his earnest voice balances alongside a lightly plucked banjo creating a tune that’s perfect for the dog day afternoons of summer.
Pick up a copy of their self-titled EP here.
SC: You’re a musician that works with a lot of bands (Waller, Grassland, Ben Trickey, missing anyone else?), as well as the organizer of Depression Awareness Dude. That’s a lot of stuff. How do you make time to write new songs?
JW: I'm writing all day long. My responsibilities take a lot of my time but while I'm out in the world I am looking for interesting things that happen, stories people tell me, where my mind goes on it's own. I'm trying to write 1000 songs in hopes that I write 1 good one.
SC: I love how this song builds on a repeated acoustic guitar theme as banjo, mandolin, and fiddle slowly swell into the mix. How do you see this relating to the themes of self-discovery you explore in the song?
SC: Do you view a relationship between the landscape and the ideas you explore in the song?
JW: My brother and I while visiting Hatcher Pass decided to run up the side of this mountain. We had already hiked up to this lake that had an emerald color. It was so magical. My brother and I got spilt up while hiking up and around boulders. We were really high up there when storm clouds rolled in. Things started to get serious and we found each other and decided to head back down. We never made it to the top but that wasn't the point. We were just stoked to get to adventure together.
SC: Tell me about your writing process for “Eagle Mountain River”
JW: The melody I had for several years before the right words showed up. After the verses and chorus were decided I brought it to Georgia Mountain String Band and we arranged it together. The fiddle and banjo really make this song. Also the vocal harmonies on the chorus really bring out the emotion I was looking for.
SC: How often do you write? Do you keep a songwriting schedule? Or do you wait for inspiration?
JW: I've kept a pretty good schedule over the past several years. I was apart of and ran several songwriting challenges online where we are given a topic and we have a week to write a song about it. It's been awhile since I've been in one of those I think it might be time to start one up again. As host of the open mic at Avondale Towne Cinema I would write at least one song for every one and worked my way up to 3 brand new ones every time. I am having to pass the baton with hosting responsibilities so I can have more time at home with the kids.
SC: How does your community of songwriters influence your writing?
JW: I am heavily influenced by my friends. I have so many talented folks in my life and to watch them do their thing is so inspiring. They way they tell stories, the way they live their lives. Songwriting is an art form. We share techniques and tricks but at the end of the day we are sharing our art with each other. You can't compare someone’s self expression to someone else's so we don't do any of that. We celebrate our songs together and we appreciate the journey of becoming better songwriters. We even send verses and chord progressions to each other. There is some really awesome collaborations that happen just through texts and random conversations that happen.
The Sound Connector is an online magazine for songwriters. We feature songwriting challenges, monthly interviews, and the opportunity to discover new songwriters. We are interested in all things related to the craft of songwriting.
Do you want to be featured on The Sound Connector? Send us your songs!