Think in units, think in series. And then make music. This seems to currently be the line of thinking for the Californian duo Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz. While Anders has quite a bit of a catalog behind him, the duo worked on and off together. Their 2007 joint effort Tethered to the Ground produced two songs that got noticed – “So Wrong” was used in Michael Schroeder’s film Man in the Chair, while “Big World Abide” was used in the Dutch TV soap and also in Cortney Cox’s TV show The Dirt.
After their two albums in 2018 and 2019 (Of All These Things, Ghosts of Ancestors) the duo started applying the series concept. Their album American Bardo and EP This Mortal Farce from 2020 were both inspired by George Saunders’ Mann-Booker-Prize-winning novel Lincoln in the Bardo. And while the songs on the album were each shaped after a character in the novel, the compositions on the EP were not directly tied to the characters in the novel. Hence two releases.
Now the duo are in the process of coming up with another series, this time comprised of three connected releases, with the theme of “Music in the time of the Coronavirus.” “Careful Now My Son,” the single, is the initial release. It will be followed by 8-song album Sirens Go By and an EP, Stuck Inside.
While there is a joint theme, each of the releases differs stylistically. The album is in a singer/songwriter mood, the EP a more rocking affair, while the single is something you can freely label as Americana. If ”Careful Now My Son” is to judge by though, it is more thoughts on the state of American affairs than what is expected as Americana as a music genre. As the duo explains, “the song is about both the pandemic and the authoritarian and cultish politics of Trumpism. We were deeply afraid of both infectious diseases during 2020 and as 2021 gets going. With regard to Trumpism, ‘Careful Now My Son’ can be understood as an Americana companion song to our song, ‘Wounded Son’ on our 2019 album, Ghosts To Ancestors.”