After a decade of waiting, Sevendust fans can hear acoustic music once more. From Nashville, Tennessee, Lajon Witherspoon (lead vocals), joins Clint Lowery (guitar/vocals), Morgan Rose (drums/vocals), John Connolly (guitar/vocals), and Vince Hornsby (bass) to create the recent acoustic album titled Time Travelers & Bonfires. It features fresh versions of favorite Sevendust music, as well as highlighting new songs written specifically for this project. Making this collection was a collaborative effort with Sevendust aficionados and the musicians.
Fans are the driving force behind crowd funded music projects. Sevendust enthusiasts have been clamoring for a new all-acoustic album since Southside Double Wide was released ten years ago, so it was only fitting that they would be a part of the new collection. Turning to Pledge Music, the band was able to bring fans in the studio to help with the entire recording process. Witherspoon enjoyed the participation, stating, “I feel that (Pledge Music) was a chance to take it away from the machine and let our beautiful family out there fund this album”. He went on to say that, funding aside, it was an opportunity for supporters to participate in the development of the album and provided a closer connection through the rewards. Some fans received pages of hand written lyrics, others had Sevendust play live at their homes. It was an experience that benefits both sides, because the album is the best of Sevendust acoustic music.
Acoustic does not mean unplugged. On the new release, Time Travelers & Bonfires, acoustic music reaches a whole new level. The songs are full production with exciting electronic influences in the mix. It is definitely acoustic, but the songs are not stripped down or unplugged. Witherspoon explains, “I feel like it kind of plays on the time travelers, because what we did was took these old songs and brought them back to life. Those things just fit. We turned it up and put some fire under it.” By adding piano, keyboards and more, Sevendust offers a new and original type of acoustic performance that makes their current tour a ‘must see’ event.
Music that a person can relate to is unforgettable. Lyrics from the song “The Wait” addresses the loss of Connolly’s father. The words say, “Close the door and let it be/Our time will come, forever is a day/Let it go/Let it go”. Unfortunately, the loss of a loved one is a heartache that most people must face, but the memories that remain can carry us through our grief. Another song, “Angel’s Son” is one Witherspoon never tires of performing. Here, the tragic end of a life cut short is found in the lyrics, “I know you never said goodbye/I had so much left to say/One last song/Given to an Angel’s Son/As soon as you were gone”. Unexpected loss leaves us feeling that there was more to be said or done, sometimes a feeling that there is unfinished business. By sharing their own experiences, Sevendust pays musical tribute to everyone who has lost a loved one.
It’s all about the family. Sevendust takes family seriously. It is a predominant theme in many of their songs and their audiences feature family members who share a penchant for Sevendust music. They played to a packed house in Cleveland, Ohio, and the live performance was inspiring. It seemed as though each person in the crowded room had a Sevendust story to tell. A young man, who brought his mother to the show, remarked that he grew up listening to her Home and Animosity records. Another man standing nearby shared that Chapter VII: Hope & Sorrow helped him through high school. I am drawn to both sides of Sevendust. The acoustic version is passionate and compelling. The heavy rock sound is perfect for hot Summer nights when you just want to party. Witherspoon has a distinctive voice, easily recognizable in acoustic or heavy rock music, making it impossible to choose one or the other. Lucky for me there is room on my playlist for both.