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w/ Will Hoge
On a base level, the term ‘blood harmony’ is simple—it describes the specific sound two siblings make when they sing together. Given that Dave Hause has been writing and recording songs with his younger brother Tim for a while now, it made sense to use that phrase as the title for his fifth solo record. But this being a Dave Hause album also means there’s much more to it than that. Beneath the surface of Blood Harmony, in fact, are multiple layers of meaning relating to Hause’s role as a musician, a brother, a husband, a son and—having become a father to twins a few months before the release of 2019’s Kick—a dad. As such, Blood Harmony is also a reassertion of what family means to him. Even more so because it’s coming out on the label owned by he and his brother. “I thought Blood Harmony was a great title” says Hause, “and really specific to how Tim and I have decided to work over the years. It also pertains to my children because they’ll have their own Blood Harmony. So the germ of the album, the beating heart, is that I’m in a true family. I have a grounded reason to work and a bunch of people that I want to make proud with the work that we do. It’s a family business.”
While nobody would say the quality of Hause’s previous albums was lacking, making Blood Harmony was nevertheless a concerted effort to ramp it up. And it does. It begins with “Northstar”, a tender paean to the direction, comfort and joy his wife and twins have given him that also drives home the emotional resonance and sense of family at the center of this album. It’s followed immediately by “Sandy Sheets”, a nostalgic trip into a past long-gone that references the Gin Blossoms’ “Hey Jealousy” in its chorus, and which sounds every bit as iconic as that track. The gorgeous, lilting, paradise of “Hanalai” captures that rare sense of peace when you’re with the person you love and nothing else matters, “Surfboard” injects some rare, good-natured humor into the trials and tribulations of being working class—something that remains, as ever, an undercurrent here—while “Carry The Lantern” and its life-affirming, almost Thin Lizzy-esque riffs double down Hause’s commitment to his sobriety and his family. “A lot of being an adult for me is recommitting to your better angels instead of chasing your own tail,” he says. “That song is about facing temptation but redoubling your efforts to stay committed to the higher things that compel us to be better.” It’s followed by the gorgeous album closer “Little Wings”. Hause calls it a post-script, but it resonates much more deeply and feels more significant than that. In fact, it ends the album the same way it begins—with a tender song for and about his twins that’s full of the purest love and hope. It’s impossible to not hear and feel just how much they and his whole family—that beating heart at the center of these songs—mean to him. It’s a truly beautiful thing.
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