NEW YORK CITY (June 5, 2023) – Brewflies release their cover of Iris DeMent’s “My Life” on June 20. The song is the concluding track of the band’s album “Rain Down Mercy,” due out August 11. The song’s theme that the smallest human gestures of grace, compassion, and love can be enormously significant is a central message of an album conceived as a response to the collision of events and emotions of the last three years.
“My Life,” on the surface, is a frank appraisal of human inadequacy: “My life, well, it don’t count for nothin’, when I think of this world, I feel so small.” It echoes the stark reality that any individual “ordinary” life leaves a momentary footprint on a vast shoreline that sweeps all human pretension and aspiration clear with the next wave. “My life is only a season; a passing September that no one will recall.”
Nevertheless, the song’s chorus asserts, despite common human insignificance and transience, the least of us are capable, just by the mere fact of our being, of bringing joy, contentment, and comfort to those close to us. And that may very well be sufficiently redemptive—may make a world, even in the midst of the plagues of a pandemic, racial animosity, political lies, and war, “seem better, for a while.”
When Brewflies were working on building the song choices for the album’s narrative arc, they hit a wall of frustration and despair over the enormity of the political, social, and medical horrors of what everyone was living and trying to work through. Larry Brittain says, “I stumbled again on Dement’s poignant tune that perfectly expressed this, and it provided the impetus for pushing ahead and finishing the recording. The song, better than anything I’ve ever come across, highlights the simple common acts of everyday kindness, empathy, and love that can make each one of us a ‘hero’ for each other in the most mundane circumstances as well as the most dire.”
The song’s lyrics are monumentally symbolic in their literalness. Perhaps the most symbolic word in the song is “it”: “I can make it seem better, for a while.” “It” is universal–from a hot and sticky night, to a dropped ice cream cone, to a fruitless political effort, to a pandemic, to the astounding capacity for human cruelty and barbarism.
“This song,” Brittain says, “became the perfect coda to an album we hoped would reflect everyone’s fears, tears, and shared groping for release.”
The song features Billy Clockel on bass, Larry Brittain on acoustic guitar and lead vocals, Gary Oleyar on fiddle, Prof. Louie on accordion, and E’lissa Jones on cello and background vocals
The album documents Brewflies Covid-19 experience through interpretations of noteworthy songs representing the period. Artists represented on the album include Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Mary Gauthier, and three original songs by their musical soulmate and collaborator, Michael Veitch.
– Larry (Lars) Brittain—lead electric and acoustic guitars, rhythm guitars, lead and harmony vocals
– Billy Clockel—String bass, electric bass, acoustic Guild bass.
– Kirsti Gholson—Lead and harmony vocals
– Jeff Schmich—Mandolin, lead and harmony vocals
-Dan Hickey–Drums and percussion
-Professor Louie–piano and organ
-Joshua Pearl –piano and organ
-Tony Trischka–banjo on “Above the Rain” and “Fortunate Son”
-E’lissa Jones–cello on “My Life”
– Additional background vocals arranged by Kirsti Gholson, E’lissa Jones, and Aaron Hurwitz.
-Marie Spinosa (Miss Marie) joined Professor Louie with her powerful harmonies on “Johnny 99.”
-Grammy winner Lisa Gutkin plays violin in “Mercy Now.”
“Rain Down Mercy” Track Listing
- For What It’s Worth—(Buffalo Springfield–Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Richie Furay)
- Anything Is Possible–(Michael Veitch)
- Mercy Now–(Mary Gauthier)
- Johnny 99–(Bruce Springsteen)
- Above the Rain–(Michael Veitch)
- I Ain’t Got No Home–(Woody Guthrie)
- Fortunate Son–(Creedence Clearwater Revival…John Fogerty)
- Why Worry Now–(Mark Knopfler…Don and Phil Everly, Chet Atkins)
- Wait–(The Beatles…John Lennon and Paul McCartney)
- Who Are You Redbird?–(writers Beth Husband and Milan Miller)
- Those Memories (of You Still Haunt Me–(writer Alan O’Bryant)
- Try, Try, Try–(Michael Veitch)
- The Rumor–(The Band…Robbie Robertson)
- New Morning–(Bob Dylan)
- My Life–(Iris DeMent)
About the Brewflies
Brewflies’ roots run deep. Over the 40+ years the Brewflies members have been together in various musical projects, their musical tastes have changed, but none were ever left behind. Larry Brittain, Billy Clockel, and Jeff Schmich officially formed Brewflies in 1994 as an acoustic bluegrass trio. Early on, the British invasion bands, particularly the Beatles, were important. So were the Motown sounds, the emerging horn bands of the ‘70s, and folk and country artists who guided their musical approach and sound. When the Brewflies recorded their first album, “On The Fly,” in 2008, the band started experimenting with a newgrass sound and integrated more folk-rock, jazz, and Latin-Caribbean tilts. Their former collaboration, The Jumbo String Band, appeared with groups including the Lonesome River Band, Del McCory Band, Red Clay Ramblers, Tony Trischka and Skyline, and the Seldom Scene. They were featured with Tom Chapin (Harry Chapin’s brother) in a benefit concert for the Roots music radio programs at WFDU college radio. They also performed at the last Nyon Festival in Switzerland, which featured The Beach Boys, The Pogues, and Chuck Berry.