"We formed in 2004 in Eugene, Ore., while we were all attending college for various degrees we never used or even completed," writes The Parson Red Heads' bandleader Evan Way in the latest version of his band's bio. After 13 years, Way is reflective—on being young and dumb (on numerous occasions) and the growth of his band and family (the husband-and-wife team of Way and Brette Marie—drummer and harmony singer—have three kids now!)—as he's come to the realization that "the Parsons can’t just stop playing, can’t stop making records and singing our songs for people. I don’t think we could stop if we wanted to! It’s too much a part of who we are."
That's why June 9 will see the Portland folk five-piece celebrate the release of their fourth full-length studio album, out on Fluff & Gravy Records. ("We've had so many EPs and special releases in between those, hard to keep count!" Way exclaims.)
"'Please Come Save Me,' the lead-off track from Blurred Harmony, is a good representation of the overall lyrical and conceptual direction of the album," Way explains. "Floating along in a cosmic Americana haze, driven by chiming Telecaster and a pedal steel twang, it tackles the topic of nostalgia and memory, how we deal with our past and the decisions we've made, by either facing them or running from them."
Recorded from December 2015 to January 2016, "We tracked it on our own, at our homes—a lot of it was tracked at my house, with many overdubs tracked at Sam's house [lead guitarist and oft-songwriter Sam Fowles], in his basement studio," Way says. "It was a really fun, challenging and educational experience tracking a record like that." Then mixing was done at Bungalow 9 Recording Studio by Danny O'Hanlon, who Way credits with taking the album to another level and bringing "a new life with his mixing."
"It is an album that isn’t just about our past, looking back over our lives, relationships and experiences; it is an album driven and created by all of those relationships, those experiences, and it wouldn’t exist without them," Way says.
And the slice-of-life video, assembled by bass player Robbie Augspurger, that accompanies "Please Come Save Me" is a travelogue of the band's 2016 tour in Spain—the perfect glimpse into the family band that is The Parson Red Heads.