Singer-songwriters and twin brothers, Rich and Rob Kwait, have performed as Cabin Dogs since the early 2000s and will release their latest LP, On The Creek, May 12th. The thirteen song album is the duo’s sixth full length release and was recorded in a cabin between Lake Cayuga and Lake Seneca in upstate New York. Based in the Greater Philadelphia area, the brothers have escaped to the same house in this secluded location every six months or so over a three-year period (including the pandemic) to work on the music that became On The Creek. “The songs on this record have a bittersweet quality. There's darkness, but never a loss of hope” explains Rob. “There’s also a theme of keeping it simple… that life might be tough, but you just gotta get home for supper time.”
“Usually, we need to get away to create as we find that it not only helps us focus, and hash things out in our own way, but it also solidifies the batch of songs,” Rob says. “We feel invested in the songs, as they embody the experience of leaving our day to day lives. There’s a mind-trick at play. For the time we are away, we can think of ourselves as different people or different versions of ourselves. It helps us create and inhabit the characters of the songs."
On The Creek was produced by the Kwait Brothers and features performances from drummer Ron DiSilvestro, pedal and lap steel player, Isaac Stanford, mandolin player, Adam Monaco, pianist David Streim, keyboardist John Hildenbrand and vocalist, Christina Kubiak. Rich Kwait is responsible for most of the lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, percussion, piano and organ, while Rob handles vocals, bass, banjo and percussion. The album was recorded at the Bee House on Taughannock Creek (Trumansburg, NY) and at The Cabin (Merion Station, PA) with mixing by Ron DiSilvestro of RDS Music, and mastering by Phil Nicolo of Studio 4.
Of On the Creek, Rob explains, “There is a lot of underlying sentiments of loneliness and yearning and time slipping away in these songs... of mortality and do-over. Mid-life themes where you are looking back but still looking forward, kind of caught in the middle. We try to dress the songs in pleasant sounds and colors, but there's some darkness and dread mixed in.”
On The Creek kicks off with the upbeat and contemplative, “Everybody Loves the Sun.” “I think the music evokes the open land,” says Rich. "It's a feeling of freedom, but there's always a darkness looming. The sun does go down and lightness does turn dark."
The gentle “Grover” is uplifted with harmonica, banjo, lap steel and the brothers’ backing harmonies. “The end is a promise to yourself or perhaps to your love that if you have the chance again, you’ll do it right. You won’t fool around.”
“Creekside Woman” evokes Harvest era Neil Young. “Ironically, when I listen to this song now, I don’t think it’s about a woman at all,” says Rich. “For me it’s about the creek itself and how you might love it and it loves you back when you come see her. It wasn’t written with that in mind but sometimes, another meaning reveals itself later.”
“Wolves” is a country-tinged folk-rock song inspired by a family of foxes living by the creek. “It’s about the power of having someone by your side, even when things get tough” explains Rich.
The brothers love of the Grateful Dead shines through on “Make it On Time” – a song “about taking stock, wondering if it’s too late to change or feel young again and ultimately relying on faith and love to get you through doubt and despair.”
As Rob sings, "the skies are getting dark on the countryside, but I can find my way here back to you."
“Rolling Over Me” and “M. Moon” both explore different types of love. The former of romantic love seen through the trappings of daily life, and the latter of the newness and hope renewed when springtime rolls around each year.
“I Believe in Something” is a slightly whimsical commentary on what happens when there’s a lack of trust, while “Country Space,” sets a scene, "like a painting," says Rich, “and puts a character in there. Perhaps the guy feels restless, torn between the idea of finding something better and embracing the beauty of his home and the folks he loves.”
The gentle and sparse “Sunsetter,” conveys a sense of longing for a love that's far away or maybe at risk of leaving too soon. “Suppertime” attempts to help a troubled friend by reminding them of simple things in life and “Kitchen Door” wonders if an unplanned visit may be the way to a potential love interest’s heart.
The album closes with the driving “Indian Fort” – named for a road near the upstate cabin. “As you can imagine there was probably once a Native American fort or house located off this road,” says Rich. “The song turns into a tale about a guy lost on the road who’s taken in by a girl and falls in love.
A lost Native American spirit appears signifying that their love is true. The tag of the song is a reflection on the project itself, and how the songs call to you and ultimately lead you safely home."
Based outside of Philadelphia and upstate New York, Cabin Dogs blends original American country roots with 70s grooves. Led by twin brothers, Rich and Rob, who got their start listening to Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead while playing wiffle ball in front of their parent’s house, Cabin Dogs has released five records (including two under the Kwait Brothers Band) and have played stages that include Newport Folk Festival and Philadelphia Folk Festival. They will play select dates in support of On The Creek.
Don’t Miss Cabin Dogs Live!
May 21 The Music Salon Presented by Andrea Clearfield Philadelphia, PA
June 3 Bryn Mawr Concert Series at the Gazebo Bryn Mawr, PA*
June 24 Battleship NJ Craft Brewers Festival Camden, NJ
August 1 White’s Road Park Concert Series Lansdale, PA
*supporting Lucy Kaplansky