Ordinary Elephant, whose forthcoming LP Honest is due out May 3rd via Berkalin Records, has revealed the video for their latest single "The War" via Folk Radio UK. "We’ve been very lucky to have featured some incredible songsmiths recently and that roll continues with this duo who are incredibly gifted storytellers," says Folk Radio's Alex Gallacher of the band. "They more thankably demonstrate this on 'The War,' which takes on both the travesty of what war does to service members and the tragedy of what society does to returning veterans. It also connects the dots between different kinds of trauma and loss. For the song’s protagonist, the war never ended.
WATCH: "THE WAR"
Inspired by a moving experience at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC, Ordinary Elephant considered those whose names weren't on the wall, the survivors who have struggled and continue to grapple with the after-effects of combat. “The narrator represents the majority of the population, in that he does not know, first-hand, the experience of war,” bandmember Crystal Hariu-Damore notes, “but the story shows him having compassion for this veteran and understanding that some choices are made for you and this can lead to an inability to make good choices for yourself down the line.”
Recorded in Nashville and produced by Neilson Hubbard, the album's eleven tracks explore pressing beyond the confines of others' expectations and pursuing a wholehearted life. "These times are hard and it’s harder to heal; when where you were born decides what you fear, it’s time to be a brother ot my father’s son. I was born to be a bigot, but that don’t mean that I am one," the duo, who won the 2017 International Folk Music Association Artist of the Year Award, sings in the album's lead single "Scars We Keep," about coming to terms with being raised in an area historically entrenched in racism, and refusing to be bound by that. "If you grow up being shown how to hate and fear, it can be hard to go out into the world with love and acceptance. This is sadly the truth that many live," the band told Wide Open Country in its premiere. "Where the hope comes in for us, is that as humans we are capable of being bigger than our environment, and that cycle can be broken. Detangling tradition from any particular negative aspect is complicated, and sometimes impossible. But it's necessary to change the tradition for it to live on and, hopefully, preserve its core as our culture tries to correct its failings." "I can't fault anybody not overcoming," Pete explains. "I'm not in their shoes. I know I can't change them by telling them they're wrong, but I do know that people can change when they see new things.”
WATCH: "SCARS WE KEEP"
LISTEN: "SCARS WE KEEP"
Ordinary Elephant, comprised of Crystal and Pete Damore, set aside the work they'd done previously, as a veterinary cardiologist and a computer programmer, respectively, in order to focus on making music. Several year ago, they threw all caution to the wind and hit the road in their van and travel trailer. In song after song, the Damores take on what it means to follow your heart and eschew all the expectations, assumptions, and limitations projected upon you by others. They also use their own life experience to point out that the “safe” route can be anything but safe. “I had a safe job and was on a safe life trajectory, financially,” Crystal says, “but those things were like a safety rail you reach for — a habit, a comfortable familiarity... something you’re expected to reach for. I was letting those things hold me up instead of learning to stand on my own.”
With Ordinary Elephant, it's always about telling the story in the truest, kindest way. “You will wonder if it’s worth the weight, the worry that wears you down. Half your life spent figuring out how to make the other half count,” they sing. Honest is worth so much more than its weight, and Ordinary Elephant makes every kind word count. “That is why we do this," they agree. "Songs speak, and they can heal.”
Oridinary Elephant will embark on a string of tour dates throughout the US and Australia this Spring, see below for more information. "The War" will be available for digital streaming on April 5th. Honest is available for pre-order at iTunes, Bandcamp, and at their website.