Chuck Ragan Returns with First New Music in Seven Years, “Echo the Halls”

We break from the lies into pieces / To sweep up the mess and gather all we’ve left growls Chuck Ragan on the roughened roots-forged “Echo the Halls,” while hammering in the narrative of a love in danger of slipping away.

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“Echo the Halls’ is a simple love story of two unhinged souls searching for a light at the end of a tunnel,” said Ragan in a statement of the single, which marks the first new music from the Hot Water Music vocalist since scoring the soundtrack to the 2016 videogame The Flame in the Flood.

“Many of the songs that I discover and gravitate to stem from love and reflection,” added Ragan. “That said, love and reflection isn’t always pleasant and often at times painful. Songwriting to me has always been about looking deeper into myself to overcome my faults and dark sides. Whether I find them myself or learn of them from loved ones.

Produced by Ragan and Todd Beene, and engineered by Ryan Williams at Black Bear Studios in Gainesville, Florida, “Echo the Halls” also features Beene on guitar and pedal steel, bassist Spencer Duncan, and Hot Water Music bandmate and drummer George Rebelo.

Prior to working on The Flame in the Flood, Ragan started transitioning into working on video games by the mid-2000s, beginning with Guitar Hero in 2005 and Rock Band 2 in 2008. He also served as art director for the 2007 game BioShock and BioShock Infinite in 2013.

Ragan released his fourth solo album Till Midnight in 2014 and has continued making music with Hot Water Music, from the folk-punk rockers’ 1997 debut Fuel for the Hate Game through their most recent 2022 release Feel the Voice.

“It’s a blessing and a privilege to stand on stage and play music for people,” said Ragan. “I meet so many folks out there, and they’re so hospitable and so kind and say such nice things to me about the songs. The support and the energy that I get from them is what makes it possible for me to keep doing this.

And when I’m there and in that moment, it’s important to me to give it back to them as strongly as they’re giving it to me.”

Photo: Phil D’Auria / Courtesy of Reybee Inc.

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