Eric Halborg of Denver’s alt-rock outfit Dragondeer sees songs as mantras to one’s self. Their latest incantation, “Patient Boy,” resonates well beyond Halborg’s (vocals, guitarist, harmonica) personal life. The hypnotic track exhibits the psychedelic side of their retro-blues influence. “This one is letting me know that I have patience in the face of getting smacked around by the world a bit,” Haloborg tells American Songwriter about “Patient Boy.”
Infused with soul, the funk-oriented anthem was born while Halborg was strumming through a traditional blues progression on acoustic guitar. The artist always writes his best work late into the evening, when he is “perhaps a little sleep deprived where the walls of reason have stopped trying to make sense of anything in particular and there’s a pure conduit from the subconscious to the pen.”
“Patient Boy” is no exception to this creative process. In the wee hours of the morning after a night out in Denver, Halborg returned to an acoustic riff on his guitar he’d been tweaking for several weeks. “The rabbit popped out of the hat and a melody and the lyrics in full came out of me,” he recalls. “I woke with the guitar on my chest and the beginnings of a new song in my phone’s VoiceMemos archive.”
Halborg delivered the skeletal structure of the song to the band—Cole Rudy (guitar, vocals), Carl Sorensen (drums), and Casey Sidwell (bass). In the Color Red studio, they proceeded to add a “looped shimmy and some funk” to the song before recording it live to the studio’s eight-channel Tascam 388 ¼ inch tape machine. During the tracking, Cassey Russel (The Magic Beans) added the Hammond B3 organ and Will Trask (Highhawks) added percussion. Eddie Roberts—the label head at Color Red and funk guitar maestro behind England’s The New Mastersounds—produced the track.
Lyrically, the songwriting pleads with a higher power to instill patience towards a society the subject feels is closing in on him. How many lessons I gotta learn? /
What do I gotta get my nose rubbed into / to be a little free of the man? Halborg recites in the third verse. The palpable energy of the live tracked tune evokes such deliverance.
“I’m shouting out questions to the ether as to how many times I have to take it on the chin and how much bullshit do I have to deal with to taste a bit of freedom,” says Halborg. “No answers back of course, and if there was I’d imagine the answer would be a never-ending barrage of it. In the end, the song is a celebration of having patience and resilience in the face of life’s trails.”
Pondering the questions of the universe through boundless sonic exploration is what drives Dragondeer in their pioneering artistry. For Halborg specifically, the self-discovery garnered through the songwriting process is his reason for returning to the practice day after day.
“I’m often surprised what comes out when I sit down to write,” he shares. “There are feelings and world visions that can be just below the surface of one’s consciousness that I believe reveal themselves to the writer during the writing process. I feel like when you tap into the core of your own universal truths there’s a likelihood that those sentiments can connect with your listener and that communion between writer and audience is an edifying and rewarding two-way street.”
Dragondeer recently collaborated with Jackson Hole’s Roadhouse Brewing Co. to introduce the Mountain Jam Vol. 7 (7.4% ABV)—the latest in its ongoing series of musically inspired brews. The beer debuted in Breckenridge in tandem with the single release in late August.
“We worked closely with the band to create the Mountain Jam 7 recipe, and the result is a 7.4% hazy IPA that leads with notes of dragonfruit, strawberry, and mango; a delightful pungency credit to a blend of experimental and famed hop varietals,” says Brewmaster Max Shafer. “In addition to ripe and luscious fruit flavors, the brew features a pleasantly lingering, low bitterness making it complex but approachable.”
Halborg designed the artwork for the can wrap. Check out more information about the Mountain Jam 7 and Dragondeer’s upcoming releases and shows, here.
Listen to Dragondeer’s “Patient Boy” below.
Photo Credit: Scott McCormick