“As far as the world goes, everything is full of anxiety and uncertainty—everything is up in the air,” Dave Hause began. “But privately, here at home, it’s been a time of peace… err, I mean, actually we have toddlers, so every day is kinda wild…. But there’s peace in the fact that it’s just mom, dad, and the kids. I think my job during this time was just to keep light.”
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For a lot of folks, hunkering down at home during the quarantine last year—and bracing up for the uncertainty it entailed—meant a return to a more fundamental way of living… especially for families. For Philadelphia-born singer-songwriter, Hause, getting that extra time with the people he loves resulted in some beautifully meaningful reflections. Writing with his younger brother, Tim, the two Hauses crafted Blood Harmony, a stirring collection of 10 heart-warming tunes.
“We were definitely coming at it from that perspective like, “What is ours in this crazy world? What are the things we can celebrate?’” Hause explained. “Those themes were paramount, that’s what we wanted to write about.”
Listening to Blood Harmony from cover to cover, you can hear those themes loud and clear—from nostalgic reflections of the past to insightful observations on our world to thoughtful hopes and dreams for the future, there’s sentimentality and a sense of serious joy illuminating the tracks. Even the lead single—the summer-throwback anthem, “Sandy Sheets”—conveys the intentionality behind every word and note.
“We thought, ‘Let’s try writing a song for a younger self, someone who’s a little bit less jaded or something,’” Hause explained. “Once we had that thought, the lights turned on and I came up with that lyric ‘We were wild in the jersey heat/ You had “Hey Jealousy” on repeat/ We’d hide out on the beach/ Let me remember you when it was easy.’”
The Gin Blossoms reference is especially apt considering the stellar, ‘90s-influenced arrangements throughout Blood Harmony. With jangly guitar lines, a bright, snare-driven backbeat, and an alt-rock-esque delivery style, the album comes to life with 20th century charm and 21st century-quality fidelity. To this end, Hause was aided by an all-star list of collaborators.
For starters, the whole affair was produced by singer-songwriter Will Hoge, who assembled an A-team of players, including Brandi Carlile’s drummer Chris Powell, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band’s bassist Garry Tallent, guitarist Tom Bukovac, Jason Isbell’s guitarist Sadler Vaden, and keyboardists Billy Justineau (Eric Church, Brothers Osborne), Mike Webb (Chris Stapleton, John Prine), and Jen Gunderman (Sheryl Crow).
Even the Gin Blossoms themselves lent out a helping hand—they didn’t play on the record, but they helped share the word when “Sandy Sheets” first dropped this past July.
“Put Sandy Sheets on repeat from @hausedave. Thanks for the Hey Jealousy shout out in the chorus,” the band wrote.
“It was so cool—somehow, the Gin Blossoms were made aware of it and they put it up on their social media and their drummer reached out to me and everything… it was a trip!” Hause said. “The Gin Blossoms were a huge band when I was in my teens and 20s, they were all over the radio. ‘Hey Jealousy’ is one of those songs I’ve known since long before I was busy making music and knowing musicians and songwriters and all of that… so, to have them put their stamp of approval on it and ask their audience to listen to it was really crazy.”
Beyond the nostalgic reflections of “Sandy Sheets,” one of the most touching tracks on Blood Harmony is the closer, “Little Wings,” which is a bit like Hauses’ song written directly to his kids, candidly detailing some of his hopes and fears.
“I felt like it was a scary proposition—I knew I wanted to write a song about the kids, but I didn’t even know where to start that kind of thing,” he said. “It was anxiety-provoking… but then, I was reading ?uestlove’s book on creativity, which recommended that one way to get an idea when you’re stuck on something is to list everything you don’t want it to be. So, I made a list of all the things I don’t want to teach them. What you want to teach your kids is kinda hard to answer in big, capital letters—I don’t know, I want them to be compassionate, self-reliant… there are a million things. So, I made a list of what I definitely don’t want to teach them.”
With that newfound concept in mind, Hause put together a truly intimate and resonantly loving tune. “Once we got those lyrical ideas in place, we got a melody, which gave way to a chorus… it sorta ended up writing itself,” he said.
Now, with his era of isolation with his family coming to a bitter-sweet end, Hause is excited about everything that’s coming up next. “The future looks pretty good,” he said. “We’re sorta stumbling back into whatever ‘normal’ is going to be, but we’ve gotten to do a few promotional events and we’ll play some record stores and headlining shows—then, next year, we’re going to tour. After these last couple of years, these are the best-laid plans, but we’re all well aware that this could all change. But that’s enough for me! I’m really just excited for people to finally hear our creative endeavors.”
Dave Hause’s new album Blood Harmony is out now—listen to “Gary” below: