Ivan & Alyosha Break down ‘Labor On’ EP With Track-by-Track

Ivan & Alyosha first burst through the door of the music world with their 2013 debut album ‘All The Times We Had,’ and then followed it up with 2015’s ‘It’s All Just Pretend.’ The band toured extensively around those releases, supporting Brandi Carlile, The Head & The Heart, Delta Spirit, and a lot more.

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Suffice it to say, that the group was able to carve our less time for creativity and realized that a change of pace was needed. So, the fivesome — brothers Tim and Pete Wilson, Ryan Carbary, Tim Kim, and Cole Mauro – decided to take a slight break from the day-to-day demands of Ivan & Alyosha to regroup creatively and also spend time with their young families.

With that time and freedom came perspective and inspiration, and during a gathering at Mauro’s house last year, drinking beer around a fire pit and swapping these new song ideas, they came to realize two things: one, they felt a new urge to create together; and two, that they didn’t have to go about it all in the same old ways.  

Back and better than ever, the group is set to fully drop a limited release EP tomorrow, May 8, ‘Labor On.’

As an exclusive to AmericanSongwriter readers, they did a track-by-track of the four songs to introduce the backstory of the tracks.

Labor On
This was one of those rare moments where the song only took about ten minutes to write. At that point, it’s hard to take credit as a songwriter, because it came from somewhere else. It draws from old language that relates spiritual and emotional strength to working in the field. Knowing that if you toil over the land in front of you, something beautiful will be there at the end.  – Pete

You That Carries Me
“You That Carries Me” was written by a fire pit at a house just north of Seattle (as many of them are). It was originally written about my wife, but the real heart behind it is knowing that the love of your life can and will carry you through anything. True love isn’t running free, true love isn’t unshackled, true love is knowing you are bound to the one whose comfort is always there for you. This song was pretty immediate for the five of us, an early favorite as the band regrouped a few years back to write, rehearse and record again after some time away. – Pete   

Hangin On         
“Hangin On” came out of a confusing and frustrating time in my life.  I’d tried and failed, I was tired and hurting but didn’t necessarily want to admit it.  I had the idea for the song for a while before I wrote it down but it felt a little too gnarly, honest and exposed to ever want to share it. I finally did when I was encouraged by another artist to be brutally honest, and that honesty is actually the root of a great song.  In both life and art, the things we fear most to admit are the things that allow the deepest connection, it seems. I think Hangin On speaks to something we all go through.  What happens when all of our dreams blow up in our face and fail us? What happens when we get what we want but it wasn’t enough, or it wasn’t what we thought?  Hard as it was, this is a song I’m incredibly proud of. – Tim

“Doves” started as an instrumental song that Ryan was working on, and Pete stepped in to write the melodies and lyrics.  It’s a different kind of love song that was intended to be a meaningful anniversary present for Pete’s wife, Audrey. The song speaks to both one’s personal growth and the journey in a relationship.  It’s a song about growing up and growing old, together.  It’s a song about not holding back.  Despite our faults and failures, through years and change, ups and downs, wins and losses, when we give love, grace and forgiveness freely to those around us, even ourselves, we really find the heartbeat of what it means to be human.  I love the line “No longer a child, let the flower grow, let the broken heal, the things held tightly I let go.” I can remember when Ryan & Pete showing the band this song for the first time, I was inspired from the moment I heard it. – Tim

If you dig what you hear, support the band with a purchase of their tunes or swag.

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