In the 2018 Coen Brothers’ film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, an aged gold prospector (played by Tom Waits) weathers the elements in search of “The Pocket,” a fabled mineral vein of limitless gold. He ultimately finds it, but not without incident. This scenario provides an easy metaphor of the music industry for Nashville’s Americana and indie folk band Lake & Lyndale whose new alternate video “Still Here – Live At the Cabin” premieres here on American Songwriter.
In the old days before American Idol and The Voice ushered instant fame, bands often had to earn their audience by slugging through endless tours and a largely unsympathetic music industry. No strangers to this toil, Lake & Lyndale paid their dues the hard and authentic way with blood, sweat and tears and made it to their other side.
“We were watching [Buster Scruggs], specifically the vignette with a persistent gold miner,” explains vocalist Channing Marie. “Seeing that helped spark the opening lines [to our song]– ‘I can’t say for certain that there’s any gold left in these hills / Perseverance pays, or so they say / And I just pray that it will.’ We could relate with the persistence it takes when one is trying to achieve a specific goal or chase a dream.”
With their latest single, their dreams are beginning to manifest… but again, not without hard work and persistence. “We were thinking about our personal journey in the music industry and kinda laughed at all the weird and difficult situations we’ve been thrown along the way,” she reflects. “Through all the chaos, we still love making music together and have come to appreciate the madness. We wanted this song to remind people to persevere through the tough times and be a song of encouragement.”
A sweeping song that kicks off with Jonathan Krentz’s gentle acoustic guitar but quickly switches to a searing electric once the rhythm section kicks in, “Still Here” showcases Marie’s dexterous vocals which command the stage, proving to be a formidable centerpiece. Molded by GRAMMY®-nominated producer Jon Estes (Kesha, Mara Connor, Natalie Prass), “Still Here” brims with a richness and vibrancy that their earlier tracks “There’s A Weight” and “Today Ain’t It” only hinted at.
“We recorded ‘Still Here’ a little South of Nashville at [Jon’s] home studio,” she says of the single. “We completely lucked out big time by finding him. He is such an incredible person, musician, and producer. He completely embraces the sound we are going for. He is full of ideas and has such an amazing ear for what each song calls for.”
The intimate performance of this home-spun video captures the band in a stirring and soulful session that highlights their tight precision and synergy. In its midst, the message of perseverance shines through. “I know I touched on this earlier, but we want this song to bring some encouragement; to remind everyone that many challenges come with tackling goals or chasing a dream,” she adds, reciting the lyrics “Each night the wolves howl / And I scream back so they think I feel no fear.”
Filmed in a single take, this is a testament to their solidity as a band who has managed trying to make it in the music industry. “We have felt that sense of uncertainty and almost ‘fear’ at times during our journey,” she explains, feeling like that miner in Buster Scruggs, holdinga nugget of raw gold. “We just hope people are encouraged to persevere through the crap and stand firm in who they are and what they are trying to achieve. The goal is to continue to write; to continuously progress, and to write songs that hopefully connect and make people feel something. As a band, our main goals are to keep putting out honest music and travel as much as possible playing that music.”