The upcoming full-length self-titled release from Dallas singer-songwriter John Pedigo's new outfit, Pedigo's Magic Pilsner, may feature characters whose situations seem bleak; yet it ultimately emanates hope, focusing on embracing the varied parts of life, both the unsavory and the sweet, with a welcome dose of realism and wit. From the story of the stand-up comic ("The Comedian") to the surprisingly sing-along-able tale of divorce ("Garage Sale"), Pedigo's tunes blend astutely crafted, detailed lyrics with accents of bright horns, banjo, and driving drums all of which are held anchored by the classic coupling of acoustic guitar and keys.
Today, TDC is incredibly excited to premiere the project's opening track, "Orion." Launching with the call of a siren, and slightly ominous banjo, the piano-led "Orion" is all at once complex, ethereal, elegant, and substantive; provoking thought about the choices and situations in daily life, and accepting the fact you have to accept difficulties and carry on, perhaps even with a newfound sense of optimism.
Pedigo had this to say about the track, "Orion is a thematic overture. It questions quandaries like the futility and repetition of daily life, fate vs. chance, loneliness, faith, faithlessness, and abandonment. There are a few pieces of ‘furniture’ throughout the song: The constellation Orion is a sad reminder of things that seemingly never change. You have a gypsy who relies on cards to determine her future, but isn’t that just chance? There’s a stranded man who is lost and calling out for help. In the end, you need to let go of the negative and move forward, but it’s not easy. Again, these themes are returned to throughout the album. This is, of course, what it means to me. I’m sure that everyone who listens to it will interpret it in their own way, and that is what’s really important. It’s a heavy song to me that’s obscured in a way."
Listen to, and share, the track above, then read on as John answers the rest of the Essential 8 and shares the inspiration behind the song, what he considers his biggest struggle thus far, and more!
What were some influences that inspired the song?
I really just wanted to open the album with a song that bridges the gap from The O’s to the solo album with the banjo...and it had to start with a siren, which was a doubled theremin! The inspiration was really 2016-17 and the overwhelming “what does it all mean?” that has been causing all kinds of anxiety and hullabaloo in my world. Between my dad passing and his business, I’ve been generally overwhelmed and in a bad place. Orion abstractly addresses these issues.
Do you have any funny/interesting stories about recording this song or the album as a whole?
I guess this is darkly funny. Most of this record was done in solitude in the B room at Audio Dallas. We tracked the drums and a couple of other things in the big room, but the rest I mostly tinkered with by myself. One day, my wife sent me a message - asking how it was going. My response was, “There’s nothing more lonely than doing twelve clap tracks by yourself.” So there’s that. You can hear the claps in all their glory on ‘No Better Than You.’
What have you found to have been your biggest struggle so far?
Waiting for the record to come out. We can’t wait to take this thing out on the road. It’s been a long process both professionally and personally. I initially hoped it would have dropped by now. I’m having to be patient. At the same time, this was an extremely emotional album for me to make. So, there’s a general need to get this all off my chest and hopefully move forward from it.
What’s your favorite venue and why?
It’s a 3-way tie: Dan’s Silverleaf in Denton, TX. Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown, CA. The Griffen in Glasgow, Scotland. Dan’s is an absolute blast - I’ve never had a bad time there - regardless of turnout or whatever. Pappy’s is a magical place - if you’ve been there, then you know - there’s nothing else like it. The Griffen is a total party and Bobsy the owner is straight up crazy and awesome.
Do you have a favorite gift from a fan?
This isn’t necessarily a gift, but I really like getting to know fans - seeing folks again and again and knowing them. There’s a lot to be thankful for in this business, that may be the biggest take away. An actual gift? I’m pretty easy - Miller Lite and Jameson.
Have you met any of your heroes? If so, how did it go?
A long while back, I was asked by the Dallas Observer to interview Frank Black and write an article. It was extremely intimidating. I know nothing about interviewing. I usually just tell bad jokes. And I’m not a writer like you - I’m a song-maker-upper. I had my friend Knox Peden join me - also not a journalist in any sense. After a few missteps in the beginning, he was a great dude with a lot of insight. We talked for over 30 minutes. It was very very very cool! The Observer never asked me to do it again though. [insert frowny face]
Is there one recent release you cannot stop listening to?
Oh man, Spotify has generally only encouraged my obsessing over new stuff. Also, my bandmate in the O’s and I have a radio show every Friday afternoon - 95.3 KHYI from 4-6pm in north Texas if you’re interested in listening - so I’m constantly looking for things to play on it. The Pils are about to play a show with Susto and Esme Patterson so I’m currently crash-coursing them so I can fully enjoy the night. But you know, it all depends on the day - a lot of the time I’m listening to the music I’m working on - Vandoliers and Trey Johnson have had some heavy rotation. Get your ears ready for this new artist I’m producing named Joshua Walker - he’s a badass. His demos and work tapes are what I can’t stop listening to.
Born around the illness and loss of his father from cancer, Pedigo set out to make a record with songs that would, in their own way, honor and entertain his dad. With Pedigo’s Magic Pilsner, named after an infamously bad batch of homebrew that his dad actually concocted in the kitchen sink, Pedigo explores what-does-it-all-mean questions, processing feelings of deep loss and a sense of optimism about life and the possibilities that come our way.
Look for Pedigo's Magic Pilsner to be released in 2018.
For more information