It’s easy to conjure the forlorn with the sound of a pedal steel. It’s a little harder to conjure glowing warmth as well. But Los Angeles’ the Battlefield have the singular gift of imbuing the beautiful sadness of the country weeper with the souful resolve of the Americana singalong.
Nowhere is the Battlefield’s signature style and talent more striking than on “Into The Smoke And Maze,” set to appear on their forthcoming album, Tipping Point (due out July 10). In stately 6/8 time, the band make fantastic use of space in the verses—putting the pedal steel alongside the beautifully brittle gravel of lead singer Matt Ducey’s voice—before heading straight to your heart with the expertly interwoven harmonies of the chorus.
Fittingly, the band achieved this sound with some real-life inspiration. In Ducey’s own words:
“This song was written in the car while driving from San Francisco to L.A. The drive was really hard because a big part of me didn’t want to go back to L.A. where I’d been living for over a decade. I was struggling. I felt burnt out and confused about the direction my life was taking. I missed the scenic beauty of Northern California where I had grown up. L.A.’s vast urban sprawl of freeways & roads, the smog and all of my seemingly hopeless wandering through life in that landscape led me to the phrase: “Why do I go into the smoke & maze?” We all have moments of doubt and difficulty in our lives, having to make choice, having to make changes, questioning the path we’re on and feeling a little lost and lonely but knowing you’ve got to keep moving forward. This song comes from the angst within us during those times.”