Plenty of people head for Nashville or Austin or Brooklyn to reinvent themselves in the Americana scene. But for Sean Garvey, living the salt-of-the-earth lifestyle the genre so often espouses came naturally—his childhood ringing of some folksy tall-tale. He grew up helping his parents, pioneering Napa Valley winemakers, make their living off the land, and took his moniker, Obsidian Son, from the rock that abounds in the region. Eventually Garvey reclaimed his birthright and returned to his family’s vineyard, which he now runs with his wife, but he never left his love of songwriting far behind. In between tending to the harvest, raising a family and launching Revival Made, a line of wine and “products inspired by the land,” with his wife, he penned Obsidian Son, an honest account of his connection to the land he loves and the characters that sprang up around him, from his grandparents to migrant workers on the West Coast.
Today, Elmore is premiering “Better Days,” a track from the upcoming release. With a subtle, poetic touch, Garvey hints at the things we miss as we become increasingly entranced by an online reality—the smell of an old lover’s perfume, for example, a supercharged sensory memory that Facebook could never possibly translate or replace. Garvey creates a full-bodied sound (wine pun intended), with various orchestral elements dancing around each other spaciously to convey a natural soundscape, from the tinkle of keys to the swirling sound of a stream. His voice carries the welcoming, kind rasp of Jack Johnson in a slightly lower register, which he milks to strike a balance between longing and hope. “It’s not that I’m an old soul, I’m just still coming to terms with the digital age,” Garvey admitted to Elmore. “I miss the ceremony and the ritual of slower times. (Mostly I miss record stores and cover art.) But “Better Days” is more than sentimental longing. I want a song to shine a light on the dark corners and not shy away from showing every part of our humanity. It’s there, when things are broken, that we find real beauty.”