Fireside Collective sees hope on the horizon in “And The Rain Came Down”
With two singles for Mountain Home Music Company out in the fall of 2019, Western North Carolina’s Fireside Collective were looking forward to a calendar full of appearances to follow the March 2020 release of Elements, their first full-length project for the label — and to getting back into the studio to record more music, too. Needless to say, the global pandemic threw those plans into disarray, but after a long stretch of individual contemplation and collective soul-searching, the quintet have begun to make their way back to stages around the country, complete with brand-new music for their fans everywhere.
Written by singer and mandolinist Jesse Iaquinto, “And The Rain Came Down” makes plain that the group used their enforced time off — and the creative growth it engendered — to good effect. Indeed, the song reads easily as a meditation on the profound impact of the pandemic, as its narrator calls himself “a lost sailor on a rising tide…dreaming of a better day beyond the rain” before offering a poignant confession:
Oh, but I can’t seem to find
A place that I can hide
From the falling water washing over me
And while the song’s chorus is delivered in powerful three-part harmony, it’s more a description of the tempest’s effects than an offer of relief; the only glimmer of hope is in a “silver lining [that] shines like gold…on the other side of the storm.”
Iaquinto adds, “‘And the Rain Came Down’ is a song that explores the old adage ‘when it rains, it pours.’ It also takes a look at the worldwide shutdown and the effects of COVID through the lens of the biblical tale of the Great Flood. The sailor in the song journeys from the comforts of home into the mysterious depths of the ocean and encounters a storm of unprecedented proportions. Every day the floodwaters rise and the sun fails to break through the clouds, leaving the sailor despondent and searching for some sort of sign. Though the underlying mood of the song is lost and longing, there is a recognition that there is hope beyond the horizon even when it’s difficult to see through the challenges at hand.”
Despite its largely fraught message, “And The Rain Came Down” offers more than enough energy, creativity and virtuosity to make for a compelling piece of music. The ensemble — Iaquinto, Joe Cicero (guitar), banjoist Alex Genova, Tommy Maher (dobro) and bassist Carson White — delivers robust rhythms from the very first notes, with vivid solos from Maher and Genova and a distinctive interlude that features a wordless vocal trio (Iaquinto, Cicero and White) soaring over quiet yet intricate picking that builds to a climax before the song’s fittingly unresolved ending. From start to finish, it’s a track that grabs a listener’s attention and never lets go.
About Fireside Collective
A quintet who cheerfully disregard every kind of one-dimensional label that might be attached to their music, Fireside Collective has been on a roll since emerging from the fertile roots music scene of Asheville, North Carolina. In quick order, the progressive bluegrass group released its debut album, won the 2016 Band Contest at MerleFest, earned an International Bluegrass Music Association Momentum Band of the Year nomination and embarked on an ambitious touring schedule that’s earned an enthusiastic reception from traditional bluegrass to wide-ranging, eclectic music festival audiences alike.
Blending the characteristic interplay of bluegrass instrumentation and harmonies with strong original material and exuberant energy, Fireside Collective has drawn on folk, blues, funk and a wide variety of bluegrass sounds to create a distinctive body of work that’s all their own.
Each member—Joe Cicero (guitar); Alex Genova (banjo); Jesse Iaquinto (mandolin); Tommy Maher (resonator guitar) and Carson White (upright bass)— brings a strong, original voice to his instrument, and the unique contributions of different lead and harmony vocalists complement the variety in the group’s many original songs. “Depending on where you come from and your experience with folk music, you may think we’re very traditional, or on the other hand, consider us a progressive act,” says Iaquinto. “We appreciate both ends of the spectrum and may lie on a different end on any given night.” But whether they’re bringing the classic sound of bluegrass or exploring new musical territory, Fireside Collective delivers a fresh, energetic approach and a blast of enthusiastic creativity that’s electrifying audiences across the country.