“We’ve been on the road for 19 months,” says Forlorn Strangers’ Abigail Dempsey, riding in the backseat during the final stretch of a day-long drive from Maryland to middle Tennessee. Bandmates Benjamin Lusk and Hannah Leigh are in the car, too, while Chris Banke and Jesse Thompson – the final two members of the group – are back home in Nashville, gearing up for the group’s New Years Eve show. It’ll be the final gig of a year spent on the move, with the Strangers’ mix of harmony-heavy Americana and Laurel Canyon-inspired folk-pop leading the charge.
In the new video for “Leave It on the Ground,” though, Forlorn Strangers move at a slower pace. Directed by Bryce Morris, the clip finds Dempsey and Leigh walking the halls of a Nashville recording studio, eventually joining the band’s male contingent – including occasional Forlorn Strangers drummer Jonathan Smalt – for a simulated jam in the studio’s live room. There’s a woozy, leisurely feel to everyone’s movements, which Morris captured by speeding up the audio track, filming the band’s performance, then slowing down the video footage to match the original running time. It’s an age-old trick that still works its familiar magic well, turning this clip – the latest release from the band’s self-titled debut – into an out-of-time tribute to overcoming trials, moving forward and leaving one’s baggage behind.
“I think people tend to carry certain things with them throughout life, and that’s not always necessary,” explains Dempsey, who wrote the song after learning about the death of a friend’s parent during an afternoon jog along the Cumberland River. “It’s ok to just leave your burdens somewhere. It’s ok to move on.”
“The song represents a transitional point for us,” adds Lusk, who shares songwriting duties with his four bandmates. “We’ve been a bit string band-y in the past, and moving ahead, we’d love to have more Laurel Canyon in the mix. A little Fleetwood Mac. A little Laurel Canyon. We’re very influenced by all that classic West Coast stuff, and we like to mold that with the traditional Southern music we grew up with.”