It’s easy to hear the bluegrass origins of Seattle band Western Centuries when they harmonize on the line “oh my darling” in the new “Every Time It’s Raining.” But the song, off the upcoming album Call the Captain, also shows how truly diverse this roots group is: There are elements of Muscle Shoals R&B in the guitar line, funk in the backbeat, and soul in singer Ethan Lawton’s pained delivery.
Western Centuries premiere a video for the track today, in which its members look like gang-member extras in Peaky Blinders. But the vibe works — like in that Netflix series, the tone of the video is bleak and ominous, perfectly complementing the despair in Lawton’s lyrics.
“‘Every Time It’s Raining’ is a song about hopelessness. About how sometimes we find ourselves in situations where the pain of your problems and the pain in your prospective solutions are one in the same,” he says. “When I wrote this song I was nursing my wounds at the end of a long relationship. I was binge watching the old PBS documentary series about New York City and thinking about how simultaneously optimistic and terrifying the city must have felt to millions of emigrants that have shown up hoping to start a new life there. When you find yourself in a situation that is so dire that the only thing left to do is leave everything behind and start over. Though, obviously, a broken heart is no equivalent to the plight of the emigrant, but that feeling of helplessness and hopelessness is what I’m trying to relate in this song.”
Lawtown and singer-songwriters Cahalen Morrison and Jim Miller, a founding member of Donna the Buffalo, make up the core of Western Centuries, who will release their third album, Call the Captain, on April 3rd. Featuring a guest appearance by Jim Lauderdale, the LP is the follow-up to 2018’s Songs From the Deluge.