Editor’s Note: Welcome to Quarantainment, Vanyaland’s new series on what to watch, what to hear, and how to deal as the world engages in social distancing to combat the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19. We’re all at home, we’re all online, and we’re all in this together. #StayTheFHome
Here we are, stuck on pause, experiencing modern life one long day at a time, and in one of history’s darkest timelines. But Boston’s The Dazies, and in particular its chief ringleader, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Mikey Holland, want to remind us all that it’s still a beautiful life we’re all living, even if we’re surviving amongst the shadows.
The Dazies are back today (April 24) with an offering titled “It’s a Beautiful Life,” and it’s a ready-made barroom sing-along song that sets a remarkable tone for the project’s forthcoming album Under The Moon and Far Away. The LP has been pushed back due to the current pandemic, but “It’s a Beautiful Life” emerges through life’s darkness, with Fenway Park’s Josh Kantor adding some “ruff and tumble” barroom accordion and Elio Deluca adding piano and organ remotely from his Medford studio The Soul Shop.
Holland says we need the reminder of the song’s title, and what helped shape it, now more than ever.
“‘It’s a Beautiful Life’ came from many long walks throughout the backstreets of Beacon Hill, to the Public Garden and down Massachusetts Avenue into Cambridge before late nights tending bar,” Holland writes to Vanyaland earlier this week during a spring rainstorm. “This past year I’ve shifted some focus onto myself and my mental health for the first time in my life that has led me to confront and end my unhealthy relationship with alcohol. I’m truly indebted to these walks as they’ve guided my focus on sobriety and provided me with a deep well of inspiration, gratitude and a newfound love for an old friend, Boston.”
Holland has been crafting Under The Moon and Far Away — and what he calls “these struggles and victories” — over the past 16 months at Bang-A-Song Studios in Gloucester with engineer Warren Babson. The release is currently on hold, as “stay at home” orders and social distancing grip the commonwealth, but Babson offered to let Holland finish the track, at no cost, despite the studio shutdown.
“He was sympathetic to me having just lost my job and reaffirmed his and my own importance on finishing the album and seeing things through,” Holland adds. “It was a beautiful gift I won’t soon forget. As the days passed we realized finishing the record would have to wait until it was safe to do so but mixing and mastering could be done remotely. I wanted to release this single because I think there’s a message that needs to be heard now more than ever. Even in the darkest of times there’s always light, love and inspiration around us connecting us to one another that can not be relinquished.”
Listen to “It’s a Beautiful Life” below via Spotify, featuring on the platform’s “Release Radar,” and catch The Dazies live this Sunday (April 26) at 7 p.m. as they play Deep Cuts Deli’s Instagram (as well as their own Facebook page) with Beeef and the Bernie Sanders-approved Bad Larrys.
And don’t forget the message of the song — and all that swells up from the shadows to help create art in times like these.