- Darkness is often used as symbol of evil, but it's equally apt at representing the unknown.
There's a fear attached to that kind of darkness, but it is of a different kind than the fear of evil.
- My name is Dustin Kensrue.
I think most people have known my work, if they knew it at all, from Thrice.
But I've been taking a break from Thrice.
That break was really healthy for me creatively to be able to explore inside of me.
I believe that there is darkness in me and I think in everyone and that idea of exploring what that means, I think it definitely weaves its way throughout the record.
- We seem to have so many excuses to stop.
So many reasons to pull over and to just be done with it.
been full-time creating music, and I think that writing music is what I'm best at and what I really enjoy doing.
Super excited to get back into that full-time.
- It can be tempting to isolate ourselves, to have no passions, to hide from everything that could hurt us.
The true work is somehow to start to learn to let go, to loosen our grip before we feel that noose tighten around our neck.
eight years ago and now the new one, Carry the Fire.
For me it's been really helpful, I think, to have things outside of Thrice.
Thrice is for people.
Just everyone's ideas are valid and contending and it ends up creating something really great, but it's also super taxing at times.
So it's nice to be able to do something where it's I have this idea and no one else has to agree with me and it's just exactly what I want it to be right now.
- What does it mean to carry the fire? Is it even worth asking? I believe it is.
There is no shortage of ugliness around us.
No shortage of grief, of death and destruction, and there's no shortage of ugliness in our own hearts, of greed, selfishness, hate.
But neither is there a shortage of beauty, of things which should cause us to stand in awe and wonder.
something from Cormac McCarthy book called "The Road".
Carrying the fire is holding onto goodness and truth and beauty in the midst of chaos and darkness.
It's a metaphor I really liked and one that I explore in different ways, I think, throughout the record.
This record... I really see this as the follow-up to that record, and it's in the same head space that I'm approaching it and so I've been storing up ideas, ideas, ideas and for me it feels like a completion of a long process that I've been looking forward to for awhile now.
- What's interesting, though, is the decision to keep going.
There is darkness.
There is also surely light.
- Hey this is Dustin Kensrue and you're watching Baeble Music.
Its a rare singer/songwriter that can credibly display dual sides of his musical personality - one who can quite thoroughly and convincingly operate in opposite realms of popular music. With Please Come Home, Dustin Kensrue joins those elite musical ranks.
If, at the moment, he is known primarily as the voice of Thricea respected, conscious underground sensation, lauded for its virtuosity, power and creativity - Please Come Home stands to change all that. Indeed, with this batch of soul-searching acoustic songs, which range from the dark, philosophical and introspective to the tender, Kensrue is more likely to snare listeners more in tune with the work of Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and Ryan Adams. Combining classic folk with earthy blues, melodic country and deep soul, Kensrue creates a unique aural landscape complementing his music versatility.
Built atop slabs of wisdom and hope, the songs avoid tilting towards the vacuous lighter fare of some singer/songwriters but stops short of the self-indulgent depression of others. It fights to shine lights into the abyss and delves into the dark places with one hand firmly holding onto faith, hope and love. At times stripped bare or awash in organ swirls or harmonica blasts, the discs eight songs are inhabited by sinners and saviors in tracks like Blood and Wine and Consider the Ravens. We find men who are morally confused and utterly lost in the title track Please Come Home, and in Pistol, hard-headed women whose love is like a rudder.
A lot of the material is a little more down to earth, which is one of things that I tried to do with these songs, says Kensrue. I get a little heady with the Thrice songs. And I like doing that - I think people like engaging in that - but I wanted these to be more folky, in the sense that this is music coming from a natural place.
Born, raised and still residing in the famously superficial Orange County, California, Kensrue is an anomaly in the regions musical scene, railing against the media and the masses for destroying womens self worth in I Knew You Before. As a teenager who carried his acoustic guitar with him everywhere, his music in both spirit and substance owed more to East Coast music. And certainly Please Come Home is no different. Chocked full of the warmth and introspection of records by the likes of such praised singer/songwriters as Grant Lee Phillips or early, stark David Gray, its songs are thoughtful and hardly light.
In slow-burning ballads or fast-moving strummers, he splays himself open, unafraid to leave himself emotionally naked in songs like the brave and honest I Believe, which deals with coming to grips with faith.
In a sense, the songs filling Please Come Home took root when Kensrue, before his days in Thrice, busked on streets corners in Southern California, playing for change and for the thrill of the interaction with an audience, no matter how small.
Recently he embarked on a pair of brief solo acoustic tours in the Northeast and Southwest (including sold-out engagements in New York, L.A., Philadelphia, San Diego and Orange County). The set was a mixture of new songs and covers, including a haunting rendition of the Counting Crows Round Here, and a daring acoustic stab at Imogen Heaps dark synthetic Hide and Seek.
When asked about the origins of this record, the singer says Please Come Home eventually took shape when he found himself writing songs that didnt necessarily fit within the Thrice context. On their latest U.S. tour, he and guitarist Teppei Teranishi committed to bringing these ideas to life once off the road. Co-producing the disc, they hunkered down in the studio with friend and guitar tech Chris Jones, who played drums, slide and electric guitar on Please Come Home. Teranishi handled the organ and piano duties, while Kensrue played all the acoustic guitars and bass on the disc, whose songs were written to be blueprints: Theyre structured, says the singer, so that they can be changed live, or effortlessly played with just an acoustic guitar.
I wanted these songs at their core to work in that street-corner sense - just a guy with his guitar a voice and a story to tell. In the end, even with the other instruments, it is still an acoustic guitar based record, he says. Its the foundation of each track, both musically and sonically, which I think is cool. On a lot of records, the acoustic gets E.Q.d really thin and becomes a glorified percussion instrument, but we tried to keep it pretty full and upfront.
With only eight songs, its a little bit of an old-school record, says Kensrue. But its like the old LPs I love - a lot of them only had like eight, maybe nine songs. I like shorter records, I feel like you really get a sense of the whole feeling of the record, and you can kind of grasp it all in one gulp. Advances in technology have allowed for a longer recording, and as a result, people like to try and fill that space. And I dont think its always necessary. Music shouldnt be about quantity. Im excited about it being shorter. It feels very complete to me.
Hailing from a small, landlocked city in the middle of Orange County, Kensrue was raised by a father with a beefy record collection, and a mother who sent young Dustin to piano lessons, though all he really wanted to play was guitar. If he loved The Beatles and Michael Jackson as a pre-teen, punk changed his course as a teenager.
With Thrice, its always an attempt to combine a lot of different feels and explore a lot of new territory - not that its not about writing good songs, but Please Come Home at its core is finding the heart of the song and playing it. Its definitely more down to earth and less complex in certain way...Ive started simplifying things and getting a little more subtle or elegant.
As an artist, I always want to be as real and honest as I can be in the songs, he continues. I feel like where powerful songs come fromtapping something thats inside of you, that actually means something to you, and getting that into the songI think you can hear when a song is not from that place. I try to be an artist who aspires to find hope even in dark places: If Im down, I dont want to bring people down to that place with me. Im looking for a way out."