Breaking the Record with Roan Yellowthorn, Part 10: Building the Community

Breaking The Record 2020
Breaking The Record 2020
Jackie McLean of the indie band Roan Yellowthorn grants us an inside look at the making of an album from start to finish in her ‘Breaking The Record’ column.
Stream: ‘Rediscovered’ – Roan Yellowthorn

Greetings from quarantine! I hope you all are doing as well as can be. For me, this quarantine isn’t extremely different from regular life because I work from home but, of course, it is extremely different from regular life. I’m not sure what regular even is anymore. Luckily we’re all feeling healthy at my house. I hope that you are, too.

This column is all about documenting the process of creating the new album I’m making. It was written by me, produced by John Agnello, played on by Jesske Hume, Shawn Strack, Andy Burton, and Emil Amos, engineered by Jeremy Delaney, mastered by Greg Calbri, and will come out on Blue Elan Records. Since the pandemic began, I’ve been feeling the pull to open up this space to help build and support the artistic community I love so much.

In the column before last, I wrote about the importance of artists and what we can do to support them. In the one after that, I returned to more ‘normal’ content. I think that, moving forward, I would like to keep dedicating this column to granting a look into the album-making process as it is in real time, and adding a spotlight on independent artists I love whose music is helping me get through this time. I hope you’ll join me in supporting these artists and those you love, too.

Just jumping into the Breaking The Record series documenting the making of our album from start to finish? Read part 1 here!

Without further ado lets get to it! In the world of making my record, we are moving right along. We have all of the photos done, have finished the artwork for the first single, and are working on finalizing the album artwork for the cover of the album. As I’ve mentioned before, I have some degree of synesthesia and the colors for the artwork are really important to me. It’s been really fun and gratifying to be able to escape into the world of color for brief periods of time.

I spoke with a bio-writer recently and just got back a draft of an updated bio that she wrote for us. It looks great and will be the copy that we use for much of the PR for our new record.

Speaking of PR, we have secured a PR firm for the album cycle and I’m really excited to work with them. Getting PR is fun and, more importantly, is a vital part of getting the music ‘out there.’ I have a detailed list of places that I want to bring my music to so this part is pretty exciting for me (also nerve-wracking) and I’m feeling very invested in the process.

Since we can’t play shows for the time being, we are doing a livestream on Facebook and Instagram every Monday and Thursday and that’s been really fun, too. This is a really nice way to stay limber and feel social. Seeing (avatar) faces and getting comments in real time is so nice and feels communal. It was scary at first because there’s an awkwardness about talking and singing to an empty room but, with practice, it feels more comfortable and now when I do a lifestream the room doesn’t feel empty anymore. I really enjoy it now.

quarantiny concert
quarantiny concert

We’re also booking shows for late summer but it feels weird to send booking emails when everything is shut down. I don’t know if it will be feasible to tour come August so it’s a weird situation but we’re pressing on and will change the plans if and when we need to.

In the meantime, I hope to do some live-streaming shows under the aegis of some other organizations.

Lots of my peers are releasing albums in this changed landscape and I’m really curious about how it will be to release our album in these times. The countdown is on so we shall soon see!

Now for some music that’s keeping me going these days.

Right now, I am loving music by Ali Dineen.

Ali Dineen
Ali Dineen

Ali Dineen is an artist based in Brooklyn, where she is involved with the Jalopy Theater and School of Music. I became friends with her while we were in college together and have been following her career from afar since then. I am always stunned by the beauty of her work. Her songs as well as her voice are thoughtful, piercing, and deeply moving. There is so much emotion in her work and she surrounds herself with musicians and players who seem to be just bursting with heart and soul. I know her as an artist and a poet – we took a beat poetry class together with Cole Heinowitz at Bard College and I always loved reading her work and seeing the illustrations she created. All of her albums are replete with gorgeous artwork created by her. I especially love the cover art for her new album, ‘Hold On.’

"Hold On" cover
“Hold On” cover

Here is a song I love called ‘What You Know’ off of her 2016 album ‘Light Comes In’

And the gorgeous ‘I Knew How’ off of her album ‘Hold On,’ released in February of this year.

Along with escaping into music, I’ve been escaping into books. The book I’m reading now is ‘Y’ by my friend James Campion. I’m really enjoying it. It has kind of a Stephen King/ Chuck Palahniuk vibe with a Norman Mailer first-person-reporting energy. It’s a journalistic novel filled with magical realism, commentary on mainstream and counter-culture societies, and a healthy dose of probing introspection. I love having this portal to another world and recommend it to anyone searching for an intelligent, thoughtful, engaging, and comical work to disappear into.


Sending you all love and art.

More next week!

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Sacrifice - Roan Yellowthorn

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