Breaking the Record with Roan Yellowthorn, Part 60: “The End Is Near”

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: “Stranger” – Roan Yellowthorn

I started writing this column quite a few weeks ago. Sixty, to be exact. Today is my 60th column! While this process of creating an album, documenting it, and releasing it into the world has been at times difficult and stressful – mostly because of the amount of waiting that’s been involved and the uncertainty that’s come with the current events in the world – many good things have happened. This column is among those that I’m most thankful for.

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

In honor of this being the 60th episode, so to speak, I’d like to take this opportunity to celebrate.

You know how TV shows sometimes take special episodes and use them to look back in time at highlights? Let’s do that. Here are some of the things that have happened in the past 60 weeks that have felt significant, as documented.

  1. Getting this column. I had the idea to write a column documenting the creation of an album. I didn’t really know who’d want to take it on. I reached out to Atwood because I’d read their articles and truly respected their work. Mitch Mosk, this publication’s editor, took a chance on me. I’m glad he did. Here’s the first installment I wrote
  1. Recording with John Agnello. This is something I’d wanted to do for a very long time – since I found out John had helped create albums I loved for artists like Phosphorescent, Sonic Youth, Waxahatchee, Dinosaur Jr, Kurt Vile, and Hop Along. I connected with John online initially, years before we recorded this album together. From the first day in the studio – recording our album and meeting John in person for the first time
  1. The pandemic happening. Of course, we couldn’t have predicted a pandemic. At the start of this column, the idea of one was like a distant cloud. It’s kind of surreal to see it play out in real time through the column. Here’s an installment around the time when the reality of it starts to set in
  1. Starting to explore the truth. In this part, there are things I want to talk about. But I don’t know how to start. This meditation on truth – brought about by the stillness of life due to the circumstances – is what led me to reveal some truths of my own in later installments
  1. Grappling with the future of touring. This is something I’m still doing. If I’m being honest, the longer I sit at home, the harder it is to imagine the slog of driving long distances and carrying heavy gear up and down long sets of narrow staircases. I would like to tour once the possibility returns, but I’m only going to do things that really feel like they’ll move the needle forward.
  1. ‘Rediscovered’. I recorded this album of covers and had it in the bag, ready for a rainy day. That rainy day ended up being a super long pandemic. Recording and releasing ‘Rediscovered’ was a true joy in every way. I’m so glad I had this album to put out in order to bridge the time until my studio album. Having it to focus on kept me sane. I’m proud of this album and I’ll always treasure the experience of making it.
  1. Existential struggles (a near daily occurrence)
  1. Sharing about my personal story. Damn. This was hard to do. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. And it was also the most cathartic, freeing, and liberating. Looking back now through all of the past installments, I can see that I’m dancing around this issue almost constantly. I really want to talk about it directly. But I’m frightened. In this installment, I finally do. And it’s the first time in my life I’ve done so in a public way. I did it without expectation of any response. But the depth of the responses I received was truly fortifying and eye opening. It helped me to see that I wasn’t – and am not – alone. This is my most-read installment. If you read it, thank you for reading.
  1. Part two of the previous installment, sharing more about my story and where the ‘fuel’ for much of my songwriting originates.
Another Life - Roan Yellowthorn
Another Life – Roan Yellowthorn
  1. Releasing a new single called ‘I’m Enough,’ a sequel to the Kasey Chambers song, ‘Not Pretty Enough’
  1. Making a music video with a remote collaborator. This was such a big undertaking. And so much fun. And such a relief when we successfully pulled it off.
  1. New Year’s Resolutions. So far, I’ve checked at least a few items off of the list. I’ve seen my brother (yay) and I’ve collaborated with an artist I admire.
  1. My birthday. Remembering a friend. And releasing the first song from the album, ‘Little Love’.
  1. The music video for ‘Little Love.’
  1. The second single off of the album, ‘Vampire.’
  1. Merch reveal!
  1. The third single off of the album, ‘Acid Trip.’
  1. ‘Acid Trip’ music video
  1. The fourth single from the album, ‘Stranger.’ Plus a conversation with the inspiration, Alex Cameron

Thank you for coming this far along on the journey with me. I’ve loved every minute. And it’s not over yet. In the meantime, if you’d like to preorder the album, you can do it here!

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Stream: “Stranger” – Roan Yellowthorn

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Little Love - Roan Yellowthorn

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