Premiere: FENCES’ Stirring American Western “Same Blues”

Taken from new album FAILURE SCULPTURES, Fences’ raw “SAME BLUES” is a tender, vulnerable expression of pain and love expressing appreciation for a special connection, no matter its brevity.

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We both sing the same blues; different houses and spouses, but similar views…

Pain and love are often cut from the same cloth: There’s no telling what damage they can cause when they overlap, as we see in much of folk singer/songwriter Fences’ latest music. “SAME BLUES,” taken from the artist’s recently-released new album, is a tender, vulnerable expression of pain and love expressing appreciation for a special connection, no matter its brevity.

Failure Sculptures - FENCES
Failure Sculptures – Fences
you’re a mother of two
and I tried to be a good father too
I lose my mind when I’m talking to you
and I don’t know why that’s a lie
yes, I do
guess that I don’t know you
but that’s fine cause I think
that strangers are cool
in time you’ll find that I’m bad for you
in time you’ll find it’s true
so were you

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the music video for “SAME BLUES,” taken from Fences’ recently-released third album FAILURE SCULPTURES (out June 21, 2019 via GRNDVW). The artistic alter ego for Seattle-based musician and songwriter Chistopher Mansfield, Fences’ folk music is heartrending and raw: The majority of FAILURE SCULPTURES highlights a man and his guitar opining on the ebbs and flows of life, time, and the people who enter and exit his periphery, with loving odes about “the light of my life” contrasted against tales of lost friendships and strained relationships. It’s a record that dives deep into the throes of maturity and intimacy – dealing with definitions of “manhood,” one’s expectations versus life’s realities, and so on.

Arriving as the third track of the album, “SAME BLUES” is FAILURE SCULPTURES’ first proper folk song; it signals the beginning of a stripped-down sound that, once established, permeates the remainder of Fences’ ten-track record. With a dark aura shrouding his acoustic guitar work in hazy, fuzzed-out mystique, Mansfield sings plaintively of a powerful, moving and short-lived relationship of his that was unfortunately doomed from the start: “In time you’ll find that I’m bad for you, in time you’ll find it’s true; so were you,” he sings in the verse, continuing into an evocative and emotionally naked chorus:

cause you are the ashes
the cigarette smoke in my eyes
and out on my leg
it’s a burn I’ll have for life
it’s a burn that I like
FENCES © Christian Sorenson Hansen
FENCES © Christian Sorenson Hansen

Opening with a monologue explaining a moment of Mansfield’s life in Nashville and a brief, but impactful friendship with “a woman who was a sculptor,” the “SAME BLUES” music video presents a moving depiction of life as it might play out in an old Western, complete with horseback riding, hiking skipping stones in small mountain ponds, chopping wood, and more. “This video is a love letter to Dennis Hopper,” the artist explains. “It was filmed in Coyote, NM with my dear friends Ryan Enkema, Twiggy Levy and a variety of magical animals. I have never been the same since.”

The “SAME BLUES” video beams with a vivid natural beauty that itself feels only partially conveyed through screen alone. There’s a serenity to these scenes of resplendence, set against the backdrop of Fences’ calm, subtle poignancy, that strikes a nerve in the viewer: There’s an urge to get away from the intoxicating blue screen and go out foraging for similar connections to the wild and to our fellow Earth-dwellers.

For no matter how short or long our encounters may be, our experiences remain with us through thick, thin, and everything in-between. To quote Mansfield, “It’s a burn that I like.”

life is harder in tune
when you find common lines
that run through the noose
I’d use your hands if the rope was too loose
and die with a smile on cold tile
next to you
we both sing the same blues
different houses and spouses, but similar views
I’d learn to dance if you’d stand on my shoes
I can’t, you’re a wife cause you smiled
said “I do”

Fences proves himself a valiant storyteller of love and pain throughout his music, but “SAME BLUES” is a particularly stirring moment of emotive depth.

“SAME BLUES” radiates with the kind of unadulterated, stripped and aching love that comes through hardship. It’s time-tested and well-worn, like your favorite leather jacket or ragged jeans. Never once does Fences’ voice channel anything akin to regret, sorrow, or self-loathing; this pain is situational, but he’d never have it any other way, for it’s because of this pain that he’s able to feel the fullness of this beautifully complicated, loving connection.

Stream “Same Blues” exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and be sure to listen to the entirety of FAILURE SCULPTURES – easily one of the best folk albums released this year, and a hard-earned testament to internal struggle.

Watch: “Same Blues” – Fences

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:: stream/purchase Failure Sculptures here ::

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Failure Sculptures - FENCES

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? © Christian Sorenson Hansen


an album by Fences

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