Premiere: GoldenOak’s “These Old Shoes” Confronts the Climate Crisis with Wondrous Folk

GoldenOak © Elizabeth Leclair
GoldenOak © Elizabeth Leclair
It’s easy to lose oneself in the dreamy folk wonder of GoldenOak’s “These Old Shoes,” but within this radiant song is a wistful, intimate reflection on purpose, place, and the climate crisis.
Stream: “These Old Shoes” – GoldenOak

It’s easy to lose oneself in the dreamy folk wonder of GoldenOak’s latest single, but as is the case with most of the Maine band’s music, there’s more to this song than meets the eye. A wistful, intimate reflection on the climate crisis, “These Old Shoes” reckons with following one’s dreams while committing to a greater cause. It’s a somber, stunningly vibrant and soothing call to action – and one that give us pause to consider our own actions and how they align with our goals in this life. Are we where we want to be? Are we helping to make the world a better place? How can we do both at once?

It’s no longer a question of saving out planet; it’s an imperative, and “These Old Shoes” rings out for all of us, no matter our profession or field of study.

Room to Grow - GoldenOak
Room to Grow – GoldenOak
These old shoes, they don’t seem to care
Which way I roam, As long and I get there
But my young heart, Chases after Wind
Over mountain Streams, And back round again
All my dreams, Shaded by these trees
What I could be, If the rent was free
A home in the woods, A poet since my birth
First comes the earth, First save the earth

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “These Old Shoes,” the latest single off GoldenOak’s forthcoming sophomore album Room to Grow, independently out June 25, 2021. The Portland, Maine-based indie-folk/Americana band fronted by siblings Zak and Lena Kendall, GoldenOak released their debut album Pleasant St. in 2016 and have continued weaving stirring folk tapestries ever since.

As has been the case with much of America’s great folk tradition, GoldenOak’s music is infused with activism as well as deep emotion. The band’s new record is, in their own words, “a ten-track collection… about the effects of climate change through both a macro and micro lens.”

Putting fears and facts to song, rather than tucked away in private corners of academia, provides greater accessibility to the public, those more vulnerable to the implications.

GoldenOak © Elizabeth Leclair
GoldenOak © Elizabeth Leclair

GoldenOak’s recent singles “Islands” and “Falter” showcase their ability to spellbind while speaking to bigger causes, and “These Old Shoes” follows in step, ruminating on themes of purpose and place while the climate crisis looms heavy on the mind and heart.

“I wrote “These Old Shoes” in one sitting, which doesn’t happen often for me,” Zak Kendalls explains. “The song confronts the troubling reality that every decision we make, as young people, is influenced by the climate crisis. I have struggled in the past with my decision to be an artist — a songwriter — and not to commit myself to the frontlines of fighting climate change. It took me a while to understand that those two intentions didn’t have to come at the cost of one and another.”

“I think a lot of young people can relate to that feeling, but it’s often hard to confront it: “A home in the woods, a poet since my birth, first save the earth, first save the earth.” I think that’s why this song came together so easily, it’s like it was something on the tip of my tongue that I wasn’t able to articulate until I started playing that grounded acoustic guitar riff that became ‘These Old Shoes.'”

In this life, there’s no time for twice
Always on your way, always on your way
My only hope, is when I find my voice
It sounds like me, it sounds like me

A warm, hushed, and inviting tune, “These Old Shoes” soars on gentle acoustic lines full of grace and ease. The Kendalls blend their voices alongside the guitar, gliding up and down together with soft, serene poise. Their words hit the ears clear as day, but the song’s true meaning is ours to discover; what we take from this mellow outcry is truly what we make of it.

If you feel the call of the Earth like the Kendalls do, then this song may very well scream out loud. Tranquil though it may be, GoldenOak have found a way to glisten and glow while delivering a stirring call to action.

Stream “These Old Shoes” exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and look out for GoldenOak’s sophomore album Room to Grow this summer!​

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Stream: “These Old Shoes” – GoldenOak

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Room to Grow - GoldenOak

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