Americana Highways brings you this acoustic premiere of Harrow Fair’s song “Sins We Made” (Acoustic), due to be available on October 29, 2020 via Roaring Girl Records. This song was the title track of their release earlier this year. “Sins We Made (Acoustic)” is Andrew Penner on vocals, guitar and percussion, and Miranda Mulholland on fiddle and vocals. The song was engineered, produced and mastered by Andrew Penner.
We had a chat with Harrow Fair about the song. The premiere is beneath the mini interview.
Americana Highways: Talk a bit about the song. What is it about and what prompted you or inspired you to write it?
Miranda: We both love the tropes of folk song and the traditions that stay in all types of music. So many folk songs are protest songs, and that can mean so many things – veiled or overt. We wanted this song, set in a folk song counting framework, to provoke thought and allude to the reckonings we are facing while letting the listener fill in their own blanks.
This song is an acoustic version of the title track from your most recent album.
AH: Why did you opt to re-record it acoustically, and what do you think stripping it down does to the overall impact and message of the song?
Miranda: We recorded our album with our main instruments at the core but built it out production-wise; we play all the instruments between us. Doing this stripped-down recording, we wanted to see if the essence was still there if we went the opposite way, almost like the negative of a photograph. I think it made the song’s lyrics feel even more malevolent and sinister.
AH: You recorded this at a lakeside cabin. Did you go there intending to record, or was that something you decided to do once you were already there? How do you feel the location impacted the recording?
Miranda: We brought Andrew’s recording gear over in the boat but had no expectations. This pandemic has affected us both differently, and we didn’t want to put any pressure on ourselves or each other. Just the very notion of leaving your car, and the worries of home, on the other side of the lake gives a very different perspective once you arrive.
Andrew: I was hoping we’d capture something cool at the cottage. Sins We Made, the album, is really huge sounding at times, so the opportunity to strip it way back and reinvent some songs was exciting. I chose great old ribbon microphones that felt suited to what we were gonna try. The cottage is so chill, and it helped us unplug, in more ways than one, and capture a version of this song that keeps its power while boiling it down to the essentials.
AH: Any funny/great stories from the recording session?
Miranda: On the road, Andrew and I love eating at great restaurants, and we talk a lot about food and cooking. That said, we never have the opportunity to cook for each other and frequently joke that we’re both just making up our prowess. At the cottage, I was able to discover that Andrew can indeed cook! He made a delicious steak dinner with all the fixings – just like a fancy French restaurant. Unicorns are real!
AH: Tell us a little bit about your most recent album, Sins We Made. How has fan reaction been to it? How do you feel putting a record out during a pandemic affected the promotion process?
Miranda: In some ways, it was really special to have our album come out on April 17th, right in the middle of lockdown. Instead of having our album release show in Toronto at our beloved Dakota Tavern, we did an online listening party and people from all over the world joined and chatted.
That said, we were getting quite a lot of North American and UK airplay, but all our scheduled tour dates and radio station visits were cancelled, which definitely impacted our ability to share our new songs and this record we’re so proud of.
With captivating harmonies and notable dynamics, Harrow Fair pulls you in to the heart of the matter and has you paying attention. You can’t escape the foreboding spell they cast.