Album Premiere & Essay: Bon Bon Vivant “Dancing in the Darkness”

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Americana Highways presents this album premiere stream of Bon Bon Vivant’s Dancing in the Darkness (Heroic Doses).  The album was recorded at Music Shed / Sonicboom Room; produced by Jeremy Kelley & Bon Bon Vivant; recorded by Ryan Brown and Kevin Jarvis and mixed by Kevin Jarvis. Songs on the album, except “Casey Jones,” were written by Abigail Cosio & Bon Bon Vivant. 

Musicians on Dancing in the Darkness are Abigail Cosio on lead vocals and guitar; Glori Cosio on blood harmony and percussion; Jeremy Kelley on saxophone and harmony vocals; Ryan Brown on accordion, piano, organ and harmony vocals; Jason Jurzak on sousaphone; Mike Robbins and Cory Tramontelli on bass; Ry D’Antonio on drums; Deacon Marquin on drums and wild percussion; 
Justine Serebrin on harmony vocals; Scott Yost (The Bones) on trombone; Mike Rocha (Casey Jones, Ship Is Sinking, Die Young) on trumpet; Ido Meshulam: (Casey Jones, Ship Is Sinking, Die Young); and Kevin Jarvis on guitar/percussion. The album photo is courtesy of Annabelle Denmark.

We have here for you an in-depth essay by Bon Bon Vivant’s Abigail Cosio, about each song on the album and their inspirations.  The stream of the entire album appears beneath the essay. 

Dancing in the Darkness is a collection of songs written over the last few years reflecting on our unprecedented times, great personal loss, mysticism & femininity, and the daily happenings and revelry of our lives as New Orleanians. Sonically speaking, it crosses many landscapes and genres incorporating twangy guitar, accordion and brass instruments into dance beats put to a songwriter’s viewpoint. We feel when the stories are the center of the songs, the sounds have freedom to roam.

The title track describes the moment a vivid party turns strange on a night during carnival and the earned skill of knowing just when it is time to leave. It’s a PSA while praising the unique way of life that is specific to New Orleans. The horns blare out like a marching band in a parade. The track “Die Young” is a ruckus song about the exchange made through age that turns the pressure to conform into the freedom to be more authentic. As death makes its way closer, we choose to live more fully.

“Ship is Sinking” takes the fears and uncertainty of our current world events and invites us to go out singing. The juxtaposition of the doomed lyrical content to the upbeat music is the irony of our situation. When there is nothing to be done, we can at least choose the state of mind at which we meet each circumstance. To celebrate each moment of life, even in the darkness. Lost Soul is an irreverent rejection of the concept of earning your way into sanctity or wholeness. It is about the acceptance of self outside of indoctrinated belief systems that say salvation must be earned. It is the dismantling of the idea that we are broken at birth and in need of redemption.

“USOS (United States of Suckers)” is a love song to New Orleans and a comment on the contrasted way in which we live sometimes, in comparison to the rest of the nation. Inspired by the last few years of political upheaval. Some days it felt like New Orleans was an island all its own, complete with its own value system and set of issues. Better or worse, they were ours.
The album touches on topics of love often.

“Wanting” is a lilting love song speaking to the timeless pull that we can have for someone, across years and lifetimes. “Another Broken Heart” is minor-key play on the female archetype of the broken- hearted woman. In this song, she chooses to move beyond bitterness and heartache while using its force to change her situation. There is a power that comes with heartbreak, the metamorphosis that can often occur in the aftermath.

“Little Evil” is a sinister sounding confession of the darker sides of love and lust, the recognition of a connection and an attraction that is considered wrong. The resolve is realizing that the honesty in acknowledging the mutual attraction is a release, and a bonding agent despite the relationship never coming to life.

“The Bones” is an interpretation of the sight and sounds of Mardi Gras and Carnival Season in New Orleans, inspired by our experience as a marching band for parade krewes. The wonderful otherworldly sights we witness on a daily basis during this time is what sustains us throughout the year of heat, hurricanes and daily troubles. There is a magic that comes with living in our city, and “The Bones” is a celebration of that season. “Casey Jones,” the only cover song on the album, is our nod to another good time band, the Grateful Dead. The subject matter seemed timely and hearing the sick guitar parts played by horns was too good to pass up!

“This Year” is the most personal track on the album, speaking directly about the loss of my twin brother to suicide. His death, our life together and our close bond ultimately inspired much of the content of this album, specifically this song. This album is dedicated to him, a kind and wild hearted Bon Vivant. The experience of losing him is the darkest period of my life, and it has helped sharpen BBV’s message of love for life and celebration, as only this kind of loss can do. In contrast to the darkness, look for the light. There is hope and healing, but we must choose it. This is the deeper meaning for the title of the album, Dancing in the Darkness.

There is also a spoken track called “Entropy,” by my twin brother David Cosio.

The album ends with the song “Hell or High Water.” We wanted to end the album with this track to leave as our final word a message of steadfastness and courage. It is a commitment to going forward into the storm, and the discovery of who we become when we are brave enough to experience it fully.

Dancing in the Darkness as an album of songs is a compilation of moments in a lifetime, lyrically speaking, from small pauses of self-reflection to larger questions of transcendence, youthfulness, mortality, revelry, lust, grief, and choice. Death is a common theme in our songs, making friends with death as a motivator for a good life. The music comes along accompanying and amplifying the words on the vast journey between these subject matters. It does not sit comfortably in any one genre; it crosses many categories as does the content of the songs. In its entirety, the message we aim for is a commitment to life in all its seasons. — Abigail Cosio

The album is a depth of riches, ranging over entire lifetimes, set to bacchic New Orleans’ style celebration.  Listen right here: 

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