Americana Highways brings you this premiere of Secret Emchy Society’s song “Another Time and Place,” from their forthcoming album due to be released on May 20. Gold Country / Country Gold was produced and mixed by Tolan McNeil. It was primarily recorded and engineered in California’s Gold Country by Cindy Emch and Tolan McNeil; with additional recording and engineering by Mark Atkinson at Barn Studios, in Hornby Island, British Columbia, Canada. It was mastered by Jack Shirley.
“Another Time and Place” is Cindy M. Emch in lead vocals and rhythm guitar; Tolan McNeil on backing vocals and lead guitar; Mya Byrne on backing vocals and mandolin; Michele Kappel on backing vocals and drums; Hans Winold on upright bass; Andrew Waegel on pedal steel; Sean Malroy on fiddle; Carolyn Mark on backing vocals and piano; and Terri Upton on backing vocals.
Secret Emchy Society makes Americana music with a piercing touch of chilly darkness. Cindy M. Emch’s low vocal tones mix with pedal steel to evoke a compelling shady feel, and the loping pace here reminds you of struggles. You know the ones.
In a nutshell, this song is about the pandemic – but specifically, those months where we didn’t know if / how / when it was going to end. It runs through us trying to outrun a blizzard to get home from our last show in March 2020, missing my chosen Canadian family (some of whom are on the recording) during the first birthday in eight years that I spent without them, and even the hard truth of not having hugged a friend in over a year while we were all isolating. This tune was my coming to terms with it all. Finding a healthy, connected, and loving place – even if all we had was zoom. Even when my only connection to people was our cell phones – tiny pockets of voices and love that helped me get through such a traumatic time. My wife and I spent a lot of time in Twain Harte during the pandemic, staying in a friend’s cabin where I could go lake swimming and see so many stars, and at least be connected to nature. One night with the evening insects as our soundtrack this song just started singing itself in my head and I was the conduit.
This tune definitely leans into some of the corners of my brain that are inhabited by Willie Nelson and Shakey Graves, with a passing nod from Eilen Jewel. It is one of those tunes that just required acoustic guitar and an analog feel to it. I wanted to feel my feet in the dirt of the starry night it was written in.
There is an oooo-oooo part that runs through the song that came as an ad-lib that our drummer and backing vocalist Michele Kappel came up with when she was experimenting with harmonies and I am obsessed with it. I’ve added it to the live performance as part of my lead vocal, I insisted it be louder in the mix at every stage of the process. I don’t know why but that ooooo-ooooo has turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the whole record. — Cindy Emch
You can pre-order the album here: https://emchy.bandcamp.com/album/gold-country-country-gold