Elephant Micah: “By The Canal”

Photo by Joseph O’Connell

Joseph O’Connell’s day job has him hunting songs. He’s a folklorist with a degree from the University of Oregon, and he spends much of his time documenting the culture of his home state of Indiana. He has an inclination to create, too, and for almost fifteen years, he’s released music under the name Elephant Micah. Much like his rural subjects, O’Connell keeps things pretty local. His eleven albums are mostly self-recorded and self-released, full of stark, acoustic ruminations on everyday life in the Midwest.

For album number twelve–Where In Our Woods, out January 20–O’Connell is looking to make a bigger splash. He’s teamed up with Austin indie Western Vinyl, and musical hero Will Oldham (Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy) guests on the record. The instrumentation is just as bare, but O’Connell’s songwriting is self-assured, recalling one-time touring partner (and fellow Indianan) Jason Molina. On “By The Canal,” trees, horses, and torn flags set the scene, but O’Connell is still haunted by ghosts and mysterious marks in the woods.

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