Photo by Caleb Theimer
Whether he’s recording with his bands Milton Mapes, Monahans, or under his own name, Austin’s Greg Vanderpool favors sparse arrangements that roll in like a Texas thunderstorm. You might be able to see it coming, but it still sneaks up on you with power and grace. That’s the case with “To Violet,” a track from his upcoming second solo album, Pilot. Like a lot of his work, it finds common ground between the skeletal darkness of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska and Brian Eno’s ambient beauty. Heard one way, the song is a landscape portrait of Austin’s fitful recent history, but the refrain zooms out, putting “To Violet” in a completely different context. “Has the whole world lost its mind?” Vanderpool wearily asks over and over. For better or worse, it’s a question that’s both incredibly timely and as old as time.
“To Violet” appears on Pilot, out April 6.
–Art Levy // host, Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX