The stars aligned for File 13 in 2017 for one of the busiest and most memorable years for our record label. We've got one more piece of music to share from Jon Lindsay. The single "Zebulon" is out December 22nd and is a smart and beautiful piece of social commentary. The song features a ridiculously funky horn arrangement from Matt Douglas of The Mountain Goats, and drums by John Howie Junior, of Sarah Shook and the Disarmers. It also happens to artfully tackle systemic bigotry—from the bigot’s POV, no less—as well as anybody has since the classic Randy Newman records of the 1970s.
A sonic departure from Lindsay’s modern pop/rock opus Cities and Schools (2016 via File 13 Records), Lindsay describes the “Zebulon” sound as, “sort of this psychedelic gospel pop.” And while the vibe is indeed reminiscent of late-era George Harrison and Warren Zevon—and the horns, keys, congas and infectious hooks in step with pop masters of the 1980s like Steve Winwood—something entirely new is happening here.
Lindsay (self-described as “way, way left”) wrote the song based on a true story: one night last summer he accidentally wound up in rural NC playing music on a farm for the going away party of the farmer’s daughter who was heading off to a northern college in the fall. Lindsay knew almost no details about the situation going in to the evening. A lot of narrow-minded language and ideas he overheard that night—much of it out of the farmer’s mouth—ended up in the song. Of song’s nameless narrator/main character, Lindsay says, “I didn’t want to just skewer a guy like this with some preachy, easy tune; I wanted to put a more three-dimensional character sketch together that got at the undercurrents of why this person felt like his whole world was getting away from him. Maybe it would help me understand how these things happen? I just tried to imagine how somebody could turn out so hateful and seemingly not realize it even a little bit.”