In 2009, The Dry Spells released Too Soon For Flowers, a folky rock album that became an instant best friend. Then, as far as I could tell, they vanished. But now there's new music from this Bay Area ensemble, a song called "Heliotrope," and I feel like an old buddy came to town for the holidays.
I asked about the long absence and guitarist Adria Ott wrote this back:
"The primary factor is that we all got involved in other projects, musical or otherwise. Tahlia (Harbour) became a full-time member of Sonny and the Sunsets then moved to L.A., I (Adria) got involved in sound design for dance and went back to grad school, Diego (Gonzalez), with his band 3 Leafs as well as studying oud, April (Hayley) with fiddle playing, not to mention Diego and April fell in love and got married! Our band never disbanded, just went on a long hiatus. But we are thrilled that Heliotrope is finally being released!"
"Heliotrope" picks up in the same English folk tradition as The Dry Spells' debut album did. The vocal harmonies are still stellar and I'm now so happy. Adria tells me the song "was inspired by the Greek myth. [It's] about Clytie and her unrequited love for Helios, the god of the sun. Heartbroken, she would gaze at him crossing the sky every day, until she turned into a heliotrope, a flower that turns towards the sun."
This sort of mythology and storytelling is at the heart of The Dry Spells and connects the band to a long tradition of music that goes beyond the problems of the songwriter and extends to reaching into other traditions to tell a tale that at once seems like fantasy but can instantly feel relevant and close to the heart.
I only hope this is the reawakening of a spirited band and not a long awaited coda.
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