Scenic Oskaloosa setting inspires Lowland Hum


Daniel and Lauren Goans

Daniel and Lauren Goans, otherwise known as the folk duo Lowland Hum, were in Seattle, Wash., March 25, anxiously awaiting the release of their second album, when this picture of them (a “selfie”?) was taken. The album includes the folk-pop song “Olivia,” which fondly recalls the couple’s brief stay in Oskaloosa.

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by Rick Nichols
A just-released album by the North Carolina folk duo Lowland Hum includes a distinctive song whose lyrics were inspired by the positive experience Daniel Goans and his wife, Lauren, had when they made an overnight stop in Oskaloosa last year while on tour.
The song, “Olivia,” is one of about a dozen cuts on the couple’s second album, which is self-titled and came out Tuesday. The album was produced at a small recording studio near Charlottesville, Va.
The couple’s first album, “Native Air,” was released in 2013, the year after Goans and the former Lauren Plank were married, and
“met with overwhelming affirmation,” according to the duo’s official website, www.lowlandhum.com. The work was praised for “its sincere lyrics, sparse arrangements and haunting harmonies.”
Lowland Hum was featured on National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk Concert series March 6, 2014.
The Goanses grew up in Greensboro, N.C. They quit their odd jobs shortly after they tied the knot, ready to get into the music business on a full-time basis, the website reports.
Back to “Olivia.” In an interview done for the online site PopMatters, Goans had this to say about the song: “ ‘Olivia’ explores the difficulty of achieving connection between individuals even when all of the ‘ingredients’ for a good day are present. We wrote it while on tour in Oskaloosa, Kansas, staying in a picturesque hand-built cottage, surrounded by lush farmland. Sometimes even with the wealth of sunshine, a beautiful location, a good night’s rest, and a good meal, barriers to enjoying one another’s company still exist. Sitting in my favorite sun-drenched spot in our kitchen, I typed out the lyrics to ‘Olivia’ remembering the setting where the song was born.”
8Radio @8RadioIreland is already a big fan of the song, which runs a little more than four minutes from beginning to end. In doing some research for this story over the weekend, I came across the following Twitter tweet, which was sent out last Thursday: “#8Recommends ‘Olivia’, our favourite song from the forthcoming self-titled album by @lowlandhum youtube.com/watch?v=JfeGNJRgamE.”
When you click on the YouTube link, you are able to view a video of the song’s lyrics being typed out on a sheet of paper that has been inserted into an old Olympic typewriter while Lowland Hum is singing the song in the background. Those lyrics include “hazy August day” and “Saturday breakfast sitting inside of them.”
Other memorable lines are “squeeze an orange into a bowl,” “sleepy seeds out one by one,” “lean against the wind,” “open window shrill cicadas,” “sunlight tracing shapes on the wall,” and “off they go to win the day.”
My question is, did they see that Oskaloosa moon?
But I digress. Back to “Olivia,” which is making a favorable impression on listeners. Case in point, one reviewer had this to say about the catchy number: “‘Olivia’ is notable for its surprising twist toward its conclusion; what seems like a singer/songwriter format for the bulk of the track ends up giving way to a euphoric pop coda. As for the video, you both get an up-close look at the lyrics, and at the making of what looks like a tasty peanut butter and honey sandwich. As far as combinations go, that’s a pretty darn good one – just like ‘Olivia’ itself.”

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Posted by on Apr 23 2015. Filed under Featured, The Independent. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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