For The Flora Strings Project E.P., Seattle’s Sera Cahoone added a new feel to songs from previous albums with help from Led To Sea violist Alex Guy. When paired with Guy’s string trio arrangements, some of Cahoone’s best modern folk songs sound like high-brow mountain music.
That description definitely applies to the new version of indie-folk fiddle tune “Dusty Lungs,” a song first heard on 2017 album From Where I Started. Nothing says “authentic mountain music” like a song about coal miners, especially when it’s based on its writer’s upbringing.
“When I was growing up, my dad worked in the mining industry and so did his father,” Cahoone says. “My dad wasn’t a miner but sold dynamite, so he spent a lot of time in and around mines, and sometimes he’d take me with him to mining conferences. ‘Dusty Lungs’ was inspired by people of his generation who’ve spent their whole lives working really difficult jobs. Now they’re aging and their bodies are breaking down. It’s about someone who’s tired and starting to give up on life, even though they still have so much more to offer the world.”
In an exercise of trust, Guy wrote new arrangements for the seven-song collection without Cahoone’s input.
“The best moment for me was at our first rehearsal with the string trio,” Guy says in a press release. “Sera hadn’t heard any of the arrangements live yet. I wasn’t really sure what her reaction would be because there were so many new elements that she wasn’t used to. At the end of each song, her eyes were on fire. She’d say, ‘Whoa! That was awesome.’ I knew I’d been on the right track.”
Cahoone’s new self-released EP arrives on April 20.