by Whitney Youngs
Author Ralph Ellison wrote in a 1964 op/ed piece in Commentary magazine that “The act of writing requires a constant plunging back into the shadow of the past where time hovers ghostlike.”
Released in May 2021, Long Lost, the fourth studio album from the Americana rock quintet Lord Huron, dives into a past filled with a sense of nostalgia for a period when the pace of life moved more slowly and time unfolded without the punctured distractions of modern life. The album’s songs seem to reminisce about an era when radio and network television dominated the airwaves, an era when quaint, stripped-down variety music shows attracted throngs of listeners and viewers, respectively.
“We wanted this record to sound nostalgic, but not in any specific way,” frontman Ben Schneider told Local Spins magazine. “It’s almost like you think you recognize it, but you can’t put your finger on where you’ve heard it before or what it reminds you of exactly. That’s kind of the theme of the record in general – just the idea there’s these long-lost songs out there in the ether waiting to be discovered.”
Recorded at the band’s Whispering Pines Studios, Long Lost coincides with the airing of the imaginary “Alive from Whispering Pines” television show hosted by the fictionalized Tubbs Tarbell, who introduces the band to his audience and invites it to perform songs off the new record. Tarbell, who is the producer of a dramatized version of Whispering Pines Studios, reminiscences about the past by listening to dusty records and gazing at faded photographs of musicians and singers who once appeared on the show. To add to the drama, Tarbell publishes his written recollections about his experiences in working with Lord Huron in the recording of Long Lost.
“When I woke, the light from the next day was just startin’ to ease into the Pines, and I was alone,” wrote Tarbell. “I stood up, stretched my creaky back, scratched a little stubble. As I turned to grab my leavin’ hat off its peg, somethin’ caught my eye: A hand-scratched note bound to a faded vinyl record sleeve was layin’ on the floor. I bent down to snatch it up. The record was called Long Lost, and it looked as if it had been layin’ there on the floor since before Whispering Pines was even a whisper itself. I brushed the dust off the cover and saw that the artist was none other than the boys themselves—Lord Huron.”
The members of Lord Huron—Schneider, Mark Barry (drums, percussion), Miguel Briseño (bass, keyboard, theremin), and Tom Renaud (guitar)—all hail from Michigan and formed the band in 2010 in Los Angeles. The group released its debut album, Lonesome Dreams, in 2012 and followed up with Strange Tales.
“The guys who are in the band with me now are the guys I started my first band with when I was 12 years old,” said Schneider.
Schneider grew up outside of Lansing, and like so many other Michiganders, he’s closely familiar with the state’s shimmering and pristine beach landscapes set against the Great Lakes (including Lake Huron) affectionately known as The Third Coast.
“When I was a kid, I always kind of considered myself the ruler of that part of the world and that’s kind of where the name came from,” said Schneider. “Nature is still a huge inspiration – and particularly the nature in that part of the world – for me and for the songs I make.”
Schneider eventually made his way out to Los Angeles, where the city’s topography coincidentally inspired the sounds on the band’s third studio album, Vide Noir.
“My nighttime drives ranged all over the city—across the twinkling grid of the Valley, into the creeping shadows of the foothills, through downtown’s neon canyons and way out to the darksome ocean,” recalled Schneider. “I started imagining Vide Noir as an epic odyssey through the city, across dimensions, and out into the cosmos.”
Lord Huron plays BeachLife May 15.