The opening track to the album, "Another Anodyne," sets up the album both thematically as well as conceptually. For the theme of "Another Anodyne," I wanted to set up the idea that there are many emotions and situations that we, as humans, are forced to deal with. And we've developed many coping mechanisms, some good, while others are potentially damaging. I tried to come up with songs that dealt with love, loss, pain, confusion, restlessness, as well as any other complex thought I felt like was common to people as a whole. I wanted to encourage people to find another anodyne (pain relieving medicine) for whatever they may be going through. "Awake, O Sleeper!" is a call to action along these lines. It's directed to anybody who may feel stuck in whatever place they are.
Conceptually, it also sets up a shift in both my writing and musical arrangement. From a lyrical standpoint, with this album I tried to try and dive in to more complicated themes than the typical "they left me and I'm lonely," or other typical "I'm sad" concept that can be typical of my singer/songwriter folk genre. I also found that I really enjoy subtle literary references, so I tried to use that throughout the album.
Now, to dive in to "Awake, O Sleeper!" This phrase is taken from a book out of the Bible. The actual location is Ephesians 5:14, where it says, "for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, 'Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'" I really liked this verse, mostly because of the metaphor of light being of truth. So I took the first phrase, and tried to take the explicitly Christian overtones out, as I typically don't want to shoehorn myself into a Christian music box. Within the lyrics, I call the listener to wake up out of their darkness, whatever it may be, and let the light in.
Musically, this is also a new direction for me. I've stayed with the similar acoustic stylings, but i certainly got way more, shall we say, cinematic. You'll hear a long fade in, followed by a huge, almost symphonic arrangement. While we were writing this song, I kept telling the band I wanted this to sound like a movie score written as an epic battle cry, similar to the Brave Heart or Lord of The Rings hopeless battle that has no potential for victory, but of course ends up victorious. What was fun about writing this was I essentially wrote two verses, and left space to create a long, building instrumental. This was the first time I didn't write the song before we started playing, but instead just got the band together and jammed until something created itself. Another unique thing about this song is that I wrote it in both 4/4 and 6/8 time signatures. While we were arranging, we decided to take the 6/8 route, but our drummer kept playing in 4/4. It wasn't until we were in the studio and were having issues with recording properly that we realized that we were playing in different times. But we ended up loving the sound, so we kept it.
So, you, as a listener, can treat "Awake, O Sleeper" as both a thematic start to the entire album, as well as a call for introspection. What darkness in your life should you cast light on?