Introducing Foxpaw from the Ozark Mountains in Northwest Arkansas.
“Writing songs is like keeping a detailed journal of your life. I got a chance recently to sit down and listen to the new record as a bystander now that enough time has gone by that I felt distanced from the work that went into it. And I was there again in the sweltering Louisiana summer, in the freezing Arkansas winter. I was there in the fall colors of the Ozark Mountains, and against the endless green trees around the Mississippi river. I was there in Troy Alabama with a star map and a flashlight.” – Foxpaw
Folk-Emo act, Foxpaw was raised in Southern Alabama but is currently based near the gorgeous Ozark Mountains in Northwest Arkansas. In late December of 2019, Foxpaw released his LP titled “Still Dreaming, I Never See the Stars.” The record is a raw and intimate collection of songs with deep lyrics and catchy melodies. Inspired by nature and personal events, Foxpaw states that stargazing is one of the main sources of his creativity.
” Nature bleeds into my songwriting a lot. I write the most when I get to hike out into the mountains or head to the beach. Stargazing always makes me feel more creative. When I feel more at home and at one with the world around me, I’m much more inspired. Folklore is also a huge source of inspiration for me, and I try to weave together a mixture of these sources along with events going on in my own life. The Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas where I live now, and the forests and creeks of southern Alabama where I grew up find their way into most of my songs.”
Foxpaw plays guitar, banjo, ukulele, dulcimer, bass guitar, drums and piano and began writing songs under the artist name Foxpaw around 2014. Before he picked up the knack for songwriting he focused on lyrics and poetry. Every artist seems to have a different songwriting process that is unique to them. On his songwriting songwriting he shares that “…most often, the chords come first along with one central line of lyrics that comes to mind. The rest of the lyrics and the melody come together like a puzzle around that central idea of the song.”
The record starts off with a song called “Jericho” that contains a beautiful guitar riff and lyrics about not being able to “see the stars anymore.” The record moves onto another fancy-acoustic guitar performance called “Ashford.” Sounding like an early emo record with an acoustic spin, Fowpaw gets poetic with the lyrics on this track. It truly seems like there is no holding back as an artist when it comes to self expression and complete honesty in the songwriting process.
“Songs have a double meaning when you’re the one writing them. You remember the process and the subject, the medium and the effort. The subject matters as much as the portrait of your past self, stuck in time. This record encompassed 3 full years of my life, and it’s vaguely comforting that a slice of those years is petrified in amber.”
“Birmingham” comes a little later on the record and contains rambling lyrics that tell a story. On Birmingham, Foxpaw says “I have severe anxiety, and it can be tough to shoulder on past it, but Birmingham was a promise to my partner and to myself that I would love her forever even when it feels like the wires in my brain are short-circuiting. The story of the song is interlaced with folk legends from rural Alabama where I grew up, and references locations and landmarks there. The advice I would give to someone in a similar situation is that it’s okay to accept help. Let the people who love you help you when times are hard, and a support network along with proper treatment is so important.”
One of the most country sounding songs on the record is “Out of Egypt.” The song has a banjo which really stands out on the record and dives into his Southern roots.
Foxpaw states “As Quiet as the Dead Sea (I Dreamt of a Farewell on the Walls of Masada)” as being his personal favorite song on the record. When we asked him why he said “…because the electric guitar part was a lot of fun to record, and the songwriting style is a stark contrast to most of my acoustic-focused catalog.”
The record also contains two earlier recorded versions of the first two songs which is quite interesting as you can hear the progression of the songs. Foxpaw is planning to go on his first ever tour this year and also plans to record another LP. Foxpaw is based in Fayetteville, Arkansas where he lives now, and also spends a lot of time in Dothan Alabama where he’s originally from.
Fayetteville, Arkansas is home to the DIY venue Backspace which Foxpaw describes as an “amazing DIY venue and art space.” Foxpaw frequently performs at Backspace.
He listens to a lot of punk and indie rock enjoying Guitar Jar, TÜTH, Sad Palomino, Willi Carlisle, Drawing Blanks, John Charles and more, who all thrive in the local Fayetteville music scene.
Foxpaw also says that there is a “thriving acoustic songwriting scene” in Dothan Alabama. “The Superelevators (who I have a split album with, check it out!) and Sinner’s Gospel are some of my favorite musicians. Featured Players Cabaret is my favorite venue there—it’s part theater, part concert hall, part social hangout!”
For Fans Of: Bright Eyes, AJJ, The Mountain Goats, Cranford Nix, Jets to Brazil
Find out more about Foxpaw on Facebook.
Listen to “Still Dreaming, I Never See the Stars.” on Spotify now:
Written by Ryan Cassata