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An Overnight Low releases holiday-themed single ‘Gold Star’

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Pop music is a wondrous and versatile genre that can evoke powerful feelings and emotions with just the right combination of words, notes and instrumentation. Pop’s possibilities are virtually limitless, and for Chad Walls, leader of the band An Overnight Low, it’s been the perfect medium for his group’s travel-inspired music over the course of three albums and two EPs.

Pop is also a tool that can be used to benefit the greater good, as evidenced by the release of An Overnight Low’s new holiday-themed single, “Gold Star,” which is currently generating funds for Portland’s Center for Grieving Children.

Walls says he’s a fan of most styles of music, but his heart is in creating melodic pop. His former band The Frotus Caper (named after the final episode of “The Monkees,” but purposely misspelled to avoid any legal hassles) recorded an abundance of original material and even provided backing for Peter Tork when the late former Monkee played a southern Maine gig back in the day.

An Overnight Low was formed to realize the songs that Walls, a resident of Biddeford, had written based on a series of journeys to and from the United Kingdom where he’d been living and studying to obtain his Doctorate in Education.

Following a series of travel delays, the former student, now a professor at three Maine colleges, began compiling a series of photos, videos and interviews that he’d collected during his stay. Common themes began to emerge from the random cluster of mementos leading Walls to craft a series of songs around them.

The songs Walls wrote appear on a trilogy of albums titled after the train stations he most frequented in London, Manchester and Edinburgh: “Euston,” released in 2014, “Piccadilly,” issued in 2015, and “Waverley” from 2016. The songs referenced locations, relationships, holidays, events and experiences he’d enjoyed during his travels, and they became a hit with the U.K. audience when aired on Manchester radio.

When his band’s U.K. publicist suggested a fourth LP, Walls began writing songs for “Connolly,” a two-part album based on his experiences and impressions of visiting Dublin, Ireland. The first installment appeared as a four song EP in the spring of this year and raised money for the staff of Elements, a Biddeford venue specializing in coffee, craft beer, books and live music.

The first installment of “Connolly” is about the journey Walls took from Wales to Dublin while part two, including “Gold Star,” is about his experiences in the Irish capital.

“Connolly, Pt. 2” was originally scheduled for release last month but has been held back until next spring to give Walls a chance to retool some of the material already recorded and to fully realize three new recently written tunes.

“Gold Star” will be featured on the second “Connolly” EP, and is up for immediate download now, backed with “Albert’s Square” (from “Piccadilly”) for one dollar from An Overnight Low’s Bandcamp page.

“Gold Star” is a tasty bite of bright power pop with an infectious chord progression and a subtle metaphorical message about dealing with loss during the holiday season. “It isn’t directly a Christmas song, but it has some holiday themes,” Walls says.

“Gold Star” features Sam Anderson and Chris White on guitars while Walls plays bass and drums. The drum tracks, he says, are vintage takes he laid down circa 1998 as a member of The Frotus Caper. When he transferred the contents of a recently discovered 2-inch reel to reel tape to Pro Tools, Walls realized those analog drum tracks would provide the ideal backing he sought for the song.

According to the songwriter, “Gold Star” is a song about a person separated from a loved one and missing them dearly before realizing that person is alive in their memories.

“They see gold stars everywhere they look – on signs, on tickets, on dressing rooms,” Walls explains. “They realize that the gift they have is all of the memories of this person and realizing that person is actually everywhere.”

Funds generated from the sale of “Gold Star” through December 11 will go directly to Portland’s Center for Grieving Children through WCYY radio’s annual Markathon, an annual benefit project that raised $80,000 last December for the non-profit organization which provides and outreach and support for grieving children and families.

“Albert’s Square,” originally from An Overnight Low’s album “Piccadilly,” is a perfect B-side for “Gold Star,” with its lyrics referencing an array of holiday images Walls witnessed while strolling through Manchester’s Christmas markets. Musicians Mac Coldwell, Chris Mayo and Emory Taillon join Walls on the song.

(“Gold Star/Albert’s Square” is available from www.AnOvernightLow.Bandcamp.com.)  

Last modified on Wednesday, 09 December 2020 07:44

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