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Good Old War: In Harmony … Again.

March 12, 2012

Text by Jillian Mallon. Image by G.W. Miller III.

Good Old War, the three-piece folk act that calls Philadelphia their home, completed their third full-length album after touring, recording and growing as a band. The album, Come Back as Rain, dropped on March 6. The title is an homage to an unfinished song of the same name written in honor of lead singer Keith Goodwin’s late aunt.

The songs on this album are similar to those of its two predecessors – 2010’s self-titled album and 2008’s Only Way to Be Alone – in that they combine acoustic guitar and pounding percussion with the voices of Keith Goodwin, Tim Arnold and Dan Schwartz in their signature three-part harmony. Goodwin says the songs vary in style.

“There are upbeat songs that are kind of chillin’, head-bobbing-type stuff and a couple serious ballad-type songs,” he offers. “But overall, I’d say the mood is kind of easygoing.”

The writing and recording processes for this album were much more collaborative than with their previous albums.

“It started out kind of the same way, where each of us would have individual songs that we had worked on by ourselves,” says Goodwin. “This time we just sat down and we made sure that everybody was happy with everything and really took time, went over it, sang it, demoed it, listened back to it and made the changes depending on how we felt about it after all that.”

All three members wrote “Loud Love” together.

Goodwin says, “We had the chorus and we were just like, ‘Play a verse, whatever it means to you, and we will just keep it.’ It’s cool because we all sat there kind of in silence for a little bit while everybody was writing their own verse. And then we recorded it.”

As Good Old War’s first album in two years, Come Back as Rain showcases the improvements the band has made as they’ve grown closer through touring and practice.

“We kind of got a sweet work ethic down,” boasts Goodwin. “We try to impress each other with the songs that we write. I think it’s getting a lot easier to write harmonies, to come up with cool arrangements together.”

Though this album has Good Old War sticking to their regular three-piece routine, the band now sees an opportunity to try expanding to a larger backing band in the future. This way, Good Old War can produce more layered tracks that can create a more exciting live performance.

Sticking to the harmonic philosophy of the band, however, remains important, Goodwin explains.

“If we were to get other people,” he says, “I’m sure we’d make sure that they could all sing.”

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