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The Spinning Leaves: Serious, Honest and Unbridled.

June 13, 2012

Text and image by Megan Matuzak.

In the basement of the Wolf Building at 12th and Callowhill, a group of friends, family and newcomers are bathed by the cool purple lights in Underground Arts, a new creative incubator. By the merch table, Michael Baker’s red suit and shimmering ruby neck pendant draw people to the 7-inch copy of The Spinning Leaves latest EP Head Aglow.

Barbara Gettes’ boots click and clack as she approaches the table, and two musical architects of the indie/folk project, The Spinning Leaves, are united.

“There is an honesty that came out with the album,” Gettes begins

“Our first album was an explosion of love,” Baker continues as he adjusts his purple Hawaiian shirt covered in fish and seashells. “It was happy, magical and exciting!”

“And dreamy,” Gettes adds.

“This one is serious and honest,” Baker says, and then takes another drag from his cigarette.  “It’s about power unbridled, fire and dreams.”

Head Aglow carves out the reality of the pursuit of love, music and life for the Spinning Leaves, Gettes notes with sincerity. The EP was released in late April, near the anniversary of the start of a cross-country tour last year. In the months after that adventure and their return to Philadelphia in August, The Spinning Leaves wrote Head Aglow, re-establishing the relationship of the bandmates and their ability to communicate through music.

“It’s about relationships,” Baker explains as he glances at Barbara. “When two people come together, they can just mess with each other in a zillion different ways. It’s the most beautiful thing to not be alone but at the same time you can hurt each other as much as you can help. It’s a beautiful, spacey waltz, a meditation on the fact that there are two people right beside each other and it’s beautiful that they are together. But there is beauty and ugliness to it all the same time.”

Gettes and Baker sing together throughout the track “Knife Arms.” They speak to each other in the song, revealing some painful truths. The track traces the ups and downs of a weathering relationship, which was hard to sing about at first Gettes admits.

The second track, “Shades of Red,” is about a burning fire. Baker notes that it was the only song they wrote together completely. Although they had so much to say to each other, music was the only way to fix the distance in their own lives.

“We had lost sight that music was our joy,” he says. “We were talking about what we were doing instead of doing it.”

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