Late last month, celebrated roots-rock band Dispatch announced the launch of an extraordinary, multi-part project that will be released in a series of specific phases. The journey begins with the chaos of Phase 1 and continues today with the release of the first track from Phase 2. The bittersweet “As Old As I” channels the heartache of missed opportunities and lost loved ones coming into sharp focus. PRESS HERE to listen and HERE to read WBUR’s “first look” piece.
This groundbreaking series of phased drops will culminate in the band’s eighth studio album in 2021. PRESS HERE to listen to the album’s first three tracks “May We All,” “All This Time,” and “One By One.” (Phase 1).
This music is pure Dispatch, blending infectious roots rock with hints of reggae, folk and blues, and the production is suitably lean and energetic, leaving plenty of space for some of the group’s most pointed political lyrics to date. The result is a timely and essential collection of songs from a band still breaking new ground two and a half decades into its storied career, an ode to resilience and survival that manages to find hope and joy on even the darkest of days.
Over the last year, bandmates Chadwick Stokes and Brad Corrigan have encountered and transcended unprecedented personal change against the backdrop of the societal upheaval that we have all been experiencing. While personally facing the death of loved ones and the joy of childbirth, Stokes and Corrigan have also parted ways with their beloved partner and bandmate, Pete Francis who stepped away in 2018 to focus on mental health. These new songs were written and recorded as the band’s means to process all this change, in the spirit of collective awakening with all its pain and beauty. This multi-phase project speaks not only to the band’s personal evolution, but to human nature itself.
“Everyone in this country has been facing some kind of turmoil these last four years,” said Chadwick Stokes. “As fathers of young kids who worry about what kind of world we’re leaving behind, as people who’ve lost family and friends to suicide and addiction, as bandmates navigating this transition from trio to duo, I think that feeling of everything being in flux was particularly acute for Brad and me. Writing’s always been the way we’ve made sense of the world, though, so that’s what we did.”
Adds Brad Corrigan, “We wanted to walk people through the feelings of sadness and anger and loss we’ve all been experiencing lately and take them to the other side. We wanted to deliver them to a place where they’re wiser and more compassionate, a place where they’re kinder and more unified, a place where they’re ready to truly protect and care for each other.”
These are lofty goals at any time, let alone at the end of the brutal year we’ve all experienced, and that’s the challenge Stokes and Corrigan were compelled to meet.
Stay tuned for updates, information and the completion of Phase 2 in the coming weeks.