LOVE BY NUMB3RS—the Portland, Maine-based trio who chart a course through eloquent alternative, dusty blues, graceful folk, and rootsy rock—have shared the video for “Western Son,” a highlight of their indie full-length debut album PARACHUTE. Watch the video here. It was premiered at Glide Magazine which noted that the band “bring a sultry and twangy Nashville sound from the northeastern continental 48s. The band offers a timeless polished sound that brings the earthy smoky overtones of Linda Ronstadt, Gillian Welch, and Grace Potter.”
LOVE BY NUMB3RS consists of co-vocalists DAN CONNOR and ANNA LOMBARD and multi-instrumentalist JON ROODS, the latter two of whom directed the beautifully striking “Western Son” video. It was shot along the coastal and woodsy roads of the group’s home state of Maine. See the Q&A below with ANNA LOMBARD about the making of the video.
“Western Son captivates with its delicate groove, haunting sound and ANNA’s immense vocal range. In ANNA’s words, the song “Lyrically, it's setting the scene for what life ‘would have’ or ‘could have’ been like for the son I never had…”
PARACHUTE turns the page on the next chapter of three longtime friends and collaborators. After 15 years of friendship, countless memories, two albums and a 100-plus shows in the band Gypsy Tailwind, the trio thread together an unforgettable journey.
Here’s a Q&A with ANNA LOMBARD about “Western Son”:
Q: Where was the video shot?
ANNA: “The majority of the video was shot in Cape Elizabeth out at Ram Island Farm, an area of Cape where I spent a lot of time as a kid. This includes the drone footage of the winding road, the views of coastal Maine, the bridge over the river...as well as the scenes of me driving the VW. The headshots were filmed in our living room, and the clip of our guitarist Josh (who is a Chief Mate and steers a tugboat) was shot in N.Y. Harbor on a classic ocean-going tugboat--112' long with locomotive engines--on his way back from assisting a container ship through a bridge around a turn. He was sitting on the aft deck, near the tow winch, when he cut his scene. The scenes with the boy were on my brother's farm right off the road where the initial drone footage of the car was filmed. His sons built this little wooded amphitheatre that they named EVERGLOW, and we wanted Harry to be a little carefree boy discovering that special spot.”
Q: Any good anecdotes happen during the filming?
ANNA: “Jon had to sit in the back of Dan’s SUV with the hatch door open while filming the VW car shots and almost fell out about 12 times. Jon had Macgyver’d a camera rig for the scene of all three of us in the bug and placed it on the hood. It was a four-foot piece of one by three with a makeshift camera mount glued and taped to it, strapped onto the car via a ratchet strap, and center on a towel so the car didn’t get scratched. The rig fell apart right as we finished the last cut for that scene and pulled into the driveway, thank God.”
Q: What was the inspiration for the song?
ANNA: “For me, this song is about the son none of us ever had. We have four healthy, beautiful daughters (two each) but neither of us ever had boys! Personally, having girls was so foreign to me, as I grew up the youngest and only girl with all older brothers. Navigating through raising girls seemed so daunting to me, as I consider myself to be a bit of a tomboy. It was kind of like, ‘OK..how the hell am I going to do this?’ Lyrically, we tried setting the scene for what it ‘would have’ or ‘could have’ been... So, it's kind of this dreamed up idea of having a boy. There are lyrics like ’there's a church up on the hill, above a town you could've known so well’; and the church on the hill in the video is a 200+ year old church in the town I grew up in, where one of my aunts was married and adjacent to a cemetery where many family members of mine over the years have been laid to rest. How would life be different if I had been a mother, or if Dan had been a father to sons? What lessons would they have taught us? Perhaps the lessons I needed to learn only happened from becoming a mother of two girls instead…learning to break the cycle of familial toxicity and be to them what I needed when I was younger. For Dan, the original skeleton of the song was about being married to someone, having a son, and then going through a divorce and losing custody as the mother heads west and he never sees the boy again (not autobiographical FYI).
Q: For the video, what were you looking to visually achieve?
ANNA: “Beautiful landscapes, something that felt fun, easy to watch, and felt good. Our last video was so heavy...both Jon and I felt as though this was something that maybe could make people smile as they are watching. We wanted to give some visual components to the lyrics in a literal sense but also portraying innocence...something easily relatable to the viewer and with a pure, unadulterated playful vibe."
Q: The car in the video is one that seems to reflect a carefree attitude from another era. Why was the car chosen for the “road trip?”
ANNA: “We chose the car because it belongs to our friend and exec producer Alex. Easy decision. We just wanted an old car to drive around the town and shoot scenes. I think given the fact that this song sounds a little old school, we wanted to have a car that matched that era of music. It is a 1979 beetle, mint condition. So fun to drive, I almost took off forever in it.”
Q: As the video closes, we see the character triumphantly holding a sword as almost a sign if victory. Why did you choose to end the clip that way?
ANNA: “The boy in the end of the video is my nephew--we were going for this fictitious character as I mentioned above, but Harry is this wild, carefree, adventurous and fearless little boy...so we decided that he should resemble a cross between Max from Where The Wild Things Are [book and film] and maybe a character from the classic CS Lewis Chronicles of Narnia [book and film]. A little boy finding a sword and checking out this magical little amphitheatre, where he found himself free to explore without being under the thumb of a parent or rules of any kind. I think the sword as a sign of victory at the end was meant to just convey that no matter what, the fictional character ends up being, even if I wasn’t blessed with a boy. Maybe he's there in your heart, maybe you know that it wasn't meant to be. Maybe it’s the point where one of us realizes that our journeys as parents were exactly as they were meant to be and so it allows this fictional character to kind of go on existing in this magical, made up, ethereal and peaceful way.”