“The chilling-yet-angelic song “Ghost Towns”… resembles the wisdom a grey sparrow might sing you after it lands on a fence from a long flight north. It offers the song as wisdom as the creature catches its breath before moving on again.” - American Songwriter
On their new record Tall Tales & Fables (October 15, 2021), Nashville duo Haunted Like Human delves deeper into inspired songwriting, sparse arrangements, and, naturally, the frisson-inducing harmonies that marked their previous two releases. Despite the album’s title, these songs are honest, above all else. Real, tender, messy honesty.
“We put a ton of emphasis on storytelling in each of our songs. We tell our own stories, we tell other people’s stories, we tell stories that we’ve seen from touring,” says Cody Clark, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. Limned with nostalgia, soaked in Southern gothic lore, the duo meticulously assembles songs to preserve the spirit of the stories they tell. “When we write, we will beat a couple lines to death for two hours. In the end, it gets us to something we’re really proud of,” lead singer and lyricist Dale Chapman says.
With a background in poetry and prose, her granular focus on language is simpatico with Clark’s background in classical guitar. Though he began playing in metal and punk bands, Clark’s evolution meant studying composition at the Lionel Hampton School of Music at the University of Idaho. There, he focused on classical guitar. After purchasing a steel-string guitar and switching to an entirely fingerpicked style, Clark knew he’d found a place in acoustic music, stripped down so that each note carries its own weight.
It was this evolution that inspired Clark to drive from Oregon to Nashville in 2017. Hoping to find collaborators who were serious about music. Within a couple days, he met Chapman at a coffee shop. She deduced that he was a lost tourist and struck up a conversation, leading to a cowriting session. Next thing they knew, Clark had relocated to Nashville and they were making their first album, Ghost Stories. On the heels of that, they offered up their Folklore EP, featuring standout single “Feels Like Fire.” While that EP sought to channel the minimalist, intimate spirit of their live shows, Tall Tales & Fables is the next step in their maturation. Polished but not shiny, the album benefits from Mitch Dane’s production. Together with skilled string players, the album developed its own life while staying true to Clark and Chapman’s partnership, one built on literal and metaphorical voices.
“Every choice on this record was really intentional,” says Chapman. That shows in the attention to detail, how every element serves to highlight the harmonies and songwriting that are the spine of this project. Performed live, these songs take on a transparent and personal quality, augmented by the duo’s instant camaraderie with the crowd. Haunted Like Human opened for The Talbott Brothers at Nashville’s City Winery in 2019, and in pre-Covid 2020, they shared a stage with Ordinary Elephant at the Corpus Christi Songwriters Fest.
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