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Sound Circuit

Staying the course


The High Crest plays Gas Lamp on Wednesday, Aug. 20.

The High Crest plays Gas Lamp on Wednesday, Aug. 20. Photo by Roger D. Feldhans.

The biggest factor that makes The High Crest great — and make no mistake, the duo of Kat Darling and Aaron Earl Short is great — is their ability to be unflinchingly, and at times uncomfortably, honest. There’s a simplicity to the pair’s writing style that can make it easy for anyone who’s not paying attention to write the band off as kind of a lark. But The High Crest’s songs are a master class in the power of honest songwriting. When the emotions and concepts that you’re dealing with are so blatantly truthful, there’s no reason to make the language they’re conveyed in any more flowery than necessary.

“Some of these songs are from very dark places,” Darling admits. “Those are the hardest ones to talk about, the hardest ones to record and the hardest ones to listen to. And I know that those songs are going to be the hardest for the listener as well. But when I make the switch from musician to listener, I know that those are the songs I enjoy the most.”

The duo’s new album is a double disc affair, 24 songs that cover the complete tapestry of the human condition. It was a cathartic project to write and arrange, and now they’re in the final push to get the album pressed and released. It’s been a considerably harder process than their first time through.

“Because of it being a double-length album, the studio costs are about three times more than we spent on the last album,” Darling said.

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Darling and Short are going all-in with The High Crest, and the new double album is a testament to that. The pair is also in the process of selling their home in order to transition into a mobile home to allow them the travel and tour more extensively.

“We’re definitely jumping into a new lifestyle,” Darling said.

“It makes for some stressful nights,” Short admitted. “You kind of lie there awake, feeling the stress in your shoulders. But then (Darling) comes home, and we’ll just talk until 2 in the morning.”

Both admit they couldn’t do it without the other. But with the mutual support and the love of a common goal, every step on their path feels like the right one.

“The most important part is that we just keep creating music,” Darling said. “There’s a lot of logistics involved. But I know that if we’re flexible, the opportunities are out there.” CV

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