With Colony House’s third full-length album, Leave What’s Lost Behind [Roon Records], the Nashville quartet—Caleb Chapman [vocals], Will Chapman [drums], Scott Mills [guitar], and Parke Cottrell [bass]—stitch together a singular folklore between threads of stadium rock scope, alternative experimentation, and indie spirit, making a bold statement in the process. “Leave What’s Lost Behind is a bit of an experiment,” explains Caleb. “After a confusing season of trying to figure out what Colony House was supposed to sound like next, we put that on hold and began focusing on what Colony House wanted to communicate next.”
A confluence of serendipity, fate, and inspiration brought the group here. They quietly steamrolled into the mainstream on their 2014 full-length debut, When I Was Younger. Its lead single “Silhouettes” not only generated over 30 million total streams, but it also stood out as the #1 most-played track on SiriusXM’s Alt Nation for four consecutive months.
In between constant touring and performances onLate Night with Seth Meyers, CONAN, and Today, 2017’s Only The Lonely yielded fan favorites “You Know It” and “You & I.” Not to mention, they garnered widespread praise from the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Paste, Clash, Huffington Post, A.V. Club, Earmilk, and many others.
After nearly two years of solid touring without recording, the musicians found themselves at a crossroads.
“With managers, labels, and peers offering a moving target of opinion on what Colony House should do next, we knew our approach to this next album had to change.” Scott Mills explains.
At the top of 2018, the band transitioned out of the major label system. A welcomed change the group saw as more of an opportunity than a setback.
“We scrapped nearly everything we had written for the last couple of years and started from scratch.” Caleb continues. “When all the voices, real or in your own head are silenced, an amazing new perspective takes shape. That empty space we call writer's block quickly turns into a space bursting at the seams with new ideas and inspiration.”
As Caleb demoed initial ideas, a phone call from his grandfather changed everything.
“I was back at home writing, or trying to, and I just felt empty and stuck,” he admits. “I had my head down on the piano thinking about what to do because I couldn’t figure out what direction to go in. The phone rang with a Kentucky number. Assuming it was a robot, I ignored it. It rang again, so I answered and it was my grandpa calling from his music shop. We only spoke for a few minutes, but my grandpa told me that he had just been thinking about me and thinking about the band. The main thing he wanted to tell me was that he loved me and was praying for me and that he believed big things were going to come from the songs I was working on. In a way that’s never happened before, our simple conversation directed the way I wanted to take the album. I needed to tell a universal tale of someone trying, continuing to fail, and giving up on themselves. I’ve had the feeling of not being enough all throughout my life and I know I'm not alone in that feeling. I wanted to explore why so many of us feel this way and why we all handle it so differently.”
The narrative would be culled from various totems in Caleb’s life. The runaway owes a loose debt to his great grandfather (grandpa’s dad) and a box of beautiful letters he wrote to his great grandmother, which hinted “he was trying to get his life back together in order to be the father and husband he wanted to be.” At the same time, Caleb’s son developed a fascination for trains, laying the foundation for the setting (and his great grandparents both worked for the railroad).
At the top of 2019, the band teamed up with Ben Shive, who produced Colony House’s first album When I Was Younger, to begin working onLeave What’s Lost Behind. Colony House operated without rules, tapping into the freedom of their formative years as a band. The first single “Looking For Some Light” illuminates that direction. Lush guitar gives way to sweeping strings and strong keys before a luminous cathedral-size chant takes hold. “As soon as the chorus materialized for ‘Looking for Some Light,’ we knew that we wanted this ‘common thread truth’ to be woven throughout the project. These times we live in can feel so dark and divisive. It gives us some sort of comfort and hope to consider/remember that we are all in this together. Everybody is looking for some light!”
From a three part narrative that evokes American folklore to deeply personal tracks confronting faith, purpose, and the insecurities that exist inside it all, Colony House’s third album is an endeavor designed to be experienced in its entirety.
“Call us old fashioned, but we still think albums are important and that a collection of songs in support of each other holds a unique power.
We want to take the listener on a journey a single song never could.”
In the end, Colony House delivers a story meant to be inhabited like a timeless novel.