Being on the road can be rough on a musician. In fact, the late, great Merle Haggard has been quoted as saying he didn’t realize he was signing up for a 40-year bus tour when he decided to become a professional troubadour.
Mipso, the unique string band from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, that has burning up the charts with its latest album, “Edges Run,” captures that angst subtly and beautifully in the band’s latest video release featuring the tune, “Moonlight.”
The double entendre the title refers to is anything but lost in this creative glimpse into what it feels like to be totally alone even when you are surrounded by your friends, whether it’s in a crowded booth in a roadside diner or stuck in the middle seat in the back of the band’s van. The band spends more than 200 days a year on the road in a grassroots effort to connect with old and new fans.
“Some of our best shows have been to small crowds in a new town and we have the best connection,” says Joseph Terrell, the band’s guitarist and lead vocalist.
Mipso first caught my attention at MerleFest four years ago when they performed at the Williams Center and later on the Cabin Stage in between headliners. They had me at the tune, “Carolina Calling.” I have enjoyed following the band’s progression over the years and their latest effort does not disappoint. In fact, I think “Edges Run” is reflective of just how far the band’s sound has matured and grown over the past five years.
Terrell is joined by his bandmate Libby Rodenbough, whose haunting harmonizing paired with the wailing of her fiddle, makes the video all the more poignant.
Terrell explains, “I wrote Moonlight after a breakup while I drove all day back to North Carolina from where I’d been living in Boston. I was sitting in summer traffic on the worst highway in America in a rented minivan full of all my stuff, and I kind of just had to laugh. There’s that voice in your head that wants to tell the world, ‘I’m totally fine!’ when you’re anything but.
“That’s where the idea for the song came from. ‘That silver in my eye? That’s just the moonlight.’
“I’ve always been attracted to songwriters that can tease some humor out of the most serious stuff. Randy Newman or Paul Simon come to mind. In this case it’s a sad situation, but also kind of hilarious—being able to maintain a lie when the truth is so obvious.
“In the video we made with our friend, Joseph Blankinship, we were going for that feeling of being alone in a crowded room.”
Mission accomplished. I particularly love the scene where the band members are performing next to the gas pumps at the Citgo.
But be sure to watch this video all the way to the end. The expression on Terrell’s face, and the accompanying sigh, says it all.
Want to catch Mipso live? Find the band’s latest tour dates at https://www.mipsomusic. com/tour