Good Old War| Photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN
Keith Goodwin’s reflective “Where Do We Go From Here” raises spirits, makes room for interactivity
Keith Goodwin, a third of the Philly-based alt-folk group Good Old War, seems to have followed suit with a lot of other local musicians and released a perfectly topical single entitled “Where Do We Go From Here.”
It’s been about two years since Good Old War in full put out any music, and Goodwin spent much of his time in 2019 on the road supporting Anthony Green’s solo tour. Lately, Goodwin has been at home with his wife and kids, and that was the driving inspiration behind this drop. The song comes as a surprise release to us, but he’s actually been sitting on a lot of works-in-progress for the better part of a year.
The song is canvassed on a synchronic fingerpicked acoustic guitar, layered with echoing slides and — as one of the stem tracks is labeled — trills of twinkling rhodes. It reminds me of all the best parts of a Good Old War song, stripped down and percussion-free. Goodwin is a master at harmonics, and the vocals on this track shine so brightly. Each line is ambient and telling, with lyrics that speak all too truly to our current state of things. Where do we go from here? How do we move through all of this uncertainty?
“It took all that’s going on in the world right now to give me the urge to start sharing the music I’ve been working on over the last year,” Goodwin said. “I’ve been at home with my wife and two boys the last couple of weeks trying to process everything and it’s overwhelming. The other day I decided to make a song with my boys for music class. [You can find those on his Instagram highlights, and they’re worth the adorable watch.] At the end of the day I felt good/normal. I took a break from constantly refreshing Twitter and checking news. And I thought it might be a good idea to give my friends and followers some new music to get their mind off of everything for a second.”
Along with the Bandcamp single, Goodwin also released all of the individual stems from the track so other artists can play around with it themselves and add, change, or remix it. Other artists are taking similar notes from Goodwin and trying their hand at remote fan collaboration. Anthony Green took to Twitter to ask listeners to submit lyrics or guitar riffs so they could build a song together. Creativity seems to be at a swell despite the lack of contact, and it’s a relief to see this huge boom of releases despite, and because of, the surrounding chaos.