Photo by BarbaraFG
Texas singer/songwriter Marcus William Striplin named his cosmic folk rock project Margaret Chavez in honor of his mother, who nurtured his interest in music from an early age–in spite of his abusive father and the hardships of her own life. Striplin tells one harrowing chapter of her story in “Honeysuckles,” a track from the upcoming album Into An Atmosphere that shows her continued influence on his artistic spirit. But on his latest single, “H O R A,” he takes a broader look at time and space in the project’s most progressive outing to date.
True to the album title, “H O R A” is an eight-minute atmospheric odyssey built on heavy guitar effects, gorgeous vocal harmonies, and drum beats orbiting in parallel. It builds with a whirl of spacey ambition, and, according to Striplin, it’s another case of finding inspiration in his closest relationships.
“This song is an appreciation of my loved ones and a celebration of their idiosyncrasies,” he says. “I’ve had this melodic loop in my brain for years, but I couldn’t find the proper lyrical, emotional connection. All the while, I knew it would have a foundation that dealt with mortality. Death is a part of our journey, and I’d like to encourage folks to watch it and soak it in, like a road trip through the Mojave Desert or the Great Smoky Mountains.”
Striplin says he’s done his own share of soaking in those metaphysical vistas, coming uncomfortably close to the premature end of his life. That gives him a unique perspective on the precariousness of it all, but in each of the track’s wild buildups, he sticks to a reassuring refrain: “You’ve got time.”
“Death is the one guaranteed event that we all face, and I’ve had so many near-death experiences that I’m lucky to still be able to watch the madness and the beauty,” Striplin says. “I’m a watcher and observer of this life. I’m a witch, a wizard, and a voyager, watching happy accidents take place all the time. I see the mating of dragonflies and grackles, and I’m a witness to the magic of random acts of kindness. I figure if I use this kind of magic, it’ll spread.”
“H O R A” follows the release of other singles from the record, “The Croupiers Unite I.C.E.” and the title track, “Into An Atmosphere.” The full album comes out July 31 via We Know Better Records, featuring studio contributions from Stuart Sikes, Greg Calbi, Paul Williams, and Don Cento.