River Whyless – “Darkness In Mind”

In the time following their 2016 sophomore album We All The Light, there was a lot of change in the lives of the individual members of North Carolina folk-rock band River Whyless. Some settled down with spouses while others moved across the country searching to clarify their identity. Eventually, they came back together, channeling new experiences into the band’s forthcoming third album Kindness, A Rebel.

So far, River Whyless have previewed the album with several singles. And because each member writes songs and the group boasts three singers, the material we’ve heard so far covers a lot of ground: from the autumnal hues of “Born In The Right Country,” to the sprightly and sunny indie of “Van Dyke Brown,” and a traveler’s lovelorn missive from the road in “Motel 6.” With the arrival of Kindness, A Rebel just a few more weeks away, the band has now returned with a final single: “Darkness In Mind.”

The track is the first thing we’ve heard from Kindness, A Rebel to feature violinist/vocalist Halli Anderson taking the mic. Here’s what she had to say about the inspiration behind the song:

Three unshakable people (a stranger, a brother, and a friend) have led to the writing of “Darkness In Mind.” The first is a mill-worker whom I displaced when buying a house in Astoria, OR. The second, a welder in Louisville, KY with cancer and no health insurance, and the third, a conservative rancher in Etowah, NC, where I grew up. Together they make the imagined character that I’m addressing in “Darkness”: a middle-aged white male cannery worker who appears to live in an entirely different world than me. From employment, to politics, to religion, we are on opposite sides of a wall. I search for the connecting thread that can tie us together, from my little hopeful bubble to his. The song is an effort to understand someone else while I simultaneously tangle with a growing piece of guilt that is born from the luxury of being able to choose to pursue my passions. We both work our asses off and we both go to bed hurting at night, but are we working for the same thing? Is it comparable? Compatible? What is it? The seed germinates in my mind and is contaminating even the most upbeat songs, for better or for worse, and leading me to ask “What am I making love for?”

“Darkness In Mind” is also the best song the band’s unveiled from Kindness, A Rebel. It’s a chugging, lightly psychedelic track — a persistent highway groove augmented with backwards effects and flickery guitar lines. Anderson’s presence is key, though. She sighs and coos her way through all the sounds warping around her, giving “Darkness In Mind” the feeling of a hazy meditation. Check it out below.


06/01 – Charlotte, NC @ Live on the Green at First Ward Park
06/02 – Herndon, VA @ Herndon Festival
06/03 – Nelsonville, OH @ Nelsonville Music Festival
06/07 – Roanoke, VA @ Martin’s Downtown
06/08 – Alexandria, VA @ Grist Mill Park
06/09 – Canton, NC @ Cold Mountain Festival
06/10 – Roswell, GA @ Chattahoochee Nature Center
06/12 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
06/13 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
06/15 – Fall River, MA @ Narrows Center for the Arts *
06/16 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott *
06/17 – Croton-on-Hudson, NY @ Pete Seeger’s Clearwater Revival
06/19 – Buffalo, NY @ 9th Ward at Babeville *
06/20 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues ^
06/21 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall *
06/22 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry *
06/23 – Viroqua, WI @ Pierce Hill Performing Arts *
06/25 – Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck *
06/27 – Vail, CO @ Vail Bluegrass Series
06/28 – Pueblo, CO @ Brues Alehouse Brewing Company
07/19 – Nashville, TN @ High Watt +
07/20 – Chattanooga, TN @ Songbirds +
07/21 – Tallahassee, FL @ Sundown Summer Concert Series
07/23 – Mobile, AL @ The Merry Widow
07/25 – New Orleans, LA @ The Parish at House of Blues +
07/26 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall – Upstairs +
07/27 – Austin, TX @ 3Ten at ACL Live +
07/28 – Dallas, TX @ Three Links +
07/30 – Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad +
07/31 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar +
08/01 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah +
08/02 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Moroccan Lounge +
08/03 – Anaheim, CA @ The Parish at House of Blues +
08/04 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel +
08/06 – Sacramento, CA @ Goldfield Trading Post +
08/07 – Arcata, CA @ Humboldt Brews +
08/09 – Eugene, OR @ HiFi Lounge +
08/10 – Bend, OR @ Volcanic Theatre +
08/11 – Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater +
08/12 – Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern +
08/13 – Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett +
08/15 – Bozeman, MT @ Live from the Divide
08/16 – Salt Lake City, UT @ State Room
08/19 – Lyons, CO @ Rocky Mountain Folks Fest
08/21 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
08/22 – St. Louis, MO @ Duck Room
08/24 – Indianapolis, IN @ White Rabbit Cabaret
09/05 – Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall
09/06 – Bar Harbor, ME @ Criterion Theatre
09/23 – Louisville, KY @ Bourbon & Beyond

* w/ Jalen N’Gonda
^ supporting Lake Street Dive
+ w/ Adam Torres

Kindness, A Rebel is out 6/8 via Roll Call Records. Pre-order it here.