Weston Skaggs on How His New Record Speaks to Weighty Issues Such as Suffering, Death & Hope

weston skaggs

Old Bear Records recording artist, Weston Skaggs has delivered an incredible piece of work with this new EP titled 'Till I See You Again'.  

'Till I See You Again' is the first of two EP's Weston is set to release in 2020. There is something really special about this release and the collection of songs Weston has written. Not only is this album drenched in emotion and written out of the overflow of tears and love. Each and every song is soaked in textures and soundscapes that pull you into the thematic stories of memories, family, love and loss. You can hear the emotion of raw honesty & feeling in Westons voice as he poured out his heart with tears streaming down his face during the recording process.

Producer, Chris Hoisington and Old Bear Records is known for beyond the norm creativity and production that is unmatched and this album is a prime example of it. From the Lo-Fi tape hiss and layers of vocal harmonies, vintage synthesizers, mellotron & the genius work of Evan Sieling on mixing and mastering this project is like no other folk album. Weston Skaggs is known for his storyteller's style of writing, and this album is gold on so many levels.

Q:  Weston, thanks for catching up with us again.  Let's start with yourself, can you tell us about yourself and your current ministry?

I'm a singer songwriter, worship pastor, and registered nurse from northeast Ohio. I've been juggling those 3 different vocational hats for 6 years now. I have a wife (Amy) and three kids (Paisley 5, Boaz 3, and Amara 1). And I'm signed to Old Bear Records where I'm currently recording my 5th studio album.

Q:  Congratulations on the release of your new EP, what were the events or/and who was behind the inspiration of this EP? 

2018 was a tumultuous year for my family: the patriarchs on both sides of my family passed away within 3 months of each other and - in contrast to that sadness - we adopted our daughter Amara Joy. This brought an atmosphere of tension, of push and pull that I couldn't reconcile.

So for the writing process of 'TIL I SEE YOU AGAIN, I started from a place of trying to work out that angst. In the past with writing songs, I often knew exactly what I wanted to say. But this time around I often couldn't quite put my finger on it until I worked it out on the page.

Q:  I have read that this was not only a very emotional record for you not only to write but to also record.  Why is this so?

This album deals with themes of family, loss, time, and distance. All of these are heavy subjects and in the past I've always had a couple joyful or even outright humorous songs to lighten the mood of the record but this one was very thematic and stayed in the same headspace. We entered the studio straight off of a tour run so I was already missing my family and then my son had some health issues while I was away and it was difficult to be separated from them during that (he's perfectly healthy now). The recording process was complicated because we chose to be very ambitious sonically and I had doubts at times as to whether we could pull it off. 

Q:  It's a sober and soul-searching record, where you deal with lots of issues, one of them being death.  Why did you feel a need to address this issue on this record?

It was just the season that we had walked through while I was writing - both of my grandfathers had passed away that year and I had friends who lost children. I felt hyper aware of the sorrows of life that we all like to keep on the back burner. The only way to healing, though, is to look at those things head on. I hope this album finds people who are in a similar place and that they'll feel they're not alone.

Q:  I  love how you tell stories.  I love how you allude to the Bible stories of Jesus, Paul and Lydia on the song "Carpenter Boy."  For our readers who may not have heard the song, tell us what's the song about.  And how did this song come about?

Many of us wonder if our work will be remembered - some days if it even matters at all. For a creative with a "day job", it can be easy to diminish the more mundane work that we do that isn't on a platform being noticed by others. And then I thought of Jesus: 30 years of His life are not recorded. How must He have felt waiting for His public ministry to begin? We can be sure He was faithful in the little things and that even the mundane tasks He performed were made holy by the care with which He did them. And I just expended that thought out to Paul as a tent maker and Lydia as a businesswoman and hostess. Our work done in the name of Christ will never pass away.

Q:  What about "Nyle."  What's the story behind this song?

Not much could slow my grandpa Skaggs down. He was a kind, hard working, godly man. He was hauling mulch hours after his first chemo treatment for pancreatic cancer. The disease sadly progressed very quickly but in those last few weeks we were able to spend time with him and have a lot of good conversation. He'd say things he needed to say and we'd say things we needed to say. After his funeral some of those conversations that were so poignant stayed swirling in my head and informed the lyrics of the song.

Q: "Dear Charlotte" sounds like it's a song about the regrets of not keeping in touch with a distant relative. Is this song autobiographical?

My grandmother's cousin Charlotte lives in rural Vermont and has a personal letter writing ministry. She always carries a satchel full of writing supplies and envelopes and, whenever she has a free moment, she writes letters to nearly everyone she knows on their birthday. Though we've only met twice in my life, that handwritten letter still shows up every September when my birthday rolls around - even after the loss of her husband. Its and act of kindness that I hadn't learned to truly appreciate until recent years. One day I was struck with a pang when I realized I'd hardly ever replied. I was sitting down to write that morning and in less than an hour had this song finished. I now more regularly keep in touch with her.

Q:  What are some of take away messages you want listeners to grasp after hearing this record?

That the hard themes being addressed are worth sitting with. We avoid allowing ourselves to sit in the tension of these things. Looking at the effects of Time, as in 'It Won't Always Be This Way', helps us to not just connect to the sadness it brings but to a deeper hope as well.

Q:  You also have another EP coming later this year.  When will this EP be released?  Can you give us a sneak peek of it?

I'm actually in the studio today working on this project. Its currently unnamed but it will be a six song EP as well. Whereas 'TIL I SEE YOU AGAIN is a lonely folk album, this one has more hooks and is a brighter and more band oriented record. My goal is still to ask tough questions without always 'fixing' the situation or providing pat answers to the problem.

To find out more about Skaggs or/and to purchase his music, click here.


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