Rising Canadian duo Crown Lands have released a video for a new track, Context: Fearless Pt. 1, and there’s quite a story behind it.
The band had been working on the song for years, and recorded some demos with Rush producer Terry Brown, who worked with the band from their debut album in 1974 until 1982’s Signals. Then, after refining the song’s structure on the road, they took it to Nashville to work with Nick Raskulinecz, who co-produced Rush’s final two albums, 2007’s Snakes & Arrows and 2012’s Clockwork Angels.
The day before the Nashville session started, news broke that Rush drummer Neil Peart had died after a battle with brain cancer. Crown Lands were ready to cancel the session, but Raskulinecz texted them with a message: “you guys need to carry the torch – you need to come down here.”
Ensconced in the studio, Raskulinecz brought out a drum kit Peart had used on the 2007 Snakes & Arrows album for Crown Lands drummer and singer Cody Bowles to play – a session he refers to as “the most spiritual experience in my life.”
To complete a triumvirate of Rush producers, the band then hooked up with David Bottrill – who put together 2013’s Vapor Trails Remixed – to record the vocals.
“To have grown up with nothing but the purest adoration for this band, to have finally scaled the impossible summit together and sit at the table with our heroes is a humbling surreality unlike anything else,” says Bowles. “Working with these legendary producers-now-friends is something we hold near and dear to us. If life is a wheel, please let it spin.”
The Rush connections don’t end there. The 10-part Context: Fearless Pt. 1 is a literal sonic tribute to the band, a multi-part epic with sections that reference 1981’s classic Red Barchetta and a video featuring a Geddy Lee-style twin-neck Rickenbacker and a cameo from Prince By-Tor himself.
The video itself is also an epic – coming on like a Mandalorian-style excerpt from some previously undiscovered Star Wars franchise – as director Blake Mawson describes: “When Crown Lands approached me about working on a second video together, I was blown away by the scope of the vision they had in mind for their upcoming release.
“In the video, Crown Lands saw themselves as space travellers on a diplomatic mission to spread music to new worlds. A sort of retro-galactic space fable. Among their stop-overs on this voyage is a fallen civilisation on a planet where music and hope had been lost for generations.”
We’re not done yet. The pair have also released Right Way Back, a tribute to Neil Peart. “It’s about the feeling of trying to carry on from where your heroes left off,” says Bowles. You can hear it, and watch the video for Context: Fearless Pt. 1, below.