Inspirations that Echo what these Mountains are All About: Writing the Album Cabin Run
By Matt Borror of the band The Hounded
There’s a small creek that runs parallel to route 46 called Cabin Run that connects Keyser, West Virginia to Fort Ashby, West Virginia. Both sides of my family have either lived there at one point or currently still live there. I remember many mornings before I was of school-age when my mother would quietly wake me up and take me to my grandmother’s house across from the state police barracks. My grandmother would usually have sausage gravy prepared for me and give me coffee that I wasn’t supposed to have. I’d choke it down just for kicks even though I couldn’t stand it simply because it was ritual. Afterward, I’d ask to go outside and I’d roam the family plot that the run ran through. My great-grandmother lived on one side, and my mother’s aunt lived on the other with a second cousin who was my age. That was my early childhood.
Later in life, many of those same people have gone. My father’s side of the family is all buried at Cabin Run Cemetery. My father passed away from cancer in 2009 when I was an angry young man and very troubled. Unfortunately, I’d not discovered songwriting then and did not use music as an outlet. Gig money was simply a means to fuel my self-destruction. Years passed and many things continued to not make sense until I started to become some early version of the person I am today. Ironically, it coincided with songwriting. An entirely new realm of self-discovery and exploration opened up to me, free of the judgments of people unlike me and free of the tired clichés I’d heard for years about strife. I found a voice, and it was a dialogue with myself. My first record was just an unbridled foray into everything to do with music. Writing, the gear, the sounds, production, what songs are supposed to “mean”, and what the purpose of it all is were all up for questioning, and it ran parallel to the questioning of my future as well. The record was released with much anticipation. The band felt great, and all our physical copies sold in two shows. I was riding high, and then covid happened. Death and apocalyptic news seemed to be everywhere. There was no escaping it. Quarantine became a regular way of life.
Covid truly came to a head when my father’s mother, my grandmother who lived across the street, passed away in the nursing home after her battle with covid. She cleared the virus, but at 104 and with other health issues, she was just ready to go be with her savior. I had been caring for her with the help of some other family in Frostburg for the last few years when she was in the nursing home, and I wanted to see her through. However, I was unable to be there for her in her final moments because I contracted covid myself and had a very severe case. I refused to go to the hospital because I knew I’d be stuck there for her funeral, so I toughed it out on the couch. The family scheduled the funeral for the day I’d be considered off quarantine, but I was so weak and had severe problems with my lungs still. I’d wanted to sing a song for her at the funeral and speak as did my brother, but both of us along with my sister just sat and held hands. At the graveside service, I used the last ounce of energy I had to be her pallbearer, and I felt some relief that perhaps I’d given back even an ounce of what she’d given me.
It was hard not to feel robbed by life after that experience, and I sat with it for a while. After the restrictions started to lift somewhat the band started on our new EP. It had some songs written very late in the process of the first album that had not been fleshed out yet and also the first song I’d ever written. Being the first, I wanted it to be what it was meant to be instead of just “getting it on the record”. Everyone agreed. So the band tracked those four songs and the project stalled for a while. We knew the record needed another song, something intimate that broke up the rest of the record, and I truly wanted to memorialize my grandmother and father who’d passed. The whole experience of covid had left me thinking a lot about family, and that’s how the title track was born. It’s a memorial to the place and the people I love, the people who have loved me through all my ups and downs. It’s a memorial to the place where one day my earthly body will rest with them. Thank God that’s not where we’ll stay.
This record, in essence, is the bookend for all of my songs. “Deeper Shade of Blue” was the first song I had written years before I ever sang, or took songwriting seriously, and “Cabin Run” was the last song written that’s been tracked. It means a lot to me in so many ways. The band has become so much more cohesive; the efforts put forth into their parts exceeded all expectations, and I think we’ve created some great new songs drawing from all of our inspirations . . . inspirations that echo what these mountains are all about.
With the times still being so uncertain, and the economic landscape changing day by day, the band decided to take a different approach to physically producing this record. We pride ourselves on doing as much in-house as we can so we can put all the funds into the music itself. Sadly, the streaming world doesn’t allow us to recoup anything invested in these songs. We took the break to brainstorm and came up with the idea to use Kickstarter as a pre-sale. The idea is that fans who want to support us can pledge various amounts of money that correlate to different “tiers” of support. We are reprinting the first record since we sold all of those copies: we will have the brand new EP, and then we’ll also be dipping our feet into the merch world with koozies, bandannas, stickers, and possibly some other items if goals are met. This model allows us to take those pledges and buy physical copies and merch in larger numbers that give us larger price breaks. We take these price breaks and pass them on to the fans. It also allows us to keep enough profit to expand our merch line, bank money for our next album, and to recoup some of the recording costs. It makes music sustainable for us.
If you’d like to browse around, see some live videos, read more about our plans for the money, the merch items, or just get to know us . . . follow the link below. It’ll only take a few minutes unless you go down our Youtube live performance rabbit hole and listen to our first record, and you can decide if you think it’s something worth supporting. We appreciate every fan we have, regardless of whether or not they can donate. Even sharing this link with friends, coming to one of our booked shows, liking our page, or telling your favorite local establishment you’d like to see us live all help us out tremendously. Thanks from all of us in the band, and we hope to see you around the way!
The Hounded's Kickstarter for Cabin Run