By ROB DUGUAY
Books and other types of publications can often influence music.
For example, some of Led Zeppelin’s discography is inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels “The Hobbit” and “The Lord Of The Rings.” Progressive rock act Coheed and Cambria’s material often abides by the concept of a storyline called “The Amory Wars,” which is a series written by frontman and guitarist Claudio Sanchez inspired by his love of superhero and sci-fi comics. There are countless other examples of this and it makes sense due to how both music and the written word can tell captivating stories.
Cranston indie folk artist, arts and crafts creator and YouTube personality Lauren Fairweather took this approach with the album “Peaches and Plums,” which she released on Oct. 2.
Lev Grossman’s “The Magicians Trilogy” holds the principal theme behind the album. Fairweather wanted to take on the musical project due to writing a song after watching the TV adaptation on SyFy and letting her fandom take over.
“Last year I wrote the song ‘Braver’ without really intending to write a full album about ‘The Magicians,’” she says about the making of the album. “At the time, I had seen the end of season four of the SyFy original series and couldn’t get it out of my head. I’ve always been the type of person who writes songs when I’m really emotionally affected by a piece of media, so it was really obvious to me that I needed to write something even though I wasn’t sure how much of my audience would get the references. Then this past March I wrote ‘Escape,’ and this time it was more autobiographical. I chose the subject matter with the knowledge that even if most of my audience hadn’t seen or read ‘The Magicians,’ they would definitely relate to this song.”
She adds: “By the summer, I had seen every episode of the show, which was eventually canceled and ended in April, and read all three books in the series. At that point, I decided that I wanted to try and write a whole album about ‘The Magicians,’ and the rest of the songs came together pretty quickly. I put myself in a variety of characters’ shoes and wrote songs about some of their most memorable moments on the show and in the books that I wanted to revisit in a new way. Certain songs pull more from the show while others are more inspired by the books.”
In order to have her fans relate to the music regardless of whether they watched the show or read the books, Fairweather made an effort to convey the feelings that were present in the songwriting.
“Because I knew that not all of my fans were familiar with the series, I focused on the relatability of the emotions in each song,” she explains of her approach. “I had hoped that people would be able to enjoy the album even without the context, and I also hoped to reach fans of ‘The Magicians’ who hadn’t heard my work before. This album also gave me the opportunity to work with a few friends of mine, including Evelyn Rogers, who is a really well-known artist in ‘The Magicians’ fandom and also illustrated the art for the album cover.”
Musically, the album encompasses acoustic pop tones and rhythmic structures. Fairweather plays an acoustic guitar and sings while Mike Stein incorporates his skills on piano and J. Ferguson plays both bass and electric guitar. BAE SZN, Audrey Wagner and Matt Maggiacomo also assist on backing vocals with Ferguson handling the mixing and mastering at the local recording studio Pitch & Prose.
Along with the tracks Fairweather mentioned, “Proof of Concept,” “Hard, Glossy Armor” and “Not Gonna Say” also highlight “Peaches and Plums.”
To give it a stream and make a purchase for www.laurenfairweather.bandcamp.com either yourself or a loved one who’s a fan of “The Magician’s Trilogy” as a gift for the holidays, visit Fairweather’s Bandcamp page at www.laurenfairweather.bandcamp.com.