Sometimes a song is so powerful that just simply hearing it will compel fellow artistic spirits into action. And sometimes a video is so powerful that it inspires those who see it to dig deeper into the story behind and just learn a little bit of history themselves. But it’s rare that the video and song come together in such a powerful presentation that there are very few words that could describe how stunning it really is. But as is our duty, we shall try.
First, allow us to introduce you to Alialujah Choir from Portland, OR. A collection of well known artists in the Pacific Northwest scene, Alialujah Choir was assembled by Adam Shearer and Aila Farah of Weinland and Adam Selzer of Norfolk & Western and M. Ward. When they gathered to record their new single “A House, A Home” and full length, self-titled debut album, they simply wanted to so make music for the sake of making music together and to find an escape from the frantic lifestyle of touring musicians. They had no commercial ambitions, just artistic ones, but a funny thing happened along the way; they made a seriously accessible record, largely due to the producing skills of Selzer and the comfortable confines of the Type Foundry studio. The album is chock full of of rich layers of sound created with sparse instrumentation, and there’s never a lacking moment from the beginning to end.
The single for “A House, A Home” is inspired by the true story of Dr. James Hawthorne, a respected 19th Century physician whose approach to treatment for patients with mental illness was respected and admired for the attention and kindness he offered, at a time when many others were quick to discard them and cast them aside. Written from the perspective of a young man in Dr. Hawthorne’s care, the lyrics deal with his conflicting emotions about the girl he has been in love with during his time at the Oregon Hospital For The Insane, but whom he also suspects of having a relationship with Dr. Hawthorne. The man is convinced of his suspicions after seeing her leaving the Doctor’s office and takes his own life. Only in the afterlife when he is cured of his afflictions can he see he was wrong and that his own condition lead him to believe in things that were not true or wildly exaggerating his own fears, but luckily he is able to take comfort knowing that the girl does indeed reciprocate his feelings and he is able to find peace with himself.