I gotta be honest with you, readers of Everything Is Noise – in the month of August, from about the 17th to the 31st…I was on some other [redacted]. I mean this in the best of possible ways, of course. I got to experience a two-week tour with a band I perform with, and every night was awesome; But as I said to everyone met along the way and anyone who talked with me about it after, the very best part of literally any show for me is always getting to see the other acts and how they do what they do. Today, I’m excited to write all about one of the genuine artists I was blessed to meet during that tour on the Pittsburgh, PA date we played – Darcy Saint!
So who is Darcy Saint? None other than a Pittsburgh, PA-based storyteller with a true way with words and notes. Joined on the bill as a sort of last-minute addition, it was easy to be absolutely blown away and enveloped into his world, as he welcomes all ears willing to listen into personal stories of emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual tragedy, as well as overcoming those very same troubles. From the time he sits down and begins playing to when he finishes his set, and even so on studio recordings, you are taken away on much more than just a walk through and audible telling of key points in one’s life; You feel deeply connected to Darcy Saint and everything he’s gone through to be where he is now.
Of his name, the artist says, ‘Darcy Saint is the name I perform under. Darcy as a name means something like ‘of the dark’ and Saint is a word with holy implications. I try to write a lot about triumph through struggle, hope in bad times, light in the dark kind of stuff. I tend to write from experience.’ When asked about how his music is typically geared more towards relatability, using what is there and has happened as opposed to trying to create any specific scenario, ‘I feel that I’m much more a storyteller than a story writer. I want my songs to make people feel something and if something I’ve experienced has made me feel a strong emotion, I know that it has the capacity to do the same for others. It’s a matter of setting the stage in a compelling manner.’
For me, personally, Darcy has a particular integrity to his music. It doesn’t feel just about the songwriting, or even just about the message overtop of the music. Darcy’s writing is, to my ears, a perfect and synonymous harmony of raw emotions and conveying exactly what the human mind is enduring or attempting to convey, just as it is, while not shying whatsoever from attention to detail on the compositional fronts of giving that thought, that emotion, a soundtrack, if you will. It is a loaded, layered canvas of textures, colors, and overall depth that will impress and devastate you all in one sitting, raising the eyebrows of musically inclined aficionados just as it does pull at the heart strings of those more intuitive, empathetic listeners.
You are not simply sung a song about a guy who’s really sad and finds a way out. Darcy Saint brings life to the story; His album, which I am most familiar with upon hearing it live and listening after grabbing a copy since, Pennsylvania Waters, Bring Me Home, is a meditation on what Darcy describes as some of the most important and life-changing moments of his life, essentially. Songs like “The Bear”, “Beautiful Stranger”, and “Autumn Nights / I Will Heal” all provide combinations of metaphors, hymns of encouragement, and general odes to those who have had to face up to any fears, navigate the joys of love and awful lows of heartbreak after, and going from feeling like you have it all figured out to barely being able to recognize yourself.
Speaking on the story behind “The Bear” in particular…
‘I had a series of dreams that are described in the song. They felt pretty significant and I sat with the last one, trying to figure out what it meant, for probably a month before I wrote the tune. I think the bear itself can represent a lot of different things for people. I know what it represents for me but I think whatever it represents for you is more important for you as a listener, y’know.‘
…and on Pennsylvania Waters, Bring Me Home as a whole…
‘I moved to Nashville in the middle of a manic episode. I was on some bad medication that had sent me spiraling. Lived there for a year and a half. Met some cool people. Did some cool things. Loved, lost, and loved a little more. Then I came home. That’s the gist. Oh, and I smoked a lot of weed. Cannot overstate that.‘
It’s wild to speak with Darcy one-on-one and hear how virtually nonchalant he is about the meanings behind his work or any lyric he’s penned down. This seems to be more in the vein of keeping things a bit more open to interpretation, while not dodging the acknowledgement of what happened to make him write the music, but it definitely sends the message that Darcy wants the listening experience to be more a takeaway for the listener’s choosing as opposed to just about his own associations with it. It makes sense, and does work exactly as that, but as I write down and apply the depth and meaning I find in his music to this article – I am realizing this is exactly what he hopes for with anyone who listens to and appreciates what he does.
His music, therefore, is maybe more of a proverbial vessel. It’s like a used car, if you will – He had his time with it, applied his purpose and meaning, put his energy in it, kept it maintained and made his history with it when and where he needed for as long as he needed, and now it is time to pass it down to others so that they may do the same. Sure, this is something that virtually any artist may look for in their endeavors, but the tangible sense of that concept is exceptionally potent in the likes of Darcy’s music.
‘I just fuck around, really. Everything influences me. Sonically, I take a lot of inspiration mainly from music post 1950s but I do enjoy some classical stuff every now and again. I have a big soft spot for old Celtic folk tunes. My biggest inspirations are Kendrick Lamar and my friend Randy. When we met I drove up to his apartment, (Randy not Kendrick) and he played me a concept album he was working on. He had all kinds of lyrics and poems taped to the wall and a very strong conviction in his work that made me want to push myself to do the same. I’ve also been listening to a lot of early 2000s soft rock lately.‘
When asked if there’s any specific message he aims for with his music, ‘Whatever you’ve been through, whatever you’re going through, you possess the power to overcome. To adapt. To heal. Most people are far stronger than they give themselves credit for.‘
So, I suppose the best way I can summarize Darcy Saint to you is simply – he is a relatable mystery; An inviting enigma, but not in the sense that he’s difficult to understand at all. These statements may read as paradoxical, but ultimately what I’m getting at is that as open to interpretation as Darcy’s music may be, there is a sense of being reached out and welcomed into that canvas of applying your own meanings. Darcy has given us an audible equivalent of the Choose Your Own Adventure books by Edward Packard; It’s as if to say, ‘here’s the setup, here’s where I’m putting us, but it’s up to you where this goes…‘ Darcy Saint is the spark, what the listener takes away is the whole campfire.
Darcy Saint is hard at work on an upcoming album. While no mention has immediately been made of near-future live performances, the new material is said to be a bumpy ride that tackles a myriad of recent personal subjects. As with Pennsylvania Waters, Bring Me Home, it’s sure to be just as much open to the listener as it is reflective and cathartic for Darcy himself. When I saw Darcy, he performed completely solo, just him and an acoustic guitar, and while the album seems to feature a wider timbre of instruments, my hope is that he will do more live performances – as the power behind these tracks is just as present live with simply vocals and acoustic accompaniment as is recorded in studio, if not more so.
‘Album 3 is deep in production at the moment. I’ve alluded to some deep traumas in my writing before but I’ve rarely dug deep into it musically. I’ve recently been confronting a lot of stuff in my personal life and that’s going to be pretty apparent on the next project. It’s gonna be heavy stuff, but not without humor. The story arc on the album is going to end with what I believe will be some very empowering messages. It’s on all the websites. Spotify, YouTube, and so on. The way I distribute my music is still super DIY. It’s not even under the right name on Apple Music.‘
Well, you heard him, folks! Get on over to Darcy Saint‘s Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram to keep up to date with all news, hear Pennsylvania Waters, Bring Me Home, and prepare yourself for Album 3! The storyteller’s always happy to have you! If there’s one thing I can always respect about a good singer-songwriter, it’s their ability to create an atmosphere that transcends just simply crafting a song and performing it, but pulling the listener into it as well. In that way, Darcy has succeeded above and beyond.
Darcy Saint is…
Stephen Thomas – everything