“I buried that bag of money, in a ditch on Highway 21; I drove that car straight off the levee, and I laughed the whole way down,” recounts Nashville-based troubadour Bern Kelly, in the ominously spare introduction of “Sin #2,” the new single from his forthcoming album, Lost Films, set for release on June 23rd via Underpass Records.
Written over the course of three long years during which Kelly mined his own life experiences and honed in on a distinct, dense narrative style, Lost Films features an array of Nashville’s brightest studio pros, including producer Patrick Damphier (The Arcs, Tim Easton, The Mynabirds), steel-guitar legend Russ Pahl (Dan Auerbach, Patty Griffin, Miranda Lambert), drummer Jon Radford (Steelism, Lily Hiatt, Leigh Nash), and bassist Travis Vance, making the album truly a community-minded effort, the result of his decade-long tenure as a singer/songwriter in the Music City. Channeling his influences—from Josh Ritter and Bruce Springsteen to Jeff Buckley and Elliot Smith—Kelly holds fast to the idea that the song comes first, whether he delivers his carefully-crafted stories through folk-tinged power pop or reverb-laden Americana.
“’Sin #2’ finds the main character burying money, ditching cars, and heading back into his lost love’s town looking for revenge,” Kelly explains. “I wanted to come up with something like a noir version of songs like John Phillips’ ‘Me and My Uncle’ or Marty Robbins’ ‘El Paso’—old-school murder-ballads. The ‘2’ in the title originally came from the second instrumental demo that I had marked as the keeper and it just ended up staying on—although, I guess for our antagonist, he’s resolved to the fact that his second sin in the song is probably going to be his last.” Swampy tremolo guitars and minor chords produce an eerie,True Detective-esque vibe, as if you’re slinking down a dark and dreamy road with the song’s main character, fueled by fear and simmering fury.
Without further ado, Mother Church Pew proudly presents “Sin #2” by Bern Kelly: