Oregon folk rock duo, Alma Mater have released their debut single, “Fading Moon” today. The song marks the first music to be released from the duo, comprised of veterans of the Los Angeles and Oregon music scene, Dirk Sullivan and Andrew Paul Woodworth. The pair teamed up with producer Gregg Williams (Sheryl Crow, The Dandy Warhols, Blitzen Trapper, Emmylou Harris) to craft the poignant orchestral folk pop tune.
Andrew confides, “I was never afraid of dying until I had a child. Fading Moon, on the surface, seems like a love letter to my two baby boys. But, in reality, it’s a means to comfort myself from my overwhelming fear of leaving them behind when I die. When pure and intense love is experienced, there is a level of pain associated with it. I’ve never been more happy, but I’ve never been more scared. So this seemingly sweet, folky ditty is really a pretty dark, anxious proclamation.”
Musically, the hypnotic guitar riff of “Fading Moon” was written when Dirk was in hospice care, visiting his sick mother. Performing for her brought her joy and “Fading Moon” also represents the magic and healing nature of music.
Combined, Alma Mater have spent two decades recording and touring in various projects. Sullivan was signed to Interscope Records with his band Love On Ice and Woodworth fronted Elephant Ride, signed to Sony Records.
Anxious for some musical therapy during the pandemic, the two started meeting in Woodworth’s garage. Sullivan was enthralled with an alternate tuning on his guitar and found himself writing songs at a blistering clip, totally inspired by this fresh reverence for his instrument. He found the perfect partner in Woodworth, who could add pathos and melody to his already provocative landscapes. Sullivan was wrestling with a recent divorce and with the slow demise of his mother. By contrast, Woodworth was about to welcome his first child. They found a kinship in the intensity of their disparate stories. Somehow those contrasting life experiences brought out something completely raw and beautiful and melancholic and utterly explosive in their writing.
Both men love hard and laugh big….both were suddenly unafraid to be uniquely and totally themselves, understanding that in a world full of temporary things, we are a perpetual feeling. The sound became a portrait of combating themes….time versus eternity, strength versus surrender, hard love versus fake hate. With Gregg Williams in the producer’s chair (Sheryl Crow, The Dandy Warhols, Blitzen Trapper, Pete Droge, Emmylou Harris) the recordings became orchestral and vibrant and full of page-turning narratives. It is a dream team for these three Oregonians who have amassed decades of honest, soulful and heartfelt music.