Kitchen Dwellers

The Kitchen Dwellers are the headliner for the July 13 Sip, Rock & Duck Drop, a benefit for the St. Vincent DePaul Family Kitchen held at Peoples Natural Gas Park!

In Dante’s Inferno, the author grapples with sin, its various manifestations, and its consequences. This time ultimately traces a trajectory of self-realization, acceptance, and accountability. Kitchen Dwellers embark on a similar odyssey over the course of their fourth full-length offering, Seven Devils. The Montana quartet—Shawn Swain [Mandolin], Torrin Daniels [Banjo], Joe Funk [Upright Bass], and Max Davies [Acoustic Guitar]—thread together an immersive and inimitable conceptual arc inspired by Dante’s Inferno and set to a soundtrack of folk-infused bluegrass spiked with psychedelic vision and rock energy.

Continuing their own journey as brothers, they deliver their most ambitious and anthemic body of work yet.

“These tunes deal with the human experience, and Torrin initially drew a parallel between the music and Dante,” Max states. “We explored the connection by correlating each song with a sin. Some of these connections are only apparent if you dive deep into the lyrics. Our goal is to essentially take the listener through our own interpretation of the Inferno story.”

“We didn’t go into the studio with the intent of making a concept album,” recalls Torrin. “I was driving around listening to everything, and I noticed these parallels. To dive deeper, we’re discussing topics like mental health, the human condition, and what we go through on the road. In life and music, everything is recurring and universal. I was reading Dante at the time, and it naturally fit.”

It proved to be a logical next step as well…

Thus far, Kitchen Dwellers have engaged and enraptured listeners with albums such as Ghost In The Bottle [2017], Muir Maid [2019], Live from the Wilma [2021], and Wise River [2022]. Of the latter, Holler. praised how “Kitchen Dwellers have preserved their sense of youthful experimentation, and Relix proclaimed, “The songs on the new record build on this range, while also reflecting on the group’s Bozeman, Montana home.Between tallying millions of streams, the band ignited hallowed venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre and graced the bills of Telluride Bluegrass, Northwest String Summit, WinterWonderGrass, and beyond.

In order to bring Seven Devils to life, the musicians opted to work with producer Glenn Brown. It would not only mark their first time collaborating with the producer, but it also would be the first time they decamped to Michigan in order to record.

“The studio itself definitely impacted the vibe,” Torrin notes. “It’s a tiny workspace, but it’s full of old recording equipment with legendary stories attached to it. For almost the entire time, we were forced to congregate in this room together. The process was ever-evolving, because ideas kept flowing.”

Fittingly, “Seven Devils (Limbo)” opens the album and serves as the first single. Nimbly picked banjo and upbeat acoustic guitar set the pace as the regretful chorus bemoans, “Am I supposed to hop the next train? Or stand here drowning in the Oregon rain?” A guitar-driven bridge dips in and out of effects-laden echoes and stark strumming. Coming full circle, a ten-minute version of “Seven Devils” later bookends the record with an epic finale.

“I incorporated some elements of grunge in terms of the chords, which are a little dissonant,” Torrin elaborates. “Thematically, it’s the descent into Hell. First, Dante goes through limbo before reaching any of the circles where the cardinal sins are addressed. ‘Seven Devils’ evokes the feeling of being in limbo.”

“It also signifies you’re embarking on some type of journey,” Max agrees. “By the end of the LP, you know the protagonist isn’t going to be the same person.”

Then, there’s “The Crow and The Raven (III).” The track’s emotionally charged vocals seesaw on top of strings in a moment of terse reflection. “I went through a horrible breakup in 2018 when I wrote the first version,” Shawn remembers. “‘The Crow and The Raven (III)’ sat in my notebook for a half-decade before we revamped it. Now, it’s a sad, slower lament about enduring the loss of a relationship.”

“Pendulum” rushes towards a mournful refrain offset by a plucky crescendo. “It’s about dealing with an addiction in your life and how it affects relationships,” Joe says. “People often trade one addiction for another, whether positive or detrimental to their life, as a means to satisfy their baseline addictive tendencies.”

On the other end of the spectrum, “Here We Go (VI)” laments the epidemic of shootings in America with unfiltered frustration projected through a powerful ebb and flow punctuated by a cameo from Lindsay Lou.

“I was riding a Greyhound from Seattle to Missoula in 2012,” Max goes on. “There had just been another school shooting. It’s terrible to think of how many shootings have happened since. Why is this happening? The chorus shifts gears to miscommunication between two parties in a relationship. Those are the two driving forces.”

An electric guitar lead heralds the onset of “Unwind (Paradiso),” building towards one climactic moment of catharsis.

“A psychedelic experience and life-changing ego death changed my outlook on many things,” Torrin admits. “‘Unwind (Paradiso)’ was one of those moments where you surrender and let it take you. You’re letting go of the human things in your brain that make you want to fight or cause you to be afraid. It also came together in the studio as a band, which was super cool.”

In the end, Kitchen Dwellers may just leave you changed with Seven Devils.

“The record is a trip inward within the self,” Torrin concludes. “It tackles a lot of things in the world people try not to think about. The reality is we’re only truly happy when happiness comes from within. That’s the message.”

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