In my late teens, I fell in love with the story surrounding Justin Vernon’s For Emma, Forever Ago. The way the circumstances of its creation are illustrated in the music became an inspiration for young songwriters everywhere. Vernon threw up his hands and retreated to a cabin in Wisconsin where—unbeknownst to him—he’d craft an award-winning, breakout LP. Its production sounds of the snow, ice, and pine that it was forged from. Its origins are rooted through the music in a way that makes me wonder if I’d still be carried to that cabin even if I didn’t know the story.
Folk songs that can truly teleport their listeners are few and far between, so when you hear them, you hold on. Hayden Everett captures the crackle of a fireplace, the revitalizing bite of the bitter cold, and the pressure of the wind on snowy pines through harmonic subtext in his latest single, “Kennecott.”
The song explores the exploitation of a region in southeastern Alaska milked for its resources and left for dead. Using photographs and journal entries from the early 20th century, Everett was able to transport himself to the picturesque town; his empathy allowing him to see through the eyes of those who watched the industrialists turn majesty into conquest.
Everett demonstrates his prowess as a songwriter by making Kennecott a microcosm of a message much larger. By doing so, he preserves the intimacy of the indie-folk genre and produces something more mystical and thought-provoking than others may have attempted. The story he tells is inconspicuous and accessible. Everett understands not just what happened, but what it means—not just how to explain it, but why.
Hayden Everett combines his musicality with his affinity for the outdoors creating truly visceral works of art. He does just what he’s set out to do: create resonant music that sounds like a feeling—the way a smell can evoke a memory. “Kennecott” is his second single since the release of his 2019 self-titled EP.
Bright, acoustic textures and soft, layered vocals comprise this wintry retort. Its music: calm and boundless. Its message: dark and unforgiving. The result: a haunting, timeless tune. The February 2021 release of “Kennecott” is accompanied by a beautiful, awe-inspiring music video that does nothing short of enhance the listening experience. It’s a reminder to slow down, reassess your integrity, and live with purpose. The careful personification of the now-abandoned mining town gives a human voice to a force that was here long before us and will endure long after.
Written by Matt Kalicky