The “team effort” approach isn’t just for class projects anymore. On Good Old War’s new album, “Come Back as Rain,” collaboration was the driving force behind the album’s creation, according to drummer and vocalist Tim Arnold.
“Every single part of every song, everybody had a say in,” Arnold said.
Arnold, Keith Goodwin and Dan Schwartz, all natives of the Philadelphia area, are currently on the road promoting the new album. The band will play at Union Transfer on Friday, April 27, as their second to last show on tour. Although the band has enjoyed being on the road, Arnold said he is incredibly excited for the Philly show.
“I’m not just saying this because we’re playing there, but Union Transfer is my new favorite joint in Philly,” Arnold said. “It’s nice and new. It looks beautiful. I’m really excited about playing there.”
Five years ago, the band that is now trekking across the country was just a budding project. Arnold and Goodwin, formerly of Days Away, and Schwartz, of Unlikely Cowboy, were introduced by a girl from Philly who Arnold had been dating.
Although the three knew they wanted a strong acoustic sound to their new group, the signature three-part vocal harmonies that now define Good Old War developed through experimentation. The members would sing traditionally two-part harmony songs by musicians including the Everly Brothers and Simon and Garfunkel, add a third harmony – and boy, did it work.
“It just became our sound,” Arnold said. “We just naturally had a good blend together.”
The most convenient part of the group’s vocal chemistry? They can practice it anywhere.
“We always practice at [Goodwin’s] parent’s house, still to this day,” Arnold said. “Before every show, we maybe would go into the bathroom where there would be porcelain everywhere and reverb and it’d just bounce around – that’s pretty fun to sing harmonies in. But for the most part, we’ll do it wherever.”
With three voices blending into one sound layered over bluegrass-twanged guitars, Good Old War appeals to a large audience, many of a younger age who might not have listened to folk music otherwise. Arnold credits early support of their folky sound to fellow musician and friend Anthony Green. Good Old War’s first tour was with Green’s project, Circa Survive.
“We became really good friends in high school,” Arnold said. “We’d party together, hang out and make music together. We love that guy and always will love that guy.”
According to Arnold, Good Old War and Anthony Green barely scratch the surface of the musical talent that his native Bucks County has to offer. Arnold and Goodwin attended Neshaminy High School, and Schwartz grew up in Cheltenham, Pa.
“There were so many good musicians and you just kind of feed off of each other’s inspiration,” Arnold said. “Bucks County – there’s something in the water, maybe. It’s just full of really creative, smart people.”
Jenelle Janci can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.