Hear It First: Dietrich Strause, 'How Cruel That Hunger Binds'

by Kelly McCartney (@theKELword) for FolkAlley.com

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When Dietrich Strause decided he wanted to make a new record, he recruited a bunch of the most talented folks in the New England indie-folk scene, including Alec Spiegelman, Lyle Brewer, Amy Correia, and Mark Erelli, then got Zachariah Hickman and Sam Kassirer to helm the whole thing at Great North Sound Society in Parsonsfield, Maine. The result, 'How Cruel That Hunger Binds,' is an artistic work that feels simultaneously big and small: It has a broad vision coupled with an intimate execution.

Punctuated with horns here, vibes there, and woodwinds elsewhere, the aural landscape expands and contracts to suit the needs of each piece. Though much of the overarching production credit surely goes to Hickman, it all begins with the songs with which Strause has an intriguing relationship.

"The songs I write are some of my closest friends -- which is why, in the past, recording music was a type of grieving. Committing to an approach or a particular take of a song was saying goodbye to an old friend for the last time, like waving from the window of a car you're not driving," Strause says. "But throughout recording 'How Cruel That Hunger Binds,' I felt like I was making new friends; I was on the other end of the cycle. I didn't dwell on what I was losing, but embraced all that I was gaining. I think it's a fitting musical backdrop for the lyrics, which revolve around desire, love, lust, and adventurous hearts."

Highlights of the set include "The Beast That Rolls Within," "Spring Has Sprung," and "Boy Born to Die." According to Strause, "The album's title comes from 'Boy Born to Die,' but the song that holds the essence of the album is 'Lying in Your Arms.' There's a cruelty in the cycle of our nature -- we destroy to survive. We say goodbye to old friends to make way for new ones. The Beatles sang, 'All You Need is Love,' but I suppose these songs are about how all you need is to love."

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'How Cruel That Hunger Binds' will be released August 26 and is available for pre-order at iTunes and HERE.

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