For years, Chris Carrabba has recorded and toured ceaselessly with Further Seems Forever and, more reputably, with Dashboard Confessional—offering up songs with heart-on-sleeve honesty and enormous mass appeal. In the last year, while on haitus from Dashboard, Carrabba began crafting songs that harkened back to childhood favorites such as Fleetwood Mac and Gordon Lightfoot—not exactly modern pop music. While his group, christened Twin Forks, is a celebratory new act and album, it is also a vestige of the songwriter's current frame of mind.
"The object for a while was getting really, really big," said Carrabba. "I wanted to combine two influences: folk, bluegrass and Americana folk, with the rhythms and dynamics of hardcore music. And that's what Dashboard ended up being."
Unlike with Dashboard Confessional, Twin Forks is an album with a potent sense of joy and reflection, clearly unburdened from any past. The eponymous-titled album has subdued tracks such as "Come On" and "Done Is Done," but they are more perservant and resolute than the quaking angst of Dashboard's heartbreaking, distinct sound. Although the music's aesthetic has shifted, Carrabba makes it clear that, creatively, this is the next logical step after what he's accomplished with Dashboard.
"I really wanted to make music like this. I really wanted to create a hard line of delineation from the music I've made in the past," said Carrabba of Twin Forks. He continued, "I like to prove myself. I like to be the underdog. I love an opporunity to be around new players and I like fighting from the ground up."
Yes, the group is fresh and new, touring as a supporting act and working to drum up grassroots appeal. What's more, there are few fresh acts that have Carrabba's drive, candid enthusiasm, and experience at the helm.
On April 28 and 29, Twin Forks played at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, opening for Augustana to two soldout crowds. Carrabba commanded the stage like a classic showman, working the audience and riffing with fellow band members between songs with effortless charm. Although the audience wasn't as familiar with Twin Forks as Dashboard Confessional quite yet, the seed was clearly planted.
With Twin Forks, Carrabba has allowed himself to embrace many songwriting motifs he has enjoyed but avoided for years—songs that embrace and improve upon classic folk sensibilities and tell timeless stories. They are the musings of a confident, eclectic, and mature songwriter who is clearly aiming to expand and conquer other ideas and genres.
"[Twin Forks] was not about making a new path," said Carrabba, "it was about acknowledging the path I'm still on."