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June 3rd, 2015

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Northern Arms - Tear Me Away

This 10 piece band from Philadelphia produced “Tear Me Away”, a beautiful song and ambitious piece of music that inspired their sound and became symbolic of the struggles that brought them together 8 years earlier.

       Northern Arms is a ten piece band from Philadelphia with an unorthodox assortment of instruments. At its core is Angel Ocana on drums, Rob Campbell on bass, and Keith Pierce on guitar and vocals. While Keith is the primary songwriter, the band is a truly collaborative collective with baritone sax, trumpet, viola, and vibes, not to mention two backup singers. Each writes their own parts to Keith’s uniquely gothic songs. It was that natural creative cooperation that made this particular group of musicians a pleasure to do Shaking Through with.

       “Tear Me Away” is an important song in Keith’s life as a musician. Long before he started Northern Arms, he was a key member of Philadelphia’s Perils of Pauline - a band he thought was his ticket to a successful career as a musician, like many of us feel of our bands when we’re young. In a moment of desperation and dissatisfaction with his music and life in general, he found himself strumming the chords that sparked the idea for this song. It was clearly different from The Perils; darker and more self aware. Little did Keith know the coming years would prove the hardest of his life. Nonetheless, this song foreshadowed a new style that would realize itself in Northern Arms many years later.

       So when they showed up for Shaking Through on a cold winter day in January, Tear Me Away was already eight years old. It had never been captured to the satisfaction of the group, and knowing the struggle it had come to symbolize, and its importance to Northern Arms very existence, it was an honor to be a part of seeing it come to life.

       Recording a song by a 10 piece band in one day is a huge challenge. There was even some doubt that we’d pull it off on time. But by the time we finished recording the basic, any worry was already dissipating. They came prepared, with a clear vision for the song and parts that were well rehearsed. They were also able to change their parts on the fly, and that’s what really saved the day. Bringing the song under the microscope of the studio made it clear that it would benefit from changes to the trumpet, viola, and sax arrangement.

       It was a challenge, but in the end, Tear Me Away came out as the heroic and beautiful testament it needed to be. Had Nothern Arms not arrived with a collective commitment to work briskly and definitively, this session might have taken several days. But Keith and the crew’s trust in each other as musicians and friends prevailed. There was no second guessing our decisions, no nitpicking parts, or getting hung up on small details. They trusted their instincts and in the end, it payed off.

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16 bit / 44.1 Kbps

583 MB

809.5 MB

121.9 MB

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24 bit / 88.2 Kbps

1.6 GB

2.4 GB

614.7 MB

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