Arlo McKinley, 'Stealing Dark from the Night Sky'
Arlo McKinley's "Stealing Dark from the Night Sky" is, at face value, a simple song of heartbreak that draws the listener into its power and beauty in a subtle fashion, with elegant fiddle and McKinley's voice lifting up soft consolation in the midst of darkness. It is country music at its most graceful, bringing to mind both chamber music and Arlo McKinley singing and playing spirituals for the Baptist church in his youth. There is a poetic tension between the darkness at the center of the song and the burning light from which its broken-hearted lovers recoil, framed perfectly in its animated video where a vampire and cowgirl are the tragic heroes. The fragile couple serves as a stand-in for our own sadness, and seems to be drawn from McKinley's own dark night; he wrote much of his forthcoming album, This Mess We're In, following the loss of several loved ones, including his mother and multiple friends. The new album, produced by Matt Ross-Spang, was recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Service and is out July 15 on Oh Boy Records.