With an unwavering determination to capture the essence of Florida’s unique music, Van Plating embarks on a musical journey like no other. Behold the birth of what she aptly calls “Orange Blossom Country.”
The 1st track to be released from Van’s upcoming album is ‘The Heron‘, where she is joined by fellow Floridian, Elizabeth Cook.
‘This song could not exist without the other ten (on upcoming album Orange Blossom Child). The other ten songs on the album were mixed and completed by the time I sat down to materialize song eleven, The Heron. I’d wanted to wait until I knew where the record was going, and what it needed to round out the story I was trying to tell. I had no idea what it would be–but I knew the album wasn’t complete without an eleventh song.
The Heron is a song of longing for home–maybe a home that’s long gone, and only exists in the hearts, the memories, even the dna of those living in the here and now. It’s a love song to those who’ve come before. Quite literally, as the first verse is inspired by time I spent with Jon Corneal (Flying Burrito Brothers, The Byrds) leading up to his contributions to two of the songs on “Orange Blossom Child.” He’s “the soul of country rocknroll.” He invented it. Jon personifies so much of what is unique and lovely about art made here, and his wildly original style and perspective on life had a huge impact on me over the months leading up to writing this song. It got me thinking about the pickin’ circles I used to sit in as a small child, the wild fields and sense of home I had playing music with my elders in the front yard after a fish fry.
Long hot days with the bluegrass band.It got me thinking about what I wanted to take with me into the future from those times, and what I hoped would stay in the past. Have we learned anything since then? This song also owes a debt to John Anderson, whose work I came across on CMT as a kid in the 90s on my grandparents tv–Seminole Wind was the first time I saw my homeland represented as a sacred place in song. I learned that fiddle part sitting on the sun-scorched linoleum floor in Eustis, FL.
My grandad, a twinkle in his eye would say “keep practicin’ you might make money at it one day,” and then he’d hoot and holler at the idea of making money at music. A joke from one broke musician to another– that the money isn’t why you do it–it’s the love. And place, If you truly love a place, you stay. You honour what is good. You work to make the ugliness retreat. Holding space for dark and light. Looking the truth dead in the eye and LIVING the story passed down to you, your own way,
with all your might,
with all your love,
with all your grace. I’m joined on this song by one of my home state sheros–The inimitable Elizabeth Cook. She’s inspired me since early days in my career as a songwriter and to have her singing with me–I wasn’t there in the studio the day she tracked her parts in Nashville (thank you CJ), and when I received the session from the engineer I cried. What a moment. I’m so grateful. I hope I get to thank her in person one day for lending her voice to an unknown kid from Florida. The production style is right down the barrel 90s inspired country. We’ve got all of it, fiddles, pedal steel, guitars, Nashville guitars, electric guitars, It’s LUSH like the landscape I grew up in. It’s honest, like the folks who raised me. A thread trying our ancestors to now, holding hands with the ghosts we carry. Clear eyes. Hopeful hearts. We go on into the future, come what may.’ Van Plating