When Lucinda Williams asks you to write more songs, you know you're on the right track.
That's what happened to Gold Star's Marlon Rabenreither when he began trading the reverb and fuzz of his earlier dream-indie project, Sister Ruby Band, for slide guitar, harmonies and organ. Early in his Gold Star days, Rabenreither was opening for the country legend, and she encouraged him to pursue his interest in writing.
Listening to Gold Star's debut Americana full-length, Dark Days, you know Lucinda was right. The record finds Rabenreither in full twangy swing, hunted by devils, learning the blues and sure that he'll be someone, someday down the line. These are dark days, indeed.
It wasn't just the days that are dark, either. Having started his creative life as a painter, Rabenreither was taken by writing music, in contrast with the formality of the visual art world. Music was what kept him up at night. And even when he slept, it came to him in his dreams. The title track, a short and simple lament, was written almost entirely while Rabenreither was asleep.
Dark Days is haunted by the spooky quality Rabenreither found in songwriting. It's there in the organ on lead single "Sadie," perhaps the most mournful song ever written about falling for someone. It's there in the down-in-the-mouth chorus of "Nowhere," a subtle nod to the opening track on The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo, a record that helped inspire Dark Days. And it's there in the yearning summons of "Reckless."