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Video Premiere: “Back to the Start” by James Houlahan

15 November 2022

Photo Credit: Ella Hovsepian

The song “Back to the Start” is from the upcoming release of James Houlahan’s sixth full-length album, Beyond the Borders. Recorded in Los Angeles at Stairway Studios with producer Fernando Perdomo, the album features 12 original songs and a version of Neil Young’s “Powderfinger.” The video for “Back to the Start” is very LA-centric as it is a trip down Sunset Boulevard in the course of a day, starting at the very beginning of the Boulevard and heading West until it ends.

To quote James Houlahan, “Back to the Start” is about “The necessity of perseverance when all seems lost. An ending turned into another beginning. The feeling of needing to turn inward, to focus on what’s directly in front of you, directly within you. The head spins with all of the bad news and misfortune blaring in the headlines. The need for respite. A silence that must bear fruit in a dark forest. And even if the coast is now clear, seeds of sorrow will someday grow and bloom into so much grief and loss. Inevitable passage. How to joyfully participate in these sorrows of existence? It seems impossible, and yet beauty remains. Beauty can remain, that is. When all else is stripped away. Beauty remains.”

For Beyond the Borders (Releasing on November 18). Houlahan and Perdomo were joined in the studio by drummer Danny Frankel (Lou Reed, k.d. lang, Fiona Apple) and Scarlet Rivera (Bob Dylan) on violin. The songs span both the personal and the universal, combining themes of perseverance and new beginnings while exploring connections between people and the natural world. Houlahan says, “The last few years have brought all of us so much loss. It’s really wreaked a toll on everyone. And it seems like every day the headlines bring more calamity, more uncertainty. The songs on this album were meant to help propel a way forward through all of this, to find some light in all this darkness. They were songs that I needed to write, and I hope they prove useful to others.”