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  • Writer's pictureThe Rough & Tumble

"The Front Porch"

Life changes fast. One minute you’re driving along, a teeny tiny traveling folk band on your way to Alaska, the next there’s a global pandemic that forces you to adapt and change and become a virtual band. A virtual band is a band who performs online shows, has multiple social media accounts. I was talking to our friend, Rupert Wates, yesterday and we were commiserating over technology and how the musicians who’ve been on the road usually have the glitchiest videos, because they’ve spent their time fiddling with sounds systems all over the country and haven’t had time to dial in the sound in their own homes. But that’s the game right now, and in order to play at all, you have to be online and you have to have content.

So we called up our friends at Cap Collective in Pennsylvania who filmed the video for “Baggage” and “The Hardest Part” and said we wanted to make a socially distanced music video. Spoiler alert: It turned out better than we could’ve hoped. (If you want to see some sneak peeks, go follow us on Instagram) While we were in the area we thought we’d get some photos taken by the talented Annie Minicuci, who’s work we just love. You see, when you’re a virtual band, you have to post a lot of pictures, and as I mentioned in paragraph 1, we are in a virtual band.

So then we called up our friend Judy who along with her husband, Michael, run The Thought Lot in Shippensburg, PA and asked if she knew a place to take some beautiful, rustic photos. And she immediately said “Oh yeah, you should head out to the family farm. My family doesn’t own it anymore, in fact I didn’t even know my grandparents when they lived there, but it’s been abandoned for a few years. There’s a barn and a great front porch.”

So Mallory and Judy drove to scout it out on Tuesday and it was just as she described; a large, two story farmhouse, made with brick and stone, a front porch painted blue (presumably to keep the demons from getting in), a sprawling barn with a milking station still inside, the shade of hundred year old trees that stood around the house, all of it in various states of falling apart and disrepair. That was expected, but what was not expected were the number of Mennonites who were busy taking every piece of floorboard out of the house that they could. Nobody saw that coming.

They said the place had been sold to a big business and that they were leveling it to put in a warehouse. “They’re bringing in the bulldozer on Monday and leveling the whole thing. See that hillside,” one of them said and pointed at a hill across the way. “They’re gonna cut that off so you can see all the way to the Sheetz along the highway.” Judy looked like the rug had been pulled out from under her.

Life changes fast, but it also changes slow. For years this house sat on a bend in the road, deserted and falling apart. So why does it mean so much when it goes away?

That was the question on Mallory’s mind when she jumped out of bed in the middle of the night and wrote this song on her ukulele. After the photo shoot we went back to the house and with an iPhone filmed around the place, a somber goodbye to a house that was more spare parts than home that we never had been in before that week.

“The Front Porch” is up on Bandcamp today and with that iPhone footage, Mallory made a video so that you can walk into that house with us.


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