Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry in the Dixon (Ill.) High School Auditorium, August 18, 2012
It's too damned bad that the Apache Relay boys had an empty auditorium at Dixon High School to play this one song in front of, when they were in town for the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover. It was the nature of the beast, for this private session, but before a few family members, "Cornerstone," sounded impeccable and stirring. They got the benefit of the sold out crowd later in the afternoon, but the Nashville band obviously does intimate as well as it does rousing and this song was perfect for the setting - with the weeping fiddle scraping the cobwebs out of the old school's corners. The song, about trusted friends, confidants and undying compassion ("Everyone is after someone else/Not you/Or me.") is a real beaut.
A couple of our oldest friends checked in from the Mumford & Sons tour bus - parked against the circumference of the school's football field -- later that evening, amongst beers and moonshine. Nathaniel Rateliff, with Abigail Washburn sitting beside him, eyes closed and soaking up his version of Townes Van Zandt's "If I Had No Place To Fall," sounded as great as he always does. Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes checks in with a version of Warren Zevon's "The French Inhaler," a song that the band's been known to play live occasionally. We were still getting sound levels for this one as the bus door creaked open, with Marcus Mumford stepping in to listen. At the finish of this song is when Mumford and Goldsmith began asking each other about what other songs they both knew, launching into the session that produced the set of covers that can be found in the Mumford & Sons and Friends session that was posted earlier in the week.
Nathaniel Rateliff Official Site
Dawes Official Site
The Apache Relay Official Site