The San Francisco Bay Area artist Dwayne Jarrell’s music is instantly comforting. Threads of Americana, folk, country and alt-country’s storytelling traditions, along with some deep blues, are woven deep into his musical fabric. His songs recall artists such as Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, and Son Volt—he named his studio band “Truer Sound” after a lyric in Son Volt’s “Windfall.”
His new single, the southern rock and americana “Indiana,” is more than just a break up song, but a story of a man at a physical and metaphorical crossroads, forced to reckon with the mistakes he’s found himself repeating. As the song progresses, the character realizes that change and redemption only comes with action and continued passivity keeps him in the same rut.
We asked Dwayne Jarrell about his video that depicts iconography of his poetic ideas:
Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically in this way?
The song is about a man who’s found himself at a proverbial crossroads in his life. The relationship that drove him to move to a foreign and unfamiliar state has ended, and he’s forced to decide how to move forward. In the midst of this process, he begins to recognize the negative patterns of his actions, and tries to summon the energy to move forward on a new path.
The song is set in Indiana as a play on its state motto: The Crossroads of America. Anyone who’s spent any time in Indiana (good or bad) knows that it’s full of miles and miles of corn and soybean fields, and I felt like the image of driving through endless cornfields was a good representation of the limbo of the narrator’s situation. The video includes a right turn at a T stop, providing a visual decision point in reference to the lyrics.
What was the inspiration behind this video?
I originally tried to find a video with a foreboding sky like the opening of the song (“The morning sky was like polished steel, a painting done all in flats”), but that turned out to be difficult to capture. I then realized that the tedium of driving through endless cornfields was an even better way to capture the feel of the song, and the pace of this video seemed to match the tempo of the song well.
The bonus from this particular video was the inclusion of a T stop/decision point to stand in for the “crossroads” of the chorus. When syncing the video with the lyrics, I made sure to have the car arrive at the T stop sign every time I sang ‘I’m at a crossroads in my life”. The car then turns to the right before transitioning to the next part of the song. To further indicate the passage of time, I switched the lighting from day to night at a good friend’s suggestion.
One subtle point that the casual viewer likely misses is that the car finally turns left at the end of the song. This was an attempt to tie a glimmer of hope to the final lyric of “Can you show me to the light?”
What was the process of making this video?
The footage is stock video, so the whole process started with stock video searches across multiple sites, using a variety of terms. As noted above, I started by searching for the perfect sky before landing on the idea of driving through cornfields. Once I had the final idea, it took a while to find the right sequence with a balance of monotony and variety, and then I discovered the intersection that could be aligned with the lyrics.
From there, it was splicing various lengths of the video using iMovie to align the words and visuals. Then I added the lyrics via title cards, a process my neurodivergent brain actually enjoys getting just right.
Connect with Dwayne Jarrell and the Truer Sound via:
Website / Instagram / Facebook / YouTube / Spotify / Soundcloud