Life really only offers one indisputable certainty. Mortality is likely the only thing that universally links all of humanity, yet the notion of death remains a formative event that no one, can ever truly prepare for. On March 10, 2020, veteran musician Clint Lowrey would sit by his mother’s side as she peacefully passed. And while there is never an opportune time to come face-to-face with that kind of finality, Lowery would say goodbye to his mother only to return to a world much different than the one he knew likely just a week prior. The process of grieving would understandably make any four walls feel constrictive. For Clint, the tragic loss was coupled with the restriction of a historic pandemic. With little reprieve and the heaviest heart, Clint did what he has done for most of his life - Clint picked up his guitar.
“Watching her eyes… watching the life fade out. It was poetic justice. She found her peace but getting there was rough.” In recounting the final moments with his mother, Clint Lowery vividly translates the motivation behind, Grief and Distance. Though the songwriter has a well established identity as a solo artist outside of his contributions to Sevendust (Clint actually released his solo debut God Bless the Renegades at the beginning of 2020), this particular project was especially definitive. The 5-track EP functions as equal parts tribute and therapy. Clint explained the genesis of the project. “After losing my mom I came home to a pandemic. I kind of went into panic mode and I needed to grieve.”
Enlisting the help of contemporaries like Brian Vodinh of the band 10 Years to assist with some of the programming, Clint began methodically working out his emotions by constructing songs. The result was a succession of three tracks in, “Distance,” “Haunted,” and “I’m Wrong.” Clint confided that throughout the process, “the wounds were still fresh,” a bittersweet reality that loaned itself to the sincerity of the music. Reiterating the integrity of the process, the order of the songs on the EP is exactly the order in which they originated. The creative presentation of Grief and Distance was a stream of consciousness; Clint’s way of coping from song to song.
More than the maternal bond between a mother and son, Clint’s relationship with his mom was fundamentally rooted in music. “My mom was a musician. She was always great to talk to about music. She was actually the one that encouraged me to do the Hello Demons, Meet Skeletons record. She encouraged me to have my own voice.” Having that familial connection to his chosen craft, it would be only natural that Clint find an escape in what is usually his work.
Immersing himself in his familiar creative space at home, songs like “Haunted” began to take shape. Lowrey prefaced the song with a unique perspective on loss, “There is a gift element of being able to be with someone as they pass… being able to say goodbye.” For the listener, the gravity of these instances resonates in a very real way thought the EP. Adept to balancing the music with a message, Clint finds solace in his songs, while sharing in his sorrow. The emotional weight of the EP is apparent but articulated with the kind of reverence specific to a child and their parent.
The final two songs on the EP are reworked versions of selections from his God Bless the Renegades full-length that Clint just released in January. “What’s the Matter” and “Kings” seem to function as an appropriate punctuation for such a personal tribute. Channeling a sense of catharsis on “What’s the Matter,” there is a relatable feel of frustration that becomes very real. “The lyrical content for that song just seemed to fit so well for this. I had been doing these lockdown sessions of songs from my record and these were the songs that just seemed to work. They felt right.” The progression of the EP finds “Kings” as the kind of closer that evokes a sense of healing; a culminating optimism.
The duality of sharing something so personal is a reflection of the kind of artist Clint Lowery has been for three decades. Finding satisfaction in his music only seems complete when the listener can connect. “I look for records that move me. When I listen I’m escaping or I’m empathizing and I want to make music that people can experience the same way. I want them to play it while they are driving and contemplating life. I want whoever is listening to feel like it’s genuine. You can tell the difference. People can sniff out a phony easily.”
GRIEF AND DISTANCE is available now via Rise Records.
Watch the video for "Distance"