Where: Whiskey a Go Go ~ Los Angeles, CA
When: Friday, June 7
Time: 9:30 pm
Dulce et Decorum Est is the first full-length album from War Poets, a new band featuring five veterans of Minnesota’s pop/rock scene. The debut was released December 2012.
Preceded by the lead single “Close Enough,” a socially progressive song about gay marriage, Dulce et Decorum Est takes a look at the modern world. The songs run the gamut from country rockers to piano ballads, and the lyrics -- largely written by Rex Haberman, who shares songwriting duties with bandmates Matt Kirkwold and Jenny Case, as well as co-producer Kevin Bowe -- take their inspiration from history, human predicaments and current events. Violinist Lisi Wright and guitarist Dan Neale round out the group’s lineup. Since being released last month, the videos for “Close Enough” and “Will You Be There?” have already garnered over 100,000 plays on YouTube.
“The album is divided into two separate sections,” explains Haberman. “We have ten rock songs and seven ballads, and various influences are manifested in all of them. Kevin Bowe has an Americana style. Matt Kirkwold has a definite rock influence. Jenny Case is inspired by pop. This record weaves those styles together.”
Dulce et Decorum Est takes its name from a 1917 poem written by Wilfred Owen. The literal translation -- “how sweet and fitting it is” -- refers to a controversial slogan used by the British government during World War I.
“They used this propaganda to try and encourage young men to sign up for the military,” Haberman says. “They were essentially saying how sweet and fitting it would be for you to die for your country. In response, Wilfred Owen wrote this poem, which is a satire of the British government’s position. It basically condemns the slogan, and he was coined the first ‘war poet’ as a result.”
When it came time to record the band’s diverse, literary music, War Poets turned to two acclaimed producers. Kevin Bowe, a Grammy-winning producer whose resume includes collaborations with Jonny Lang and hometown hero Paul Westerberg, recorded several songs in his Minneapolis studio, while Stephen McKnight (owner of Thermal Productions in Philadelphia) handled the rest. The result is a melting pot of ideas, musical influences and stories, all entwined to form the War Poets’ formidable debut.