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David Huckfelt: ‘The things we argue about, they don’t matter in the face of life and death’

David Huckfelt. (courtesy the artist)
David Huckfelt. (courtesy the artist)

by Caleb Brennan

April 13, 2020

In continuing with her Phone a Friend series, last Monday Jill Riley spoke with David Huckfelt about his newborn baby, living day-to-day, and his use of Kickstarter to keep musicians employed during this pandemic.

Jill Riley: I've got David Huckfelt of The Pines on the line. David, how are you?

Not bad, just kind of one day at a time. You know, I know that that sounds like a cliche term, but it's so useful to be in that mindset.

And I know that you're in that mindset because...congratulations on the new addition to your family!

Now, thank you so much. Yeah, it's, it's been unbelievable. I mean, no one's ever prepared. I've heard this when you have your first child, but Billy arrived about nine days ago and it's just been a tsunami of love. And, I mean, in perspective, we're so happy and a little scared at the same time. So I feel very blessed right now.

I have one son, he's four. And I will tell you that you will eventually sleep again. It does get better. But right now, it's just that time where you're just holding this little bundle of love. And then when you get home, it's like, wait, they let me take this human child home. And now what do I do? And I know it's just that feeling of uncertainty. And, of course, like nothing but this feeling of love that I've never felt for anything in my life. So I really am so happy for you.

I appreciate that. And I couldn't agree more. It's interesting, because I just find myself staring into his eyes for like, hours at a time, and he looks like he knows what to do next, like what we should all do next. You know, I know he doesn't, but it's a feeling of clarity and just a simple beauty to it. You're right, it's unlike anything else I've ever experienced.

Yeah, I think a newborn child has almost a healthy dose of perspective that we don't even have in our day-to-day. But in speaking of that day-to-day, you know, it's stressful to be a first-time parent, but then also stressful to be a first-time parent during a global pandemic, when you make your living as a how are you holding up? How are you doing?

I'm holding up pretty well. Entirely thanks to the generosity, the love and the support of our friends and family. I've never experienced anything like what has come in for us: the kind messages, the photos, the notes, Skyping with my parents and grandparents. I've been listening to my friends' records and songs so much. You know, it makes me weep sometimes the love and passion that the people I know personally put into their music. And it makes me want to participate and continue that even in this time. It's kind of a fine line to walk because on one hand, it's just music. It's not life or death. But when it comes to the spirit, I feel like it kind of is life or death. And people need some protection from what's going on. And that's what we've been doing around the house.

Is there a way that your fans can support you right now?

There it is. I made a record, my second solo record. I recorded in Tucson this winter, and then all the stuff hit with the virus, so I decided to launch a Kickstarter. I don't think it could happen without support. And it really truly doesn't feel like it's about me, supporting the community of musicians and giving people a job when they all are now unemployed. It suddenly seems really important, all the support that anybody feels like contributing to my Kickstarter is going to go to the people who are working to finish this record. And I love that team spirit, I don't make records about myself. I make them at a big, long table. So that support is greatly, greatly appreciated. We've already raised some money that covers some of the expenses, and I'm so grateful for that. I just want to keep it going as long as possible.

So, Room Enough, Time Enough? Boy, that seems timely right now as we're talking.

It does and some of the songs, it's interesting when they come back around. Like, there's a song on the record called “Better to See the Face Than to Hear the Name,” which is just a title that came to me a little while back. But I think everyone right now misses being across from someone they love who's far away that they can't see, especially with a real baby that we'd love for people to get to meet. And he's got to meet them on screens right now. And it's better than nothing, but I miss seeing the faces, you know, with all these emotions that are going around. One of them is anger.

You know, when it comes to this frustration, and we've done so much finger-pointing in this country, but I feel like the urgency of how things are being know, it seems to me that it feels like a Little League baseball game where everybody wants their kid’s team to win, but meanwhile, there's a tornado out in centerfield. And the coach for one side wants to keep playing and that's very dangerous, I think. So I just hope that when we come out of this, we can understand that there are people who are really good at their jobs, we need them and the things we argue about, they don't matter in the face of life and death.

I appreciate you saying that David, I really do. Alright, David, I gotta let you go. But thank you so much for calling in and it's so good to hear your voice. Well, it will be good to see you on social media. We can see your face but I can't wait to see you face to face again and again. Just sending all my love to your family and the new baby with that fresh baby smell.

Jill, it's always so great to talk to you. I want to thank you so much for having me. And I just want to say too, for anybody listening, I'm gonna do my first ever Facebook Live concert tonight at 7:30 on my webpage and play some of these new songs because they gotta get played. And thank you so much for all you've done for Minneapolis and for music and people appreciate it so much.

All right, take care. The best part about those Facebook Live videos is that they don't go away after you're done. You know, people can check them out any time. So, alright, David, take care and we'll talk to you soon.

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