30 Day Song Challenge, Day 1 – “Orange Blood” by Mt. Joy

Since deciding a month ago to take a break from writing reviews, the number of posts I’ve written has dropped dramatically, with only six published in June, the fewest for any month in the nearly seven years I’ve been blogging. Though my overall dislike for writing hasn’t changed, the break has helped me get over some of my burnout. With that in mind, I’ve decided to embark on a 30-day song challenge for the month of July. I found a lot of 30-day song challenges in my search, but many had one or more topics that I thought were silly or that I didn’t want to write about. I finally managed to land upon one that seemed reasonably intelligent, which is the one shown above, so here goes.

The Day 1 topic is “a song with a color in the title”, and my pick is “Orange Blood” by alternative/indie folk rock band Mt. Joy. With roots in Philadelphia and now based in Los Angeles, Mt. Joy is a five-piece consisting of Matt Quinn (vocals, guitar), Sam Cooper (guitar), Michael Byrnes (bass), Jackie Miclau (keyboards), and Sotiris Eliopoulos (drums). The band is named after Mount Joy, which is located in Valley Forge National Historic Park, Pennsylvania, not far from where Quinn and Cooper grew up.

They released their debut single “Astrovan” in 2016, then followed in 2017 with three more singles “Sheep”, “Cardinal”, and “Silver Lining”, with “Silver Lining” eventually going all the way to #1 on the Billboard Triple A (Adult Alternative Airplay) chart. That song was my introduction to the band, and I’ve been a fan ever since. All those singles were included on their debut eponymous album Mt. Joy, released in March 2018. Over the next two years, they toured in support of the album, and after their 2020 tour with The Lumineers was cut short due to Covid, Mt. Joy followed with their second studio album Rearrange Us in June 2020. That album featured their wonderful single “Strangers”, which peaked at #5 on the Triple A chart.

In March of this year, they released “Lemon Tree”, the first single from their third album Orange Blood, which dropped two weeks ago on June 17th. That brilliant song features a slightly more experimental sound for Mt. Joy, with interesting time and signature changes and a fantastic blend of swirling and psychedelic guitars. They followed in April with the title track “Orange Blood”, a gorgeous song with a mellower vibe, but still featuring their signature captivating melodies and beautiful guitar work. The track starts off gently, with strummed acoustic guitar and delicate synths accompanying Quinn’s lovely vocals oozing with vulnerability. The music gradually builds with the addition of shimmery and twangy guitars, exuberant percussion, dreamy keyboards and a fine bass groove, accompanied by soaring vocal harmonies that bring goosebumps. I think this just might be my new favorite song by Mt. Joy.

About “Orange Blood”, Quinn stated that it’s “about a trip in the desert with my girlfriend. Everyone at some point should at least once find a way to tap into your subconscious and just sit still on this beautiful planet and be present.” The brilliantly-colored video, produced and directed by Hannah Edelman, is every bit as marvelous as the song. I love the trippy psychedelic imagery and warm-hued animation, interspersed with digitally-enhanced scenes of the band performing the song.

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