This Headline Contains Sunshine

It’s the winter solstice, the Dark Night of the Soul, our annual reminder that death is imminent, life is cyclical, and without darkness, there is no light.

For years, this time of year has brought me down: the darkness, the cold, the forced cheer and rampant capitalism. Sad memories of Christmases past.

But I long ago realized that I could counter the darkness by transforming it. Over the yers, I’ve recorded and released my holiday faves, and helped organize holiday benefit albums and shows. Creating and collaborating makes its own light.

And today, at the very instant that the earth is tilted furthest from the sun, I’m premiering a brand-new music video, “Fort Hood (or, Aventures au Pays des Oiseaux)”.

“Adventures in Birdland” is a series of one-off books that I illustrated for Maggie and Elsie. The stories were based on characters I drew on Post-It notes slipped into their school lunches.

The song is a Mike Doughty cover performed by myself, Tom Spiker (guitar), Dan Golden (drums, bass), Paul Maddison (guitar), with Casey Shea, Mike Butterworth and Jason Walsmith (backing vocals). It was mixed by Jon Locker, and mastered by Jon Jetter.

The music video was animated by Audra Brandt, a Brooklyn-based artist, animator and Storycamp Co-Founder based on my magic-marker illustrated. From our conversation on the tarmac of Nashville International Airport to today, she made it all come alive in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

We hope that it provides you a modicum of light and joy, and helps you through your dark night. Please spread that light by sharing with your friends, families and neighbors.

Watch the “Fort Hood” music video on YouTube. Stream “Fort Hood” and the entire “Essential Benjamin Wagner (2001-2021)” collection on Apple MusicSpotify, and everywhere you find music. And listen to “Friends & Neighbors: An ‘Essential’ Conversation, Part II,” on AppleSpotifyYouTube or wherever you get your podcasts.

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