The Writing South Releases an Unapologetically Raw Debut Album

HARRISBURG, PA - Fresh off his first release in mid-August, WAR, the self-produced, unapologetically raw debut album by The Writing South, is already receiving a lot of attention. Based out of Harrisburg, PA, The Writing South (a.k.a. singer-songwriter, Brendan Cavanaugh), has always flirted with the idea of making music but hasn’t taken it seriously until 2011. With heavy influences stemming from 70’s rock, 90’s grunge rock, alternative rock, and early 2000’s post-punk genres, WAR has a gritty, sometimes aggressive sound, paired with thoughtful and authentic lyrics.

Cavanaugh has a raw sound that has been compared to bands by the likes of Modest Mouse, Manchester Orchestra, Nirvana, and Brand New. Which he takes great pride in. “I feel so honored to be compared to those guys on any level. I consider those guys to be my teachers and mentors. They’re my heroes. A lot of the music I grew up listening to gave me real language to help describe thoughts or emotions I was having. Not just lyrically, but sonically as well. It helped me find a way out when I felt lost. Part of this record is a love letter to those sounds that gave me discovery and hope in an unconventional way.”

WAR has been a six-year journey for Cavanaugh, with most of the songs having been written in the midst of a formative spiritual journey and a tumultuous personal event. “I’m a deeply spiritual person. And I write to help process the world around me.” Having written all of the songs and arrangements himself, Cavanaugh deemed it imperative to have a live band track with him. “I have so much respect for people who can do it all on their own, but I can’t deny the magic of getting in a room with some people and cutting loose. I’ll demo by myself for sure. But when it’s time to track and put stuff down, I’m gonna gather a crew.” He describes his production style as ‘fluid and collaborative.’ “It’s half the fun for me. I’ve no interest in becoming a dictator, especially in music. I want to ride that sonic wave. But I also know what I’m looking for.”

Since April 2019, two singles and a music video have been released from the album, WAR: “Feral” and “No Matter What.” Both singles have attained curated status on Reverbnation, in April and August respectively. The Writing South has also already reached another exciting milestone, by rapidly hitting number one in his genre in the area of Central Pennsylvania artists in the United States, also via Reverbnation.

Cavanaugh is anticipating an upcoming front page feature on Reverbnation’s website in mid February. His music video for his first single, “Feral,” has also done better than expected. Shot partly on an abandoned stretch of highway found in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania, and partly in his basement, the contemplatively intense lyrics pair well with the mysteriously wild aesthetic of the video. “The facepaint comes from ancient celtic culture,” he says. “Each warrior had his own designs that were deeply personal and spiritual. I chose it because with what I was experiencing at the time, I wasn't going to lay down and let circumstances walk all over me. I wanted to push back.”

The future is wide open for Cavanaugh, who is staying busy between projects by juggling other roles, between parenting his two sons and other creative ventures and outlets. He already has his next two projects well underway, as well as two more music videos planned. The first project, a four-song EP, is a stripped down reimagining of selected songs from his debut album. “These songs were the ones that sparked an album,” he says, “I re-wrote them to kind of get out of my own head and challenge myself.” His second mentioned project will be a follow-up to his debut album. But he already has half the record done... “The secret is that my gears are always turning. I’m constantly creating, taking notes, voice memos, and getting into the studio as frequently as I can. But resting in between projects isn’t a bad idea.”

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