words by Chance Solem-Pfeifer
If you listen to the first two tracks of Crystal Davy’s debut album Immigrants and Strangers, it’s not hard to imagine her venturing down the path of a larger semi-narrative work. "Mustang Molly" captures a tragic, wayward character, and "Kentucky" paints an idyllic, lost sort of pastoral landscape.
But semi-narrative album doesn’t being to capture the marriage of person and place undertaken on Sincerely, Dorothy, the forthcoming record from Davy’s band, Dear Herman. That expression of farewell — Sincerely, Dorothy — captures one long goodbye on an epistolary record written in the voice of a dying mother to her daughter-in-law. It’s a goodbye meant to inspire hard-bitten hellos between her husband, Nolan, and his estranged son Tom who haven’t spoken in 12 years.
But the songs are as much letters to Dorothy’s daughter-in-law Anna, just as much as they are revelations on place and community as each of the 12 songs. Corresponding to 12 letters, they sketch a Northern California town, which imprints itself on this crosshairs of a family.
But the world-building of Sincerely, Dorothy doesn’t stop there. The project becomes even more experimental with the advent of a two-night live show on Nov. 8 and 9 at the Auld Pavilion in Lincoln, Neb. This week, Dear Herman is auditioning a cast of actors, whose onstage movements will accompany a live performance of the record front-to-back. The community-oriented mission comes clearer and clearer into view as Sincerely, Dorothy depends on Lincoln artists and volunteers across multiple mediums.
In the month of May, Dear Herman raised nearly $7,000 and about $800 more than their original goal for the purposes of writing and producing an album and November’s stage performances.
There are bits and pieces of Dorothy’s letters out in the world right now, some in the Kickstarter video and video release of “Gad Harvey” which showcases the soaring harmonies of Davy and her sister Melissa Taylor under an Antelope Trail bridge.
But for Dorothy’s collected works and some insight into what audiences can expect from this large scale in November, we need Dear Herman. So live from the 89.3 KZUM studios, ladies and gentlemen, here’s Dear Herman: