The Autumn Defense Brighten “August Song”


Here’s a new tune to put you in a sunny frame of mind — the Autumn Defense’s “August Song.” The thoughtful duo is comprised of John Stiratt and Patrick Sansone, who are both full-time members of Wilco. Their upcoming album, Fifth, arrives on Jan. 28. That same day, they’ll launch a national tour at the cozy Tractor Tavern in Seattle.

Just before heading to Japan to promote the new project, Sansone answered a few questions by email for CMT Edge.

CMT Edge: To me, there’s a warm and happy feel to “August Song.” What were you thinking about when you came up with the idea?

Sansone: I’m not really sure! The song lived as an instrumental for some time … probably almost a year before I came up with a lyric and a vocal. That happens with me and my songs often. A musical idea will come fast, and I’ll live with it for some time and let it grow in my subconscious. … Then eventually, I’ll have to dig deep in there and pull out a lyric that is often a mystery even to myself. But I think in general the spirit of it is of moving on from troubles from the past … of looking forward.

The subtlety in the arrangement suits the song. It might have been easy to go overboard, but you didn’t. What do you remember about this recording session?

John and I recorded most of the instruments of this track, just the two of us, one afternoon in August … not long after completing our last album, Once Around. We did all the acoustics, bass, 12-string electric and some of the percussion in one afternoon. It was very organic, and I really wanted to preserve the original spirit of that when completing it for the Fifth album. There was a bit of temptation to add a full drum kit and some keyboards and stuff, but thankfully we decided not to.

I feel like this song especially would sound terrific on vinyl. Are you interested in vinyl or even just going back and soaking up the music from a few generations ago?

We are very interested in vinyl. We were actually just listening to the vinyl pressing of the album yesterday and we are really happy with it. Vinyl is our favorite way to listen to records. We are very much from the vinyl generation, and the music we make is obviously in debt to the music of the ‘60s and ‘70s, so for us, vinyl is a must.

Enjoy the CMT Edge premiere of the August Defense’s “August Song.”