Just in time for the Fourth of July, California-based roots duo the Easy Leaves celebrate the quiet dignity of small-town folks in their new video for “The American.”
Songwriter Sage Fifield says the song is about “that small-town thing that happens when you live in a place for your whole life and all of the dramas of your life happen in that one town. I think it tries to capture the nostalgia of that kind of life.
“When (bassist Kevin Carducci) and I travel through valley towns here in California and throughout the West, we’re in the habit of doing a little research,” he continued. “Traveling around is great for that. You get to place things you’ve heard about, which is fun, and you learn about all the little towns’ claims to fame. I’m often tickled and surprised at what we find out. It’s such a big country that I always feeling like we’re just scratching the surface.”
Carducci is equally smitten by the charm of small-town U.S.A.
“Every town seems to have its claim to fame,” he said. “I saw the ‘World’s Largest Ball of Twine’ in Cawker City, Kansas. Castroville, California, is the ‘Artichoke Center of the World,’ and in Iowa, you can find the ‘World’s Largest Truck Stop.’ It’s like every place has the opportunity to be significant — no matter how dubious the distinction may seem to outsiders.
“It’s something of a phenomenon that seems pretty congruent with the all-American ideal that everyone should be given an opportunity to succeed, to be somebody. And I guess it works. Because if it weren’t for that ball of twine, I would have no idea where Cawker City is.”
Featuring portraits of real-life Americans standing in front of a gigantic flag, their video plays on the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words.
“The song resonated with the director, Frank Door,” Fifield said. “And he ran with it in his own way. There’s something really magical when that happens, I think. Having written the song and performed it hundreds of times, it’s hard for me to have anything resembling an outside or objective view on it. I love what he saw in it. … I feel like he captured that nostalgic quality perfectly.”
The tiptoeing track comes from the duo’s album American Times. Check out the Easy Leaves’ patriotic pride in their video for “The American.”