The Arcadian Wild
Welcome. It’s a word The Arcadian Wild hold dear, an invitation to be present, to let your guard down, to share in something deep and divine and communal.
“No matter who you are or where you come from, that word just makes you breathe a little easier,” says guitarist/singer Isaac Horn. “When you feel welcome somewhere, you can be yourself, you can be open to whatever the space and the moment have to offer. That’s how we want people to experience these songs.”
Written and recorded in The Arcadian Wild’s hometown of Nashville, TN, Welcome marks the start of a captivating new chapter for the genre-bending trio, whose innovative use of vocal harmony and counterpoint has helped redefine the possibilities of modern string band music. Fresh off a series of critically acclaimed singles and EPs, the album is both delicately beautiful and boldly adventurous, drawing on everything from country and classical to pop and choral music with lush, cinematic arrangements that balance the intellectual and the emotional in equal measure.
“Harmony has been at the center of our musical experience and expression from the very beginning,” says mandolinist/singer Lincoln Mick. “Often, when we’re unsure of what to do next, we’ll say, ‘Let’s just all sing together.’ We’ve changed a lot as band over the years, but harmony has always been the backbone of what we do, which has led us to create all these background vocals that not only support the lead, but have a life and character of their own.”
Though the group tours and records without a drummer, the songs here are deeply rooted in rhythmic propulsion, with tracks driven by intricately interlocking instrumental and vocal parts that cohere into a deceptively effortless whole.
“When we’re working on arrangements, we actually try to treat our band like a drum set,” explains Horn. “Who’s the kick? Who’s the snare? Who’s the crash? Everyone has a specific role that comes together intentionally to form something that should ultimately feel very natural and conversational.”
Lyrically, the album functions in much the same way. There’s a rawness to the writing on Welcome that belies its careful craftsmanship, a deliberate embrace of candor and simplicity that cuts straight to the heart of things like never before. The result is perhaps the most arresting collection yet from a band known for its ability to stop listeners dead in their tracks, an exquisite celebration of community, connection, and the power of belonging that feels tailor-made for these challenging times.
“For me, the purpose of writing songs has always been to forge those connections,” Mick reflects. “Any time we take the stage, there’s a room full of people who all converged on that show from different backgrounds and with different stories, and we want to make sure they all know they have a place there with us.”
That sense of hospitality has been central to The Arcadian Wild’s story from its earliest days. Named for a utopian landscape in Greek mythology, the group got its start roughly a decade ago, when Horn and Mick met as choir students at Nashville’s Lipscomb University. While both had grown up on alt-rock and punk, they quickly bonded over a shared love for American roots music and the endless possibilities that lay beyond the boundaries of tradition and expectation. The band cut their teeth playing house shows, where they learned to treat their audience like family, and released their self-titled debut to widespread praise in 2015, racking up nearly 50 million streams on Spotify alone. Heavy touring followed with what Horn and Mick have described as a revolving door of supporting players, and the group returned in 2019 with a second full-length LP, Finch In The Pantry, which debuted in the Top 10 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart. In January 2020, Horn and Mick welcomed fiddler Bailey Warren into the band full-time, but when the pandemic forced the trio off the road shortly after, they shifted their focus to composing and recording a multi-movement song cycle that resulted in the 2021 EP Principum, which reached #3 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart and helped earn the band performances everywhere from the Woody Guthrie Center to the Ryman Auditorium.
“Having such a long break from touring gave me a chance to stretch myself as a writer and really chase down every single idea I had, no matter how crazy it seemed,” Horn reflects. “At the time, the only people I had around me were my family and my closest friends, the people who had been there for me from the very beginning, and I think that started seeping into the songs whether I was aware of it or not.”
While Horn embraced the chance to slow down, Mick found himself itching to get back on the road, and his writing often reflected his longing for the catharsis of the stage.
“I found myself imagining what it would feel like to be in front of an audience again, to have a room full of people singing along with us,” he explains. “Once we got back on the road, it really reinvigorated us to take on a bigger project like this and tackle the grander musical narrative that comes with a full-length album.”
Working with engineer Logan Matheny (Colony House, Hiss Golden Messenger) and mixer Shani Gandhi (Sarah Jarosz, Sierra Hull), the band approached the recording sessions for Welcome as live as possible, embracing the organic feel of their concerts with the help of double bassist Erik Coveney (Sierra Hull, Dave Barnes), who joined them on the studio floor.
“We could have all gone in one at a time and tracked each instrument separately and made it all technically ‘perfect,’” says Horn, “but I don’t think that’s why people listen to us. They want to hear the human element, the sound of people making music in a room together, the energy you can only get from artists collaborating and feeding off of each other in real time.”
That collaborative energy is the heart and soul of Welcome, which builds from a pensive meditation into an ecstatic fireworks display on buoyant opener “Lara.” Inspired by a friend who reached out seeking encouragement for their daughter, the track is a soaring testament to believing in yourself and embracing the things that make you unique, even when others may try to tear you down. “Lara, don’t you let ‘em get your head down,” Horn and Mick sing in airtight harmony. “You’re carrying the fire, don’t forget now.” Such resilience and faith—both in yourself and in the people you love—is a recurring theme on the record. The dreamy “Big Sky, MT” paints a portrait of a couple whose relationship nourishes themselves and their land, while the delicate “Corner” celebrates the family figures—biological or chosen—who always have your back, and the poignant “Shoulders” offers its thanks to the ones who lift us up and show us the way.
“I was thinking about my dad when I wrote that song,” says Mick, “but ‘Shoulders’ is really an expression of gratitude for whoever fills that ‘father’ space in your life. Fred Rogers used to say that all of us have special people who have loved us into being, and I think it’s worth honoring them.”
For all its hope and optimism, Welcome wrestles with its fair share of struggle and doubt, too. The punchy “Dopamine” confronts the insidious ways that smartphones and social media have hijacked our brains, while the aching “Sparrow” contemplates how good intentions can lead to disastrous outcomes, and the urgent “Fable Of The Times” reckons with a world in which everyone has isolated themselves in their own realities. Mick and Horn refuse to throw their hands up in defeat, though, even in the darkest of moments, insisting that the antidote is and always has been the simple power of human connection.
“After our shows, we’ll meet these people who come from totally different worlds and likely wouldn’t agree on some pretty fundamental things,” says Horn. “But for a couple hours, they shared an experience together, and we want our music to invite people to do that, to be a little gentler with each other, to see that they may have more in common than they realize and that the things that make them different are gifts. When you approach the world with an open heart like that, anything’s possible.”
It’s a notion the band likes to remind their audience of every night when they take the stage, step up to the microphone, and say that magical word: Welcome.
Stay In Touch
Skip the FOMO, we’ll make sure you don’t miss a thing! Sign up for exclusive updates, events, and offers – just for fans like you.