Nashville-based alt-folk/bluegrass trio The Arcadian Wild has received over 50 million Spotify streams from over 325,000 monthly listeners. They’ve landed high on the charts multiple times, including with the 2021 record Principium, which reached the #3 slot on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart.
They recently invited listeners home again with the release of their newest album, Welcome. According to these musicians, it’s not just a collection of songs; it’s an invitation to pull up a chair and partake in a type of musical generosity.
“The idea behind the record is very wrapped up in hospitality,” explained The Arcadian Wild mandolinist and singer, Lincoln Mick. When they started, they were essentially gigging in “backyards and living rooms.” Over time, that experience gave the band an appreciation for more intimate settings and, according to Mick, helped them to practice learning to really “connect.”
Eventually, they branched out and, of course, started to perform in more public settings. The idea of “hospitality” stuck around and still informs the band’s approach today.
“I think all artists have this unique opportunity to become hosts in someone else’s house,” Mick explained. “When people were sharing their spaces with us, we had a profound sense of gratitude and sense of wanting to steward that well. Hopefully, they walk away at the end of the night feeling nourished by the table we set.”
With a sound that melds chamber folk and progressive bluegrass styles, these performers bend genre boundaries and bring a stamp of both musicianship and openness to their work. There are some interesting influences in the bandmates’ backgrounds.
“Alt-rock and Christian pop-punk…that was kind of our roots,” Mick said. “We just kinda gravitated to bluegrass and folk.” He added, “We’re still kinda on the edge of bluegrass. Kind of adjacent.”
They began recording Welcome in late January last year, and the 12-track recording dropped in July. Early single releases such as “Dopamine,” “Corner,” “Lara,” and “Shoulders” set up the record for a promising start.
“I feel like this is the best momentum we’ve had at the beginning of an album cycle,” Mick said just before the record’s release. By all indications, he feels great about the project and everyone involved. “The best people have come into our orbit,” he said. “We have to give so much credit to the people surrounding us.”
Late summer and early fall involved quite a bit of touring to support the record, including a west coast tour in September and an August appearance at the Grand Ole Opry.
“I think since we’ve been getting back to work after the pandemic, it’s been refreshing to get back on the road and reconnect with audiences,” he added.
The other two-thirds of the trio include guitarist and singer Isaac Horn and fiddler Bailey Warren.
“Isaac, the guitarist – and I – we’re the primary songwriters for the record,” Mick said, explaining that they all played a vital role in the process, however, including the other creatives who joined the trio in the studio. “It’s nice to see everybody’s fingerprints come out in every song.” He laughed. “We spent a lot of time lovingly fussing over all of it.”
Welcome was approached from the angle of recording everything as “live” as possible to reflect the “organic” feel of the band’s concerts. The trio was joined by double bassist Erik Coveney, who has performed with the likes of Sierra Hull and Dave Barnes. Engineering was by Logan Matheny, who has worked with outfits such as Colony House and Hiss Golden Messenger. It was mixed by Shani Gandhi, whose credits include work by Sarah Jarosz and Sierra Hull.
When asked what he likes best about bluegrass and its people, Mick didn’t delay his response. He knew right away how to describe the appeal.
“I think one of the things I really appreciate is the kind of baked-in honesty,” he explained. “There is no artifice to hide behind… you just have to be up-front and direct.”