Rise the Dark

Rise the Dark

Music is a huge part of my writing process, and certain songs and artists seep into the individual books and characters. This is never more important than in the middle of a book, or during the first rewrites, when fresh energy is critical. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a few of the artists who consistently inspire me – Matthew Ryan, Josh Ritter, and Joe Pug, to name a few – and I’ve been able to see countless others – Brian Fallon, The National, and so many more– perform live (although Lord Huron still eludes me, and as far as I’m concerned they wrote most of Those Who Wish Me Dead).


I’d never heard or read anything about The Ballroom Thieves until one bogged-down day when I gave up on writing a coherent sentence and went music hunting on iTunes. Their song “Archers” hooked me, and much of their album became a part of my “soundtrack” for the book, and whenever I lacked creative energy, that music kept providing it.


This summer I got to see The Ballroom Thieves at a wonderful venue in Maine, and they played exactly one cover song – a Joe Pug number – while working with a sound tech who used to work for Josh Ritter. Joe Pug and Josh Ritter both graciously provided lyrics for my novel The Ridge. The whole night created a fun and intriguing sense of shared creative circle.

Here’s the bulk of the playlist for Rise the Dark:

  1. Archers, by The Ballroom Thieves
  2. Lantern, by The Ballroom Thieves
  3. Hard Time, by Seinabo Sey
  4. Pistols at Dawn, by Seinabo Sey
  5. Edge of the River, by Jenn Cristy
  6. Windfallen, by Joe Pug
  7. Work Song, by Hozier
  8. The Blacker the Berry, by Kendrick Lamar
  9. Write Them Down, by The Wooden Sky
  10. Top Shelf Drug, by Ryan Bingham
  11. Gun Fightin Man, by Ryan Bingham
  12. God’s Not Here Tonight, by Matthew Ryan
  13. Heaven’s Hill, by Matthew Ryan
  14. Speed Trap Town, by Jason Isbell
  15. How to Forget, by Jason Isbell
  16. Homecoming, by Josh Ritter
  17. Seeing Me `Round, by Josh Ritter
  18. Phantom, by Shirt
  19. Frozen Pines, by Lord Huron
  20. Cursed, by Lord Huron
  21. Dead Man’s Hand, by Lord Huron
  22. Anchors, by The Ballroom Thieves
  23. Cold Wind, by The John Butler Trio
  24. Beggar in the Morning, by the Barr Brothers
  25. The World Ender, by Lord Huron