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Dakota Floyd / Jeremy Ray
Let's All Play First

(Dakota from New Junk City)

Whew! If you know me or Jeremy personally, you already know that this record has been a long time coming, and there are so many things to say about it.

I first met Jeremy about 10 years ago at WonderRoot, a small community arts center in the Reynoldstown neighborhood of Atlanta. I was still in college, playing dumb songs about heartbreak. Jeremy was well out of college, playing weird blues songs and wearing goofy hats that I still make fun of him for. Seriously. Look it up. Or actually, please don't.

Since then we've written better songs, (mostly) ditched the funny hats, and played a ton of shows together in sweaty basements, cluttered living rooms, smoky dive bars, firefly-lit parks, cramped record stores, and pretty much anywhere else you can think of.

In April of 2016, I released my first full length record, . At the release show, Jeremy introduced me to Katie Butler and Steve Seachrist. In total truth, I didn't think I'd ever see them again, but – unluckily for them – that has definitely not been the case! Over the past few years, the four of us have played a bunch of shows together, shared many a meal and laugh, and recorded an unquantifiable amount of music at Radon Recordings, better known as Steve and Katie's basement.

I don't remember when the idea for this split came up or whose idea it was, but it's something we've been poking around at for four or five years. In the summer of 2017 I wrote “Going... Going... Gone!” and sent it to Jeremy, challenging him to write a two minute song about baseball. That resulted in “Municipal Stadium”, one of my favorite of Jeremy's tunes. After playing around with a few different song combinations and bouncing ideas back and forth, we finally went back down to the Radon basement and made this thing happen. Steve and Katie plugged and unplugged countless mics and cables, recorded, listened to, and mixed it all. Everyone played on everything. I ate so many blood orange slices and pieces of popcorn that it was hard for me to sing when the time came. It all felt very organic and real, an authenticity that feels fleeting in today's world.

One day, the places we love will become mixed-use condos and parking lots, losing any trace of the art, history, and stories we left behind. Maybe by the time you read this that's what WonderRoot will have become – little more than corporate-sponsored beige walls on the side of the road. I hope not, but regardless of what happens, this record is a memorial for the places we've loved and lost and a love letter to authentic relationships found in unlikely places. Long live Radon Recordings, decade-spanning friendships, laughing until your stomach hurts, and hanging out on back porches until it's hard to keep your eyes open.

Thanks for giving this record a shot. When faced with the question, “Who's gonna kick off the show?” I'll always respond, “Let's all play first!”