David Lawrence has seen fires destroy mountain forests. He inspired a song.

It was mid-December, and the wind had finally calmed down. Hurricane-force gales the day before made driving along the Front Range questionable at best, caused snow squalls in the mountains and started grass fires in the plains.

The planet at this point is telling us to come down, says singer-songwriter David Lawrence. “We shake off like a bad habit,” he continues.

Lawrence had hosted a musical event for the holiday season at Cherry Creek Holiday Market, and the wind had blown all of his decorative trees the day before. He was thanking his lucky stars that the wind had stopped – a band was playing that night and he needed some calm.

The bad weather made him think of “The Seeds We Sow”, the first single from his band David Lawrence and the Spoonful which will be released on Wednesday December 29th. The song was born out of the apocalyptic wildfires that have so recently ravaged Colorado. Lawrence remembers returning home to Longmont after a concert in Denver in the summer of 2020 and seeing fires burning from Boulder to Fort Collins, erasing much of the sky with acrid smoke.

“There was this distinct line in the sky where there was a blue sky and then there was this huge gray – just a cloud of deadly smoke rolling,” he said. “The next day it was snowing and ash at the same time, just that apocalyptic nature that mixed with the pandemic.”

This unpleasant sight made him think of all the trees that perish in the flames, but also of the uncertainty of his own future as a musician after all the work he devoted to it. Uncertainty, he says, and the fear and anxiety that comes with it, is usually good fodder for music and art.

“Maybe things will rise like a phoenix from the ashes and be better for us,” he said. “Or maybe they’re going to be worse, and we really don’t have much control over what happens.”

He adds that people try to stay in control – even though it’s a futile endeavor – and can at least learn and grow with the wrong hand. In the end, all one can do is learn some form of acceptance.

“I think that’s the only real moral of the song: we can’t control what’s going to happen,” he says. “We can accept what’s going to happen to us, whether it’s good or bad. This is the gist of what I was trying to capture.

Lawrence, who is also a member of LAPOMPE, a group that plays hot jazz in the spirit of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli, has taken a more rootsy direction with his new music. He says he’s going to look for a sound in the neighborhood of bluesman Taj Mahal.

“I want to play music that has a feeling you’ve heard before,” he says. “It sounds nostalgic or vintage in a way and rooted in something, but at the same time fresh and not just trying to copy something.”

“The Seeds We Sow” is the band’s debut single for their debut album, and Lawrence says he’s tried to give up the pursuit of a specific genre or sound. Tracks include keyboards, electric guitar, drums, trumpet, saxophone, violin – all in the service of letting the music stretch. The songs oscillate between folk, blues and rock, and sometimes take on orchestral arrangements. Lawrence notes that when adding a lot of elements to songs there is a fine line between doing something good and fresh and making an ugly mess.

Whatever genre it belongs to, he says, the album tests the limits of his earlier work.

Click to enlarge Cover for "The seeds we sow." - WITH THE AUTHORIZATION OF DAVID LAWRENCE

Cover of “The Seeds We Sow”.

Courtesy of David Lawrence

“I had a hard time figuring out what ‘Seeds We Sow’ looks like to me,” he says. “For me, it’s a bit folkloric. It almost has a kind of folk-pop aesthetic. Then there are songs on the album where I take out my harmonica and it’s kind of a blues song.

Lawrence is hoping to have an entire album completed before spring, when he and his wife are expecting their first child.

“I think my time could be a bit more stretched at this point,” he jokes. “It’s pretty much frozen in my head that the album will be finished by spring. ”

“The Seeds We Sow” premieres Wednesday, December 29 and can be pre-recorded at distrokid.com. For more information visit davidlawspoonful.com.

Elizabeth J. Harless