Premiere: Wax Owls, ‘Light Up the Way’

Wax Owls (Photo by Bernadette Marciniak)

If you’re looking to take a sentimental trip back to the beginning of the last decade, then turn up Wax Owls’ newest song, “Light Up the Way.” Trailing other fall singles “Set it Free” and “Come On,” members Gerry Hirschfeld, Randell Adams and Chris Tsanganeas reserve a place in the constellation of bands making anthemic indie-folk.

As vocalist and primary songwriter, Hirschfeld collaborated with multi-instrumentalist Lincoln Mendell in the only way you can in 2020 — over Zoom. The pair came up with the basis of the song together and then wrote and recorded their parts separately, allowing the creative freedom to take the song in whatever direction they wanted. Hirschfeld was particularly enthused by Lincoln’s mandolin addition, which allows the second chorus to come to life.

“Given the uncertainty in the world, we wanted this song to be lyrically and musically hopeful,” Hirschfeld says. “To that end, we introduced new instruments and harmonies as the song progresses to create a sense of people joining together in celebration.”

Though a new group, the members of Wax Owl bring some cred to the project. In particular, Hirschfeld has cut his chops by touring and performing with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Leon Russell. Wax Owls’ music is reminiscent of longer-running indie-folk bands such as Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers, as well as latecomers such as Mt. Joy and Wilderado.

Bringing in country music’s tradition to tell a good story, gang harmonies invigorate the new single’s look back on the loss of innocence. Hirschfeld reflects: “We were young / We would play soldiers,” he sings. “Then we got older / lost in the fallen sky / but you’d light the way home.”

Diving into the story behind “Light Up the Way” (which comes out Friday), he says, “Lyrically, the song is built around the notion of love that asks nothing in return in order to explore an idea of unconditional love.”

Wax Owls’ debut single, “Set It Free,” will also be featured in the forthcoming film “What She Said,” about the #MeToo movement.

||| Stream: “Light Up the Way”

||| Also: Stream “Come On” and “Set It Free”