After the disbandment of his indie rock outfit Cymbals Eat Guitars, Joseph D’Agostino pivoted towards solo music. The change birthed D’Agostino’s new project Empty Country, and he shared his eponymous debut solo album last week. D’Agostino celebrated the release of his debut record while stuck at home in quarantine. So the singer decided to grace his fans with three live versions of songs off Empty Country.
While home in his own studio, D’Agostino managed to perform energetic versions of the tracks “Diamond,” “Clearing,” and “Becca.” Along with his wife, D’Agostino said in a statement that they “hope this provides a distraction from the constant, crushing anxiety we’re all enduring.”
D’Agostino wrote about the theme of the song “Diamond” in a statement, saying it was written about the hardest year of his life:
“I began writing ‘Diamond’ for my wife Rachel in October 2017, on our foreshortened honeymoon in Upstate New York. Rachel’s aunt had passed away after a long battle with leukemia the day before our wedding, so we would have to head back south for the funeral only a few days later. Rachel’s cousin had succumbed to bone cancer just three years prior. The days Rachel and I spent in the Catskills after our wedding were slow and unreal, suspended in amber. We walked on the rails of the derelict Ulster & Delaware like twin gymnasts on parallel balance beams, Esopus Creek slipping by beside us. We relished in having no cell service. Though we were less than a year into the Trump era, we were already exhausted and full of dread. We fell deeply in love with the region and made plans to move there from Philadelphia as soon as we could. On the morning we left NY, the weather shifted. The leaves took on the queasy dull luster that prefigures thunderstorms. But for two gold days, we postponed encroaching reality. It is now 2020. The sh*t is fully hitting the fan, and we haven’t yet left Philadelphia. The advance I mention waiting for in the song— the one we planned to use as a downpayment on a house— would never come. In January 2019, within 24 hours of handing in the Empty Country masters, I was promptly dropped by my manager, publisher and booking agent. This professional disaster kicked off what would prove to be one of the most challenging years of my life, one that I seriously doubt I would have made it through alive without Rachel. So this song is for her… but you can listen too if you’d like.”
Watch Empty Country perform “Diamond,” “Clearing,” and “Becca” from his living room above.
Empty Country is out now via Get Better Records. Get it here