Song Premiere: Churchwood’s “Triptych”

Seventh son island soul drone

Song Premiere: Churchwood’s “Triptych”

A year after raising heaven and hell on their breakout sophomore LP, local blues punks Churchwood return to the altar for another ritual of musical madness and cerebral rebellion.

Trickgnosis, the veteran quintet’s third full-length in four years, arrives Sept. 16 on Saustex Records. The album art, a hog tattooed with an image of Jesus Christ holding the Sacred Heart, comes courtesy of Belgian artist Wim Delvoye, also responsible for the stained glass X-ray art used for Churchwood 2.

Singer Joe Doerr, a distinguished poet and professor at St. Edward’s University, explains the connection between the Christ-pig and the new album’s title.

“Gnosticism, the idea that spiritual knowledge is found within and you don’t need a priest or hierarchy as a middleman, has fascinated me for a long time. Playing with the term ‘Gnosis’ and looking at the pig, of course trichinosis comes to mind – the disease, the illness, the virus that someone can get from having eaten undercooked pork.

“So Trickgnosis struck me as a pun that fit right in with this work and my own interests.”

Churchwood’s latest collection remains tracked on the path of Nick Cave, Tom Waits, and Captain Beefheart, but veers sideways into country, punk, and, in the case of the vibraphone fueled, falsetto-pitched “Triptych,” something you might call island soul drone.

“The notion behind ‘Triptych’ comes from this desire to create a character for myself,” explains Doerr. “In blues mythology and various other cultures, this notion of the seventh son is really powerful. He’s said to possess a kind of Gnostic understanding of the world. It could be thought of as the opposite of the evangelistic approach to discovering the gospel.

“‘Evangelion’ means the good news or the gospel. The dysangelion is the alternative to the evangelion. For Gnostics, the dysangelion, or the bad news, is what we were supposed to be trustful of in the material realm, and because the evangelion comes from the physical realm, it was not to be trusted at all.

“So the seventh son, in all these traditions including the blues tradition, sort of arrives at that just by virtue of being born seventh. He comes to this world a badass, distrustful of authority, and capable of turning the world on its head.”

In reality, Doerr was born fourth of six sons, but in the lyrics, he makes himself a triptych – dividing into three – so he can achieve the Gnostic understanding of the world.

Preorder Churchwood’s Trickgnosis via iTunes and Amazon.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Churchwood
The Devil, You Say!
The Devil, You Say!
Accidental Russian tourist stars in Churchwood video

Margaret Moser, Aug. 23, 2013

More by Kevin Curtin
Playback: 2018-19 Austin Music Poll Ballot
Playback: 2018-19 Austin Music Poll Ballot
Kevin Curtin votes in the only election that matters, and you can too

Nov. 16, 2018

Jason Isbell Headlines Old Settler’s 2019
Jason Isbell Headlines Old Settler’s 2019
Brandi Carlile, Del McCoury, and Los Legends also stock initial lineup

Nov. 13, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Churchwood, Joe Doerr, St. Edward’s University, Saustex Records, Wim Delvoye, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Captain Beefheart

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle