“Heaven” is a song whose introduction explains its origin. “I really was moved one Sunday morning by the songs of Sister (Rosetta) Tharpe,” explains Marc Oxborrow of Phoenix punkgrass outfit The Haymarket Squares. “In fact, I was lying in bed, watching a documentary about this powerful guitarist, preacher and iconoclast, when I began thinking about something that’s always puzzled me about some religions: their emphasis on an afterlife, seemingly at the expense of changing things for the better (or even having fun) in this one. The song came together pretty quickly after that, and quickly made its way into our live setlist. We had fun arranging the song to play up the gospel feel with call-and-response vocals.”
The song is from the band’s new album, Light It Up, recorded with producer Bob Hoag at Flying Blanket Recording in Mesa, Arizona, who uses an interesting combination of analog and digital recording techniques that results in a warm, human-sounding performance.
“The idea for the video came from a single phrase: ‘Angels on their day off.’ After making videos that involved some kind of band performance (‘Gateway Drug’), and/or a fairly literal (if darkly humorous) visualization of the lyrics (‘Let’s Start A Riot), we thought it’d be fun to tell a parallel story about heavenly beings who decide to sample some of earth’s pleasures,” he continues. “We worked with director/cinematographer Cory Davis to brainstorm locations and activities, then shot the whole thing in one long, dawn-to-dusk day.”
Oxborrow says the band quickly learned that people love angels–high fives, honking cars, giggling kids — it seems no one can resist a bunch of guys in all white wearing wings. “We even got invited into a wedding photo session. I think the couple imagined we were a sign of divine approval of their union,” he says. The video also features of the band’s favorite Phoenix spots–Bikini Lounge, a dive bar that’s been around since 1947, Treehouse Bakery, a great source for vegan treats, and Encanto Park, a sprawling patch of green in middle of our concrete-tastic desert city.
Without further ado, Mother Church Pew is proud to present the video premiere of “Heaven” by The Haymarket Squares: