Music News & Reviews

Taking it personally: New EP ‘Old Flame’ shares musician’s story of tragedy, triumph

A staple in the Lexington music scene for nearly a decade has been multi-instrumentalist Maggie Lander.

At times wielding a fiddle, other times a guitar, Lander has shared the stage with Sassafras, Patrick McNeese Band, The Landers and more recently The Rooster’s Crow. However, now Lander has a new set of stories to tell on her EP “Old Flame,” out August 17 that she says the inspiration for stemmed from a tumultuous breakup.

“I had this deep hurt happening that I needed to get out — and writing it down seems to be the only way I know how to do that,” said Lander. “So I went on a mission to exercise the ‘demons.’ With every song I finished more of this weight lifted off of me.”

That relief started last winter when the seeds for “Old Flame” began to sprout. According to Lander she spent much of that time isolated, closing herself off from the world and looking inward to get to the root of what she was feeling.

The resulting songs look at Lander’s struggles and ensuing triumphs, culminating on the EP’s closing track “New Years Day.” The song was the last Lander penned for “Old Flame” that ponders waiting for change to happen when in reality change doesn’t happen until you make it happen and learning to love oneself before being able to love somebody else.

“‘New Years Day’ helped to close a chapter on not only that phase of my life, but also the recording could now happen because that door was closed.”

In bringing “Old Flame” to life, Lander turned to long-time collaborators within the Lexington music community. J. Tom Hnatow, an accomplished musician with Vandaveer, Horse Feathers and a slew of others who have often shared a stage with Lander worked closely with her to produce the project.

Lander says that much of the recording sessions for the EP were scheduled around Hnatow’s touring schedule with the Oregon-based Horse Feathers, with sessions occurring sporadically spanning throughout the winter, fall and spring.

“We had to play the waiting game, but it was more than worth it in order to have Tom involved,” said Lander.

Hnatow also performed guitar and pedal steel on the record in addition to producing. Additionally, Duane Lundy of Shangri-la Productions helped to mix the record and Robby Cosenza, admittedly Lander’s favorite drummer, lent his talents on percussion that Lander says nailed the specific rhythmic feel she envisioned for the project.

Maggie Lander is a Lexington musician who has just released her new album ‘Old Flame’ on iTunes. She plays Saturday night at Willie’s Locally Known on Southland Drive. Matt Goins

“It meant a lot to have my dear friends help me create something so special to me,” said Lander. “(Tom) was very patient with my vision and we were able to create a really great vibe at the studio to get in the right head space for the songs. Duane’s attention to detail in the mixing process was very valuable as he helped finish the details and framing of these songs.”

The resulting collaborations yield an extraordinarily heartfelt story of personal struggle and triumph through an Americana lens with hints of pop and soul aplenty on “Old Flame.”

The album’s resonating message of perseverance coupled with Lander’s fiery voice are an inspiration in not only how to handle adversity but how to succeed through it without conviction.

“What excites me is the possibility and hope that people can listen to it and find something that they identify with,” said Lander. “There’s moments of heartbreak. There’s moments of hopefulness. I just hope that somebody hears something that helps them get through something in their lives or make them feel like they aren’t alone.”


The Rooster’s Crow

When: 9:30 p.m. Oct. 6

Where: Willie’s Locally Known, 286 Southland Dr.

Admission: Free