PREMIERE: Vagabonds reflect on the cold winds of change with “Franklin SE”

By definition, Vagabonds are wanderers with no semblance of normalcy or settlement in their grasp. Travelers who have grown closer to cold nights and colder doses of reality than they have to other people. They spend their days watching the world bend and shape around others from the outside, acting more as passive observers than anything else. This is fitting for the Michigan-based project of the same name. Their first release was an album of songs recorded in rooms and spaces that were often empty or abandoned — traveling place to place to piece together a body of work that resonated with their vision. It’s been two years since the project’s debut and I couldn’t be more excited to share the first taste of their upcoming album Liminal Space, out this Spring, with the captivating music video for lead single, “Franklin SE.”

On “Franklin SE,” Vagabonds tackle the cold nature of change by taking the shape of the beast itself. Things are slow to build, creating a sense of tension and unease akin to that of feeling upended. Luke Dean is the creative mastermind behind Vagabonds, and says that a the second verse of the song was directly inspired by the harsh reality of moving to a new place and watching the fabric of everything you’ve come to know and believe start to fray. It’s a feeling that was cemented by the lyrics, “I tried to find you in the quiet things all those years I spent in ministry. Your spirit left like that house emptied. In the emptiness, I heard your children weep.”

It’s moments like this that makes it feel like you’re living life in the passenger seat. Everything around you is in such a constant and rapid state of change and you’ve absolutely lost any sense of control. You can’t pump the brakes. You can’t pull the wheel. It’s a head-on collision with uncertainty that you’ve got no way out of. The chaos of all of this is often quiet. It’s not loud enough to let the world know that something’s awry, it’s a slow build that eventually starts to collapse in on itself. A feeling that is mirrored perfectly both in performance on this track and the unease that looms over the music video that we’ve shared above.

In a piece that accompanies this music video, Dean says, “The video for “Franklin SE”, filmed by my good friend Ethan Cook, captures me at the sand dunes of Lake Michigan, running freely toward the future. When we were getting ready to shoot, a fox crossed our path on a hill, and I felt like that was a good omen. While I’m still figuring out my relationship to spirituality and superstition, I looked up interpretations of that omen later on. I read somewhere that a fox crossing one’s path is a signal to adapt to circumstances you cannot change. Maybe I’m looking for meaning in happenstance, but it felt all too fitting considering the subject matter of the project we were working on.”

“Franklin SE” will hit streaming services on February 27th. You can pre-save the song here. Keep an eye out for Vagabonds new album, Liminal Space, out this Spring.