Song Premiere: Daemon Chili “Mercy Of The Sea”
On April 7, Boston-based roots rock band Daemon Chili will celebrate their new album Mercy of the Sea with a show at The Plough and Stars in Cambridge, MA. The group is led by Michael Dion, formerly of the string band Hot Day at the Zoo, who has moved into the electric realm on this project in which he not only sings but plays guitar and lap steel.
Today we premiere the title track to the new record. Dion tells Relix, “’Mercy of the Sea’ is one of the first songs I ever wrote, so it has a certain sense of juvenile urgency to it, a sort of unrestrained child-like vitality that I have only tapped into a handful of times in my life as a songwriter. When that kind of inspiration hits, you simply abide. The whole world falls away, and you wring every last drop of creativity out of your soul until the juice runs dry. The door never stays open for long, and there are sometimes years between the knocks.
“I wrote Mercy back in late 2001, just a few month safter 9/11. I was living and teaching in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador at the time. Basically, I sailed around the islands on various ships teaching conversational English to crew-members. To this day, I’m told that many of the sailors in the Galapagos speak with a distinct Boston accent. I guess you could say I left my mark there.
“One of the classes I taught was for the captain of the largest ship in the fleet. His name was Olmedo, a retired Ecuadorian Navy officer. Once we got to know each other, he began sharing stories with me about his time in the Navy, the battles he had lived through, and the struggles he endured. He was a great man, so I used him as a basis for the hero in the song. The tune is set against the backdrop of Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, and there is also a third, autobiographical element to the song, which blurs the lines between memoir and history. This is a songwriting technique that I have continued to work on over the years. It should be clear by now that I appreciate innovation over convention in the craft. For me, songwriting is a unique mode of expression which holds few boundaries and promises only freedom.”