Now, this is music to lose yourself in. ‘Love, Service, Devotion’ is a six-minute sonic journey that grows and and changes, moving through stages in which different instruments come to the fore. Most notably, Albert Margolis supplies some dreamy synths and keys and Ben Wagner’s exquisite steel playing is an absorbing thing of joy. Layers and currents of sound sweep us along while Andrew Corradini and Russell Long sing of love: “A little bit of love goes a long way // a whole lot of kindness is what we need.” Indeed, it’s a sentiment we can’t disagree with. The overall effect is foot-tapping, infectious fun. The song is full of likeable hooks, delightful melody and improvised, free-form jams.
Matt Costa’s accompanying video fits the song’s vibe perfectly. The band members come across a mysterious, velvet-curtained tent on the beach and when they step inside they find themselves magically transported to a full-size music studio to perform in. It’s a suitably-sequined environment to play ‘Love, Service, Devotion’ and we can imagine drifting away to their sounds in a magical tent, feeling cosmic. Drummer Kevin Bleitz says of the video: “We sent Matt some of our favourite references of videos we liked from the 90s growing up, and he was quick to see exactly what we were going for. Matt edited together everything and gave it the feel we were going for – a band that steps into a magical dimension where Love Service and Devotion are experienced in song.”
The song was written during the lockdown of 2020, following the release of their self-titled debut EP earlier that year. At a time of great uncertainty and social isolation, the band wrote the song while looking for connection. Guitarist and vocalist Russell Long explains: “I wrote ‘Love, Service, Devotion’ as a sort of reminder to myself…A reminder that Love is all around and possible at all times, and that sometimes the only thing lacking is an openness to it, or a shift in perspective. There are all kinds of ways to shift ourselves and our perspective to a place where we become more open and receptive of the way things are, and then begin to truly experience and share Love. The way the chorus and outro-jam developed, with a kind of bubble and jubilance, definitely created a realm in which LOVE was the first thing that came to mind when it came time to write lyrics, the words kinda just fell into place around that.”
The Great North Special is a 7-piece jam band that came together through their love of the Grateful Dead. The inspiration of their favourite band can be heard clearly in their music, but there’s a lot more in there – psychedelia, country, blues and more – and The Great North Special are aiming to build a following on their own merit and creativity. It does bubble and it is jubilant; it’s an infectious celebration of love and music. Check it out.
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