Dear Father’s new EP is sad, and for a good cause

Ted Kim was supposed to go on tour this spring, but those plans fell apart in the wake of the pandemic. The Chilliwack artist performs under the name Dear Father and he’s been making the most of these self-isolation days by writing new music. After a couple of months stuck at home, he’s chosen the two best of his recently written material, to record and release as an EP under the fitting name of At Home

What’s extra special about this release is that he is donating 100% of the proceeds to the Canadian Mental Health Association. You can purchase the two songs on his Bandcamp and you name the price. An incredibly generous move from an artist who, like many of us, has had to make his own sacrifices during these times.

It helps that the songs are good. The short and sweet “Try” was inspired by a comment on one of his Facebook posts where he asked what he should write a song about. The comment said, ‘Write a song about living in your car.’ And so he did.

“There’s times I was living inside a car/Times were tough but that’s where we are/Oh I know, got a long way to go.”

The meaning doesn’t hide in this song; things get tough, but keep trying and it tends to get better. It’s structured around light acoustic guitar and what appears to be a softly tapped xylophone. The simplicity of it all makes for something quite pretty. Despite the encouraging lyrics, there’s a bit of a pensive sadness to the song (sad songs are in Dear Father’s wheelhouse) which only adds to its strength. It’s like a sad lullaby and is the type of song that could provide the soundtrack to a much-needed shedding of tears.

And if you find that one striking a chord, then get ready for the feels with “Nightmare.” Kim says the song depicts a more personal struggle of his during the quarantine. While many of us are feeling restless these days, it affects us in different ways, and for Kim, this restlessness has resulted in trouble with sleep. He confesses that the struggle to sleep has led him to drink more to help ease his slumber. 

“Is this my nightmare?/Cause I am scared/And I’m only dreaming/If I’m impaired.”

It’s him with an acoustic and that’s all it takes to make this song everything it needs to be. He hits on quite the special feeling with the chorus, delivering a melody that sounds almost instantly recognizable. The whispered backing vocals add another layer of urgency to the desperate words and give it a bit of a gritty texture. While haunting and drowned in a feeling of hopelessness, it’s another beautiful piece of work that proves what a sad song can do.

We’re living in strange times and if you want to hear music that is living right in these times with you, this EP is a good place to start. And need I remind you that you pay what you want and it all goes to the Canadian Mental Health Association? Well, consider yourself reminded.

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