In December, PopMatters’ lauded the release of Dustbowl Revival’s “Runaway” in the lead-up to their latest album, Is It You, Is It Me. Little could we have surmised just how much the world would have changed between then and now. What started as a whirlwind year between a hot new album release and a tour turned quickly for the band, too, as the world began to lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For their newest single, Dustbowl Revival have created an irreverent reproach of the virus. “Queen Quarantine (A Home Recording)” was recorded at each respective member of Dustbowl Revival’s homes, between Los Angeles and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Musically, it’s a simmering roots tune inundated by a good-humored message and jaunty, singalong melodies. In the spirit of John Prine, the band takes the opportunity to not bask in sorrow, but to instead take the issue by the horns in a fun-loving, respectful way.
Dustbowl Revival band leader, and the song’s lyricist, Z. Lupetin expresses, “Sometimes songs come in fits of inspiration, and sometimes you just want to make yourself laugh during dark times. I first started working on this when we were sent home from tour after our last show in Brooklyn, 12 March. With our musical future in doubt and nowhere to go for weeks ahead, I made myself a mojito at noon and feeling a bit crazy, brought it into the shower.”
“The melody started coming to me there, (it is the best worst place to write new songs!) and I thought about all the funny ways the world was reacting to this strange new reality. Families were dancing in their driveways in Halloween masks. Friends were greeting each other in the street with their feet, not their hands. People like Madonna were stuck at home singing into a hairbrush like she was at a drunken karaoke bar. On the one hand, I wanted to address the appalling lack of testing and uncertainty in how to fight the virus. But then I thought how John Prine, who was sick at the time, how he might address all this? With humor and sly straight ahead truth-telling. This song goes out to him – hope it makes some folks smile and makes them think too.”
“Queen Quarantine (A Home Recording)” releases today, 22 May, via Medium Expectations and Thirty Tigers.