Song Confessional at The Hotel Magdalena, Austin, Texas

I found the Song Confessional Podcast in 2020 after it premiered on Spotify at the end of 2019. Per the official write up and description on Spotify; “On the Song Confessional Podcast, today’s top bands and songwriters turn anonymous stories into new original songs. Each episode features the “confession” that inspires the original song, the song premiere, and an interview with the songwriter.” The Podcast is hosted by musicians Walker Lukens and Zac Catanzaro and broadcasts out of Austin. Lukens has addressed his ties to Houston as he grew up in the area.

I was drawn to the podcast beyond the premise of collecting stories anonymously to use as fodder for songwriting, but also because of the early traveling nature of how the stories were collected. The Song Confessional Podcast and project have been known to travel with a camping trailer to events like Newport Folk Festival. As someone who produces a weekly travel blog, there is an ethos in discovery that is afforded by mobility. New locations may share themes, but also provide new perspectives and drive differing questions.

The featured outpost at Hotel Magdalena is portable, yet doesn’t feel fleeting. The confessional is designed in a way that is hearty, which feels grounding for what can be cathartic to those confessing. Not every confession has to be filled with a deep inner turmoil but the design of the outpost is comfortable in the event that the story makes that turn.

Each week, I would tune in to find some familiar favorites (I see you @wildchild and @kamfranklin) but also find some new classics (hello @houndsmouth) interpreting a confession or story. The music is solid, always unique to the artist and their genre. The story of the song writing and recording is presented and I think that element also adds a counterbalance to what can be heavy topics.

I made a confession of my own when I stopped by in Austin, though I have no idea if I will ever have a song made out of my words. Out of respect for the process, I’ll spare you the story here this week and maybe when you tune in, you can imagine whether or not you think that what you hear is coming from me.

The track to pair this week comes from Usher, who’s “Confessions Part II” was a solid fit. The “Confessions” LP from Usher that was reissued on gold vinyl from @VinylMePlease also contains the hit “Yeah!” that dominated 2004. The song addresses the difficulty in bringing up harder subjects in confession. Disclosure is not always simple, though very important for healthy communication.

The podcast has done a good job of presenting varied perspectives. There have been weeks that I have agreed with the confessor as well as times I have despised the opinions that a confessor holds. Yet, the art that is made from all of these has been an entertaining experience.

For Record Store Day this year, Song Confessional is releasing a limited pressing compilation LP of some of the songs that have been created as a part of this idea. I am really excited and will be happy to spin my own copy if I am lucky enough to score one this April.

So, keep your eyes open for the podcast, the installment if you find yourself in Austin soon and lookout for yourself and one another in the meantime. Until we meet again, friends.

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