Captain Yonder

Spirit Ditch, Minnesota, US
Artist / Band / Musician
Indie / Visual
Strange Midge
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Reconciled at last, Judas Iscariot and Bright Eyes hold hands by a stark northern lake. The season casts its pall over the ripples, and fresh snow muffles the whir of an old movie camera that the Coen Brothers have set up at the water's edge. The surrounding scene is pastoral, ominous, and beautifully eerie.Picture a bearded gypsy, a dead-eyed Ice Queen reigning over bodies that blanket an endless field, and gunslingers armed with potatoes. All of them wander and list, ghostlike, in swirls of guitar, drums, cello, glockenspiel, whistle, and musical saw.This is the world of the Minnesota band Captain Yonder, the reality of founding songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Pfeiffer, a former truck driver, philosophy major, maritime cadet, orchestral musician, and lawyer. Pfeiffer’s music emanates from a rich and often bizarre set of experiences, including a childhood near-drowning, a tragic collision, and a life-changing encounter with an old musician in Wyoming.Captain Yonder recorded its fourth CD, "Good-Bye, Woland!", at Wavelab Studios in Tucson, with Craig Schumacher (Calexico, Neko Case, Robyn Hitchcock, Iron & Wine) producing. In its details, and in their assembly into reflections of mortality, absurdity, and love, "Good-Bye, Woland!" is shards of a dream—beautiful and dangerous.

Pfeiffer credits Dave Fridmann (of the Flaming Lips) and producer Bill Racine for his initial decision to take music into the public sphere. After hearing Pfeiffer's first album, Fridmann invited Pfeiffer to record "Mad Country Love Songs" at the infamous Tarbox Road Studios in New York. (MOJO Magazine subsequently awarded the album 4-stars.) Pfeiffer cites additional multiple influences, including David Lynch, the songs of Bob Dylan and Cisco Houston, and the writings of Poe, Orwell, Nietsche, Bulgakov, and the Wild West outlaw Cole Younger. The band’s touring lineup includes musical saw player Adam Wirtzfeld (Wirtzfeld professes that "the beauty of an instrument is directly proportional to its destructiveness"); drummer Derek Trost; guitarist James Edlund; pedal steel player Jaim Zuber; and cellist Josh Aerie.A reconciliation of innocence, experience, betrayal, and love, the world of Captain Yonder will both perplex and entrance. Somewhere within, gypsies will wander and the sky may list. And when Bright Eyes and Judas finally consummate their love, the pig-bird will sing. --Dawson Smith, Esq. (w/ Sheryl Northrup and Bob Doerschuk)
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