If there is one thing that Phoenix-based folk artist Daryl Scherrer knows about, it's heartbreak. Whether performing his solo acoustic stuff as "The Voice Who Lost Its Man" or playing with either of his bands, The Blood Feud Family Singers and Monster May I, the central theme to any Daryl Scherrer tune is going to be lost love, and he sure is good at it.
From his 2008 debut solo album, Crapheart: 28 Songs to Commemorate My Divorce, Scherrer has just always known how to tug on the heartstrings of any lover. But that album was all solo acoustic. Adding Marc Oxborrow (Haymarket Squares) on bass and Douglas Berry (The Riveras) on drums to play with him in the Blood Feud Family Singers has afforded Scherrer a whole new level of energy and given a lot of his tracks a whole new lease on life.
As of press time, the B.F.F.S. are scheduled to release a debut album on Scherrer's 39th birthday, Wednesday, November 4. Four of the tracks will be new, full-band recordings of songs from Crapheart, including "Lay Me Down and Let Me Down," named one of the 10 best love songs ever written by a Phoenix musician by New Times in 2014. There also will be a CD release party at Last Exit Live on Thursday, November 5.
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In the chorus of "Let Me Down and Lay Me Down" the depressive folk artist waxes poetic about the over-the-top nature of what everyone seems to believe love means, singing, "Love was always such a disappointment." That particular sentiment echoes throughout just about every song Scherrer has ever written.
"I don't think I have ever written a song that was actually about love, meaning a song where the sentiment is loving, unless it's about loss," Scherrer says. "Whether in and of itself or inside oneself, love always promises paradise. But nothing ever delivers paradise. I suppose I'm interested in love because that's the thing I've always found myself a slave to in my life. It's always been the ongoing war in my life. That's where all the drama is. Not that that's unusual for a songwriter; it's pretty run of the mill, come to think of it. That's just the place I write from."
Scherrer has been writing his sad folk songs for nearly 20 years, and over that time, he has re-evaluated what success in the music world means. At one time, the singer-songwriter hoped to strike it rich serenading audiences with his philosophical prose about love. But now he says what makes him truly feel successful is when a listener lets him know that his songs speak truth to them.
"When someone says a song of mine really spoke to them — and they are having this moment in their life and they say that one of my songs really helped — that's what makes me feel successful. The fact that I managed to somehow — God knows how — say something true enough that it could be dignified by someone's actual life," says Scherrer. "Leonard Cohen one time was talking about people listening to songs during meaningful periods of their lives and how it's the life that dignifies the song and not the other way around. It's people's love affairs and heartaches, and the jobs they work and the hopes and fears, that justify the songs."