Old Fire is the pet project of Texas based programmer John Mark Lapham, - of The Earlies and 4AD band The Late Cord fame. Born from an album concept for a 4AD project with singer Micah P. Hinson (The Late Cord), Old Fire's 2016 debut Songs from the Haunted South was originally intended to feature different singers and musicians recording songs that were both covers and originals. After parting ways with Micah, Lapham remained determined to realize his vision for the album and sought voices he considered special or fitted the inspiration.
The first piece of the puzzle fell in to place after meeting the former owner of 4AD, Ivo Watts Russell, who introduced Lapham to singer/songwriter, Tom Rapp - who recorded a string of haunting albums in the late 60s and 70s under the name Pearls Before Swine. The vocals Rapp provided formed the basis of the track "Shadows." In the following years, guest vocals were recorded by Sara Lowes (The Earlies), DM Stith, Christopher Barnes (Gem Club), Rebekka Karijord, and Alex Maas (Black Angels). The project also features a myriad of exceptional musicians including DM Stith - piano and guitar, Christopher Barnes (Gem Club) - piano, Warren Defever (His Name Is Alive) - guitar, Thor Harris (Swans) - drums, Christian Madden - Rhodes piano and organ and Semay Wu - cello.
The 13 track album contains a selection of songs that in one way or another are dedications to people, some dead and some still living. Musically, inspirations range from ambient artists such as Brian Eno and Stars of the Lid to Psychedelic Rock, traditional country and early 4AD. Sitting alongside the original Old Fire compositions are a selection of intriguing cover versions. Lapham uniquely interprets songs by Psychic TV ("The Orchids"), Low ("Laser Beam"), Ian William Craig ("A Slight Grip, A Gentle Hold"), Jason Molina ("It's Easier Now"), Camberwell Now ("Know How") and Shearwater ("Helix").