Doug Hoekstra – “Higher Ground” (Official Video)

Doug Hoekstra took a solid off from releasing music to raise a family, have a job and just generally enjoy being away from the pressures of promotion that come along with it. He’s returned with The Day Deserved, a ten track record that skirts the line between Americana and the more slowcore indie movement like Low, Mazzy Star or Slow Dive. The songs are steeped in storytelling and leverage similar instrumentation to the Americana world but the feeling of embarrassing earnesty that is common to the genre is absent here.

The track “Higher Ground” are a great example of this. The song is a slow burn filled with bare instrumentation that builds over time, telling a rather fascinating tale. Here’s some insight from Hoekstra:

There’s a small coastal country the middle of the Pacific Ocean called Kirabiti. Highest point is six feet above sea level and in the near future, this nation of 110,000 is likely to be completely swallowed up by rising sea levels caused by climate change. So, the country’s leaders are buying up land in Fiji, higher ground, moving the entire population 75 people at a time, by lottery. Sometimes winning isn’t winning. The song is from the perspective of such a winner, an old man, looking back, missing his native land.

There’s a lot that could go wrong with a song from that perspective but Hoekstra pulls it off. Even if you didn’t know the backstory, it’s a tale of new beginnings and lamenting the past. The video, directed by Trevor Denton, was shot around California and embraces the vibe of raising tides and the downsides of “progress.”

It’s a solid, contemplative, piece both aurally and visually. Spend some time with it and then do the same with the entire record, The Day Deserved.

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