Tin Horn Prayer had been considering reuniting for a while. The local folk-punk band had taken an indefinite hiatus in 2013. In late 2014, tragedy struck. The former drummer, Camden Trendler passed away. Tin Horn Prayer got back together to pay tribute to their fallen bandmate, and it felt good, so the discussions of reuniting became more serious. However, before anything was formalized, member Mikey Herrera passed away in his sleep.
The true reunion would never happen, but Tin Horn Prayer knew death was not a proper ending for a band that spent so much energy and music rebelling against darkness and despair. The remaining five members gathered for a final time, wrote two songs (“All Good Wayfaring Sons” and “Once More”) and released them this weekend as a final farewell on their bandcamp.
“It was weird,” member Andy Thomas says of the day they recorded those two songs. “We hadn’t seen in each other in a while. It was a perfect day for Tin Horn Prayer. We drank a lot of beer and told a lot of inside jokes, and at the end we were all blubbering and crying.”
Thomas says the band knew, when stepping in to record, that it was the last time Tin Horn Prayer would be together as a band.
“It was a final end for this band we cared about for so long,” Thomas says. “We wanted it to be the last thing we ever did as a band and be a good memorial. To say some things to Mikey and Camden that I didn’t get to say when they were alive.”
The two songs are different but equally emotional. The memory of Trendler and Herrera runs through every lyric and note. “All Good Wayfaring Sons” is an end-of-the-night song, one full of good memories, centering on the good ol’ days. “Once More” is a dirge, a reflection on death and lives lost too soon.
“The concept of the song was not just [about Herrera] but everybody who's gone too soon,” Thomas says of “Once More.” “If you had one more chance, what would you do? I think of him, if it was explained to him that he was going to die that night, would he have dropped everything and seen the world in a different perspective?”
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“All Good Wayfaring Sons,” which is more reminiscent of the good past then the heartbreaking present, also touches on death with lines like “a couple of the best of us ended up in early graves.”
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Tin Horn Prayer is over because, as Thomas puts it, the band is “incomplete” without Herrera. At the end of “Once More” there is an extended banjo, played by Herrera’s good friend Josh Friedman.
“The reason we ended it with the banjo — that’s supposed to represent that Mikey still there,” Thomas says. “Trying to still replicate his presence there, but this band is incomplete without him.”
Both songs can be heard and downloaded here.