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Daniel Rodriguez Talks About His New Album, 'Sojourn Of A Burning Sun'


ELEPHANT REVIVAL: (Singing) Let the fires burn tonight. Let the jugs of wine get drunk.


The breakup of the band Elephant Revival was devastating to folk music fans. It's been two years since the group's final performance. But now fans can rejoice because the band's former guitarist and founder, Daniel Rodriguez, has a new solo album coming out. It's called "Sojourn Of A Burning Sun."


DANIEL RODRIGUEZ: (Singing) Our lungs - they are breathing life. Our hearts are beating drums in the wake of the static splash of the sojourn of a burning sun.

ELLIOTT: The record dotes not only on the heartbreak of losing his band, but also his partner of 14 years, and how Daniel Rodriguez was able to pick himself back up again. Daniel Rodriguez joins me now.

Welcome to the program.

RODRIGUEZ: Thank you for having me.

ELLIOTT: So you and your band were together for more than a decade. How did you come around to deciding you were ready to be solo?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, the band ended in May of 2018. We played our last show at Red Rocks, and that was parallel to the ending of a romantic relationship with me and another bandmate. And I had talked to my father, who broke up with my mom when I was younger, and he really consoled me and took me under his arm and said, get into your work. Get back into your work. Focus on something, and it will have healing properties within it.

And so that's what I did. As soon as the band ended - actually, even before we played our last show, I started writing and playing solo shows and going on tours and stuff just to give me something to focus on.

ELLIOTT: So take us back to that last show at Red Rocks in Colorado. Was there a moment that stands out for you?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, Red Rocks is a very miraculous place to play in general. It's a natural wonder. And every time I've played it, it stands out. I've played it maybe six times. And each and every time, I stand on the stage, looking out at, you know, 9-, 10,000 people, saying, how are we doing this? This is just incredible. And probably for that show was the last song, the last bow, the - you know, the last time I would take a bow with that band on that stage - that's probably the moment.


RODRIGUEZ: (Singing) I'm packing up my bags and my guitar to carry, and I'm headed out the door. I'm headed home. Colorado.

ELLIOTT: You were born and raised in New England, but what is it that makes Colorado home for you?

RODRIGUEZ: You know, when I was younger, growing up, whenever I would watch a movie or see a car drive by with Colorado license plates, I would just get this awesome feeling. The hair would stand up on the back of my neck, and I just knew, even at an early age, that I wanted to be out there. And then when my musical path was leading me in that direction, it was a very easy transition.

And it's really taken - the community here has taken me in with open arms. The music community here is very nourishing and very supportive, and the natural surroundings are just awesome. I'm looking at them right now in my backyard.


RODRIGUEZ: (Singing) Colorado, I'm headed home.

ELLIOTT: Let's talk a little bit about the last song on the album, "The Unknown."


RODRIGUEZ: (Singing) I'm out here in the unknown. I'm sure of the things I've been shown. Thrown it all to the wind. I'm questioning everything.

ELLIOTT: This was actually the first song you wrote as you were starting to make this album. What was the thinking - what was the impetus for the song?

RODRIGUEZ: You know, this song almost didn't make it on the record just because it's a very vulnerable song. It's very raw. And it is the first song that I wrote after the band disbanded and my relationship - and I was almost embarrassed to put it on. But after, you know, many discussions with my producer, Darren Garvey - you know, he's like, that's what people want to hear. They want to hear the raw, vulnerable stuff, and hopefully a piece of them is in there that they can hear and move through as well. So yeah, it's a very intense piece for me. And surprisingly, it's some of my friends' favorite song.


RODRIGUEZ: (Singing) I'll be here through the night, writing charms in the candlelight, casting shadows on the wall, trying to make sense of it all.

ELLIOTT: How would you say working on this album has changed you over these past two years?

RODRIGUEZ: It's changed me in a lot of ways. It's wrapping up a chapter of my life and offering it to those who wish to listen to it.

ELLIOTT: Daniel Rodriguez's new album is "Sojourn Of A Burning Sun."

Thank you so much for talking with us.

RODRIGUEZ: Thank you so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.