Aug 05, 2022
By Caleb Campbell
Photography by JT Nero
Next week, Milwaukee-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Peter Mulvey is back with a new collaborative album with string duo SistaStrings, Love Is The Only Thing. The record began when Mulvey, cellist-vocalist Monique Ross, violinist-vocalist Chauntee Ross, and drummer Nathan Kilen met with plans to record both a live and studio record. The live album, Live at the Café Carpe, arrived in late 2020, but was put on hold thanks to the pandemic.
The full studio record is arriving at long last this month and it finds Mulvey and SistaStrings crafting a heart-warming marriage of protest songs and paeans to steadfast love. The record’s core lies in the ways we band together through times of strife, whether via community, family, or friendship. As Mulvey says, “This album is basically a happy family song, then a song about how fucked up things are, then a family song, then a song about how fucked up things are.”
This year, Mulvey and SistaStrings have already shared a trio of singles from the record, “You (and Everybody Else),” “Old Men Drinking Seagrams,” and “Shenandoah.” Today the band are back once again with the record’s title track, “Love Is The Only Thing,” premiering with Under the Radar.
“Love Is The Only Thing” is at once the record’s title track, closer, and a dramatic cover of fellow Americana stalwart Chuck Prophet. Now bolstered by cinematic strings, jangly acoustic guitar, and a rousing sing-along chorus, the track transforms into a climactic encapsulation of the record’s strident soul. Mulvey and SistaStrings belt and howl the chorus in a dose of unbridled musical ecstasy, capturing the trio in a soaring tribute to healing and humanity一“Love is a hurting thing / Oh, but love is the only thing anymore.”
Mulvey says of the track, “Chuck Prophet, the legendary rock’n’roller, the last captain of the Ford Econoline, a man of the cloth if ever there was one, has had a long collaboration with the San Francisco poet Kurt Lipschutz, who goes by klipschutz. I love their work. I love this song. They’re right: love is the only thing.”
Check out the song below. Love Is The Only Thing is out everywhere on August 12th via Righteous Babe Records.