The year of 2020, during which Mick Kolassa lost his wife and several friends, inspired many of the songs on Wasted Youth. On new single “Darkness Into Light,” Kolassa weaves songs by WAR (‘Slipping Into Darkness”), The Youngbloods (“Darkness Darkness”) and the 150-year old traditional “Wayfaring Stranger” into a narrative that goes from harrowing addiction to peaceful redemption.
“I always wanted to do ‘Slipping Into Darkness,'” he explains. “I’ve always loved that song. I was fooling around with it one day and I realized I could find a way to transition it into ‘Darkness Darkness,’ and from there go into ‘Wayfaring Stranger.’ Everything just fit perfectly into place, and the three together tell an amazing story from addiction to kind of a death wish to salvation.”
Two things he’s always done over the course of his entire career are find the blues where they might not be apparent, and experiment with different instruments beyond the expected guitar, bass, drums, harp and piano; this time around, the violin plays a key role.
“The Youngbloods had a violin on the original ‘Darkness,’ and I think using it here is a great example of how the blues has evolved and adapted. Violin was one of the original blues instruments; before there were guitars there were violins and banjos.
“The Mexican migrant workers who came to the Delta introduced the guitar to the people who were doing really early blues, then the Hawaiians introduced steel guitar and it’s just kept growing and evolving for over a hundred years.”
From Wasted Youth, we are proud to exclusively premiere the video for “Darkness Into Light.”