STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Philadelphia folk/pop outfit Good Old War will soon be back on the road, turning more people on to the songs from their fourth album “Broken Into Better Shape.”
“There were a lot of things going on in our lives at the time we were writing it,” said singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Keith Goodwin. Those things included relationship challenges, friends going through drug problems, and their drummer, Tim Arnold, re-locating to Atlanta last year for the birth of his first child.
“One of the things they say (at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings) is ‘broken into better shape.’ Things start collapsing before they get better,” Goodwin said.
Arnold has re-joined Good Old War, but Goodwin made it sound like Arnold’s commitment to the band is subject to change, depending on what’s going on with his new family. “Whenever he can, he’ll come play shows with us,” said Goodwin, who has had to make recent adjustments of his own due to fatherhood.
One of those shows is at Union Transfer Dec. 18. “It sounds really great in the audience, and it’s the right size for us,” Goodwin said of the hometown venue, adding that it’s easy to record from Union Transfer’s sound board. Their 2013 release “Live From The City of Brotherly Love” was recorded there.
When asked about the curious band name, Goodwin said: “My wife said: ‘Good Old War? What are you taking about?’ We wanted to have a name like Simon & Garfunkel or Crosby, Stills & Nash. But we didn’t think Goodwin, Arnold & Schwartz (guitarist/songwriter/harmony singer Dan Schwartz) sounded good. (It sounds like) a bad law firm.” So they took the Good from Goodwin, the Old from the end of Arnold and the War from the middle of Schwartz.
They’ve appeared on “Conan” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and opened for acts such as Counting Crows, Dispatch, Alison Krauss and Brandi Carlile; however, said Goodwin, a Good Old War show has a community vibe all its own. “It’s become sort of like a party. It’s more energetic than you think. People who come to the shows love the songs and end up singing along.”
Goodwin’s favorite tracks off the new album are “Small World” and “Don’t Forget.” But it’s the lead single from “Broken Into Better Shape” — “Tell Me What You Want From Me” — that might be the most likely to get stuck in your head; especially with the offbeat, Stephen-King’s-“It”-in-reverse humor of the video.
Connect with Good Old War at www.goodoldwar.com, www.facebook.com/goodoldwar and @goodoldwar on Twitter.