If, when you die, you then wake to hear the song “Go Back” by Darlingside, rest assured: You’re either in Heaven or you’ve landed at a Darlingside concert.
A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal compared Darlingside to Crosby, Stills & Nash and the Eagles. Descriptions from The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker and NPR include phrases like "the best harmonies in the business, brilliant songwriting," and fresh albums full of "exquisitely arranged, literary-minded, baroque folk-pop, and locomotive folk-pop confections so richly executed it's hard to tell if it's one voice or 12."
Darlingside will perform Wednesday at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame, as part of the Passing Through Productions concert series.
In the beginning, they were just four guys — Don Mitchell, Auyon Mukharji, Harris Paseltiner and David Senft — who were going to Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.
“Auyon and I were paired as freshman year roommates,” Dave recalls. “We fought often, but we spent so much time together that we very quickly became like brothers.”
In 2010, the band went on their first national tour and released a self-produced six-track studio EP, "EP 1." They released "Pilot Machines" in 2012, which was recorded and co-produced by Nathaniel Kunkel (who has worked with Sting, Lyle Lovett and Graham Nash).
Darlingside released its second full-length album, "Birds Say," in September 2015. In 2016, Folk Alliance International named Darlingside “artist of the year.”
This year, Darlingside will perform at the Newport Folk Festival.
The four musicians, who can seemingly play any instrument, cluster around a single condenser microphone in order to blend their richly textured voices.
Their voices are front and center; harmony is everything and everyone sacrifices for the greater good.
“Each song and set of lyrics are created by all of us,’” Harris said. “We moved away from a single lead vocalist and started gravitating towards singing in unison, passing the melody around, or harmonizing in four parts through an entire song.”
The band’s name originates from a songwriting class the band members took at college and the British writer Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch who said to “kill your darlings.” Rather than Darlingcide, the band chose to use an “s” because it was less menacing.
This will be Darlingside's first visit to Bakersfield, although they changed a tire outside of town in 2015 when the group was opening for Patty Griffin on her tour.
Herb Benham is a principal in Passing Through Productions. He can be reached at email@example.com or 395-7279.