Paul Ravenwood (Twilight Fauna)

Paul Ravenwood

In My Vinyl Offering, we get up close and personal with our favorite musicians and friends to find out the most cherished parts of their record collection. This time around we feature the collection of our friend Paul Ravenwood, the man and multi-instrumentalist behind the atmospheric metal project Twilight Fauna.

The first record I ever bought with my own money was…

Probably Blackfoot Strikes. My parents had a record collection when I was young so there were always records laying around. They were huge southern rock fans so that’s what I listened to when I was a kid. That Blackfoot record has a song called “Train,” Train that I always loved so I saved up and got my own copy. I was probably around 8 or so. That song starts off with a killer riff and was probably the heaviest thing I had heard at that point in my young life.

The record that made me want to make music was…

Without a doubt Judas Priest Sad Wings of Destiny. That was the first real metal that I heard when I was maybe 10 or 11. Halford’s voice on “Dreamer Deceiver” is so otherworldly. It made a huge impact on how I looked at music. I started off on guitar shortly after that. I grew up going to concerts so I’ve wanted to make music for as long as I can remember, but that record grabbed me like nothing else ever had and still hasn’t let go.

The record I’ve played more than any other is…

Probably the same answer as the last question. Or any of those early Judas Priest records really. Sad Wings of Destiny, Sin after Sin, and Stained Glass are basically my top 3 favorite records. I’ve been spinning those since I was a kid and I never tire of it. I still feel the same magic in those songs as I did when I was 12 listening on my parent’s record player. In fact, I don’t think I’m really friends with someone until we get drunk and I make you listen to Judas Priest records. It’s something of a rite of passage around my house.

The record that always make me feel good is…

The Eldritch Dark by Blood Ceremony. I’ve listened to this album at least once a week since it came out a few years back. There’s something dark but also incredibly uplifting to it. And for some reason feels like a warm summer breeze every time I hear it. That record’s definitely my feel good album. This has made me realize feel good albums aren’t something I have a lot of.

The record I turn to when I’m feeling down is…

This is a hard question to answer because I tend to gravitate toward sad music. A lot of my records would fit into this category. Currently I would say By the Sweat of My Brow by Hazel Dickens. Hazel wrote about a lot of hard truths about the area where I live. There’s a comfort in knowing that the struggles we face aren’t new. People have been facing the same hardships through generations. It’s part of the human experience. Her music was written about folks that lived 50 or more years ago. The fact that they still ring true and connect with me, and the place I call home, helps me gather strength from those who lived and fought their own battles in this area long before I got here. .The thought that I’m not alone in that is something that fills me with hope.

The record with my favorite cover art is…

For My Parents by Mono. The photograph is such a striking image but also very simple and aesthetically clean looking. It perfectly describes the theme of the record before you ever hear a note. It’s ghostly, and beautiful, and incredibly touching all at the same time. You can’t help but look at it as you listen to the songs. It’s not some random addition added later to grab people’s attention. It’s a natural extension of the music. I love this whole record so much. I’ve never been able to get through it without crying.

The strangest LP I own is…

Probably an old stage play of Alice in Wonderland. It was one of those impulse buys where you’re at a flea market and find something for a quarter and you say why the hell not? Maybe it’s the sound quality on the old, slightly warped vinyl or the fact that it’s a recorded stage play so it’s not always easy to figure out what’s happening, but it’s definitely a strange listen. It very much has an unearthly character to it. Which now that I think about it is probably very appropriate.

The rarest LP I own is…

I have no idea. I don’t see myself as a record collector. I am a vinyl listener. I listen to all my records and never look up what any of them are worth monetarily. If I find myself with something sitting on a shelf not being enjoyed, I’ll give it away to friends or the local record shop. But in terms of records I own where there might not be many of them left… I have a few old traditional records like that. One is an LP of rare Appalachian Ballads. I also have a bluegrass record from Grundy, VA by a band called Andrew Stacy and the Virginia Grass that I’ve never seen anywhere else. It’s probably one of those where the band pressed it themselves, and I have no idea how many are still out there in working condition. There’s some great tunes on that album. It makes you wonder how many great records are sitting on a shelf or in someone’s basement somewhere forgotten about.

The last LP I bought was…

The last record I bought was actually a 7” by Clifton Hicks. I know 7’s get a bad rap because for awhile folks were pressing really low quality EP’s and flooding every record store with them. At least in some genres. But done right, you can do amazing things with a 7”. Clifton Hicks is one of my favorite traditional musicians so him getting onto vinyl is something I’m incredibly stoked about. For his ep, he recorded it live in his home using an old fashion tape machine. So the songs on the vinyl stayed analog all the way through the process. For someone making old time mountain music, this kind of commitment to authenticity is rare to find these days. The quality of his record is reflective of that.

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Twilight Fauna’s latest album, The Year the Stars Fell>, was released on March 24, 2017. You can download and pick up a copy of the “blue sky edition” vinyl right here.

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About the Author

Ken Kopija
I'm a black coffee drinking curmudgeon who loves heavy metal and 80s alternative music.

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