Darling Congress 
“Hanging on the Line” 

Darling Congress’ Peter van Helvoort [ Kyle Fisher; collage by Laura Kay Keeling]

This month’s PRESS PLAY featured artist is Hamilton’s Darling Congress.

PRESS PLAY had to press pause last month but is back for February 2023 with a wonderfully woozy post-post-holiday treat from Darling Congress, the Hamilton-based project of Peter van Helvoort (Teenage Kicks). Below, van Helvoort shares the story behind the song “Hanging On The Line”:

For the last fifteen years, I’ve recorded songs every Christmas for my partner, and “Hanging On The Line” was originally written as a holiday song. When we were in the studio finishing the Darling Congress LP, Jubilant Blue, I tried to record the song at the end of our session for that year’s offering. The album’s producer, Brett Emmons, is a self-proclaimed hater of the holidays and insisted we record it for the album instead.

I rewrote the lyrics, and we reworked the structure and tracked it as the tenth song for the album. I could never get a handle on the mix, so instead, I ended up putting a truncated, stripped-down version of the song as the album closer instead. Revisiting the song almost a year later, I feel like I’ve got a handle on it now.

The music and the melodies were chasing the beauty of Guided By Voices’ “Girls Of Wild Strawberries” and Big Star’s “September Gurls” and “I’m In Love With A Girl.” In addition to the band member Keegan Powell on guitar, the song features Max Trefler on drums, my brother Jeff van Helvoort on bass, marking the first time we’d recorded anything together in nearly ten years, as well as Jordan Miller from the Beaches on backing vocals.

“Hanging on the Line” by Darling Congress

“Hanging on the Line” by Darling Congress