Don't Carry It All

Album: The King Is Dead (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • This rousing folk-rocker is the opening track of Portland, Oregon based indie folk rock band The Decembrists sixth studio album, The King is Dead. The song features R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck on mandolin and singer-songwriter Gillian Welch, who provides backing vocals.
  • Buck plays guitar or mandolin on three of the album's ten tracks. Decemberists vocalist/guitarist Colin Meloy explained the R.E.M. member's involvement in an interview with Billboard magazine: "On a lot of songs I wrote for this record, I was trying to free my mind from more academic music interests I had over the last four or five years, and trying or reconnect with some of the music that initially got me playing guitar and writing songs in the first place," he said. "So I started writing these bold-faced R.E.M. songs, and I thought, 'If we're going to go there, it would be fun to get Peter [Buck] to get on board, and he was totally into it.'"
  • Meloy told Spin magazine the song's lyrics deal with his attempts at horticulture. "My wife and I put in six garden plots at our new house and I feel like our entire first year was trying to watch the direction of the sun to figure out where we'd put the plots," he explained. "I think of it as a good little gardening song."

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