American Foursquare is a meditation on empathy, on love, and on the meaning of home.
Denison began writing American Foursquare after he and his family relocated from Philadelphia to his hometown of Lancaster in 2014, trading their 800-square-foot row home for a 100-year-old house on the edge of Lancaster City. Denison wrote and recorded the songs as a response to the major life changes of moving and domestication, all the while taking a general hiatus from music to start a carpentry business and spend time with his wife and small children.
Denison named the record after the architectural style of the “new” house. Designed in reaction to the ornament of late-nineteenth century architecture, the foursquare emphasizes simplicity and function, with an open four-by-four room layout and a balanced, boxy shape. It’s one of the most common styles of American architecture.
As Denison wrote and recorded these songs, the simplicity, ubiquity, and plain-spoken utilitarianism of the American Foursquare house became a centering stand-in metaphor for many of the themes on the record: loss, change, settling, transition.
Denison began recording American Foursquare with Thomas Bartlett (Sufjan Stevens, The National, Norah Jones) and finished/mixed in Seattle, WA with Andy Park (Death Cab For Cutie, Pedro The Lion, Noah Gundersen) with additional string arrangements and vocals by Abby Gundersen and electric guitar and mandolin by Aaron Campbell.