Written over the course of five years, The Hideaways is the first full-length album from singer-songwriter Cole Scheifele. Released on July 22, the album gives a much-needed break from the intensity and fast pace of the summer and offers listeners both perspective and a feeling of internal peace. With ten songs that are severe and their realities sobering, The Hideaways speaks about change and personal growth during a time when the whole world is learning similar lessons.
With Scheifele, a natural writer at heart, the strength of the album’s lyrics comes as no surprise. While his inspiration spans from all over the place, he’s a huge fan of lyricism and his biggest role models are those he considers great writers. Even before picking up the guitar, Scheifele started with just a notebook. “I work really hard at my lyrics,” Scheifele said. “There are all sorts of writers that I love that inspire the words.”
Scheifele’s lyrics are heartfelt and genuine to the point that they can feel quite vulnerable, like in “Back Then,” for example:
“Didn’t I feel this way / Haven’t I lived this day? / Didn’t I wake up here with the same old empty heart? / Haven’t I lost my way? / Haven’t I said I’d change? / Haven’t I burned this bridge with the same damn match and flame?”
The authenticity is made even starker with the softness of Scheifele’s musicality. Most of the album features just him — his words and his guitar — a powerful duo that speaks volumes on its own. There are a few tracks that have a little more meat to them instrumentally and help to break up the enormity of the simpler, slower songs, casting a wonderful juxtaposition between the two energies. “Turn To You” and “All The While” are more up-tempo, the latter boasting a toe-tapping drumbeat that proves the versatility of Scheifele’s musical side.
While his musicality may seem to be second nature, music isn’t hereditary for Scheifele. “Music is not in my family at all,” he said. “I learned the guitar a little bit in high school and ended up going to college at CU Denver for songwriting and kept on doing it since.” Graduation came with the release of a six-song EP, which left a handful of songs leftover that didn’t originally make the cut. When it came time to record The Hideaways, Scheifele and his producer Ben Wysocki of The Fray, were able to pair together the old with the new. “I didn’t want to let the old [songs] go to waste so we decided to do a full-length with those and some of the new ones,” Scheifele said of how the ten songs feel into place.
With the album going into production around the time COVID-19 came around, the new songs haven’t received much face time with an audience. According to Scheifele, it’s been a rollercoaster, even though he was able to play an album release show at the Boulder Theater last month. He still hasn’t toured yet, which is his short-term goal. “I’m looking for other show opportunities, trying to break my way into the industry that way,” he said. Another goal is to simply get writing again, because, like most things, COVID-19 pushed his writing to the wayside.
Thankfully, musical and lyrical inspiration abounds in the Front Range, and Scheifele feels grateful to be a part of the scene. “Denver is booming,” he said. “So many Denver bands are on the cusp, on the rise — it’s super supportive.” Scheifele himself is on the rise and is bound to hit local stages as things continue to clear up.