Anthony D'Amato
Photo: Vivian Wang / Courtesy of Blue Rose Music

Anthony D’Amato Is in It For the “Long Haul” (premiere)

Anthony D’Amato’s “Long Haul” is vintage folk-rock that uplifts with its message of love and commitment. His new LP, At First There Was Nothing, releases on 21 October.

Anthony D’Amato is in it for the “Long Haul” with his new single. The tune chugs along like the train that features in its music video, directed by David Dibble. Shot entirely on Super 8 film, its aesthetic matches the song’s vintage folk-rock. Throughout, D’Amato uplifts with encouraging messages of commitment.

He describes “Long Haul” as a song that celebrates a long-term love, telling PopMatters, “There’s a lot of new love and infatuation songs out there, but I wanted to write something that celebrated commitment and devotion and reliability. There’s something really liberating about finding the person you know you can count on and can count on you for the rest of your life, and I wanted to capture the lightness that comes with that feeling by mixing these playful verses along with that more serious pledge in the chorus: ‘I’m in for the long haul.'”

D’Amato says, “The song has a sense of perpetual motion to it, a relentless forward momentum, and I knew I wanted the video to reflect that. I’d spent the better part of a year living next to the tracks of the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in Durango, Colorado. This turned out to be the perfect opportunity to team up with them on a project.”

“I’d been a fan of filmmaker David Dibble’s work for a while, so when I pitched him on shooting a video entirely on Super 8 film in the San Juan Mountains, it didn’t take too much convincing. He brought such creativity and so many great ideas to the table. Thanks to the openness and patience of everybody at Bears Ranch and the railroad, we were able to shoot something that felt adventurous and timeless and embraced the kind of sweeping western landscapes that helped inspire the music.”

Super 8 film grain drives the video’s old-school, adventuresome dynamic, propelled further by the song’s relentless rhythm. When it breaks into its crescendo, the song bursts with a swirl of horns, strings, and keys, accelerated by an almost march-along drum. When D’Amato ultimately sets his sights on train-hopping, he makes narrative sense by showing his unending drive to get where he’s going. All the while, the artist pays visual homage to the great American tale of the nomadic musician.

“I first saw filmmaker David Dibble’s Super 8 footage of the Durango & Silverton a few years ago and immediately fell in love with it,” D’Amato says. “There’s something timeless about the feel of the film, and I loved the idea that we could go out and shoot with this old steam train and this 1929 Ford and horses in all of these landscapes that look pretty much the same now as they did 100 years ago. I ultimately wanted a video that existed outside of any specific time period, and using film was a huge piece of that puzzle.”

“I’ve loved trains since I was a kid, and when I’m not on tour you can generally find me off on some railroad photography adventure, so to bring my passion for music and old steam trains together was really special for me with this video. When the pandemic put touring on hold, I spent almost a year living right beside the tracks of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in Durango, Colorado, which is one of the most scenic train routes in America. I was like a kid in a candy store getting to have our own caboose on this shoot and film all throughout the gorgeous San Juan National Forest. We shot pretty much everything in this video in and around Durango. That town and all the wonderful people I’ve met there really mean a lot to me, and it filled my heart getting to capture it on film.”

It’s an infectious entry into D’Amato’s upcoming album, At First There Was Nothing. The LP is his first on the Blue Rose imprint and was worked on alongside Joshua James and his band in American Fork, Utah. It is set to release on 21 October and is available to pre-order now.

Currently, D’Amato is on tour with Keb’ Mo’ throughout Europe. He remarks that touring is his favorite thing about his career and that “every day is full of new adventures, new people, new food, new places. I figured out a while ago that just going from venue to hotel to venue to hotel was a recipe for burnout, so I bring my good camera with me and try to really engage with the places I’m going.”

“Sometimes that means getting up before dawn for sunrise at German castle or riding a tractor out into a Swedish meadow to feed moose or cycling into the heart of a Dutch national park. (A lot of times it means finding cool foreign trains to ride and photograph, too.) I like to share it all on my Instagram, which led to folks asking for prints of my photos from the road, which I offer as a rotating series on my website.”


10/2 – Charleston, WV @ Mountain Stage

10/14 – Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live (as Fantastic Cat)

10/22 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge [Album Release Show]

11/26 – Fall River, MA @ Narrows Center For The Arts (as Fantastic Cat)

12/17 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall (as Fantastic Cat)