"Iditarod" means "clear water" or "distant place." It's the name of an Alaskan river. It is also the title of Cape Francis' debut single. The solo project of Kevin Olken Henthorn, former frontman of Stone Cold Fox, Cape Francis has ditched the traditional pop structure Stone Cold Fox clung to, replacing it with stripped back, sparing piano and percussion in order to give his beautiful lyrics room to breathe and his vocals to soar.
"Iditarod" is a song of loss, thought, grief and transition. Henthorn says:
Iditarod was kind of a freak song for me, it came out of nowhere all at once, which is definitely not always the norm. It was a big departure from my past work and felt like the most honest thing I had done.
Sometimes, the best tracks are the ones that pour out of you, straight from your soul. Although this song may have hit Cape Francis all at once, it is clear that deep thought has been put into "Iditarod". Henthorn writes about the track:
Another major catalyst for this song was the state of transition in our country. It felt so overwhelming then, and it feels so overwhelming now. I'm ashamed to admit that it really caught me off balance and made me realize that I hadn't been listening, I hadn't been paying attention. If this song is about anything, it's about staying awake and focused in the face of violent transition.
"Iditarod" is a stunning work of quiet defiance. The lyrics are poignant, poetic, but understated in the most beautiful way. The production is attention grabbing and the backing vocals haunting. It is no coincidence that the title of the track is an Anglicized version of an Ingalik Indian name for the river "Haiditarod." The first sound you hear from "Iditarod" is a pair of feet crunching in the Alaskan snow. The straight percussion throughout the whole song is reminiscent of Native American drumming style, and expertly walks on the right side of the line between appreciation and appropriation in art. "Iditarod" is introspective - about taking a breath of fresh air in this tumultuous period, but also a call to arms; a plea to stay aware in a space where ignorance seems to have overshadowed humanity.