The Darlings Of Lumberland

From This Might Be A Wiki

song name The Darlings of Lumberland
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Nanobots
year 2013
first played October 25, 2015 (73 known performances)
run time 3:21
sung by John Flansburgh


  • Lumberland is a town in Sullivan County, New York, located approximately 90 miles northwest of New York City. It's also mentioned in Trucker's Coffee. At their show on September 17, 2022, John Flansburgh stated: "This is a song about wandering around graveyards in Sullivan County, something *somebody* likes to do."
  • Flansburgh explained the origins of the title at a show on August 31, 2022:[1]
I spend a lot of my time in Sullivan County in the Catskills now. It's a beautiful part of the world, and it's a really beautiful place if you're looking for extensive graveyards. One of the families up there, that is very well represented in the graveyards of Sullivan County, is called the Darlings. They were a founding family of the area, so there's a million gravestones that just say 'Darlings', 'Darlings'. So that was sort of what struck me. Lumberland was the name of the area before it was incorporated into towns.
  • Flansburgh on the history of Lumberland:[2]
My understanding is in the late 19th century, "Lumberland" was actually a bigger, catch-all term for the large tracks of unincorporated land along the Delaware water gap north of NYC. Wood was cheap fuel for New York, and as they cleared the land they would float it down the river on barges. The Darlings were an early family in Sullivan County (there a lot of tombstones up there!) and it was such an unusual name it always stuck in my head.
  • Stan Harrison wrote the horn charts for this song.[3] Flansburgh in a 2013 Tumblr post:
The composition was in collaboration with Stan Harrison (who wrote the horn chart to Cloisonné) and is in many ways a continuation of that process. We kinda "underwrote" the song/arrangement in each case, knowing Stan would fill in with a thick chart. He demoed his parts and we subtracted some stuff, and cut some rhythm track stuff at various points to highlight the horns (notably the "huffing" bass clarinets about 45 seconds in--which is really the magic of subtractive mixing).
  • Flansburgh on the song's arrangement: "The chart has ten reed instruments, along with the electronic accompaniment of guitars, synth bass, mellotrons and drum machines."[4] He further stated: "Except for the mellotron saxophone chord "pads", all the horns are Stan's. There were sections we discussed as being "big band" charts but I would assume Stan is drawing on a wide set of arrangers–Duke Ellington or Oliver Nelson."[5]

Song Themes

Altered Voice, Accents, Body Parts, Death, Hands, Love, Mind Control, Hypnotism, Museums, Music, No, Not In Major Or Minor, People (Real), School, Temperature, Yes, Zombies Or The Undead


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The Darlings Of Lumberland is currently ranked #74 out of 1010. (134 wikians have given it an average rating of 9.04)