A Soldier’s Story | Todd Sarvies on his new music video “Fare Thee Well”

“Fare thee well” is a phrase used to convey well wishes, but things are going anything but well for the protagonist of “Fare Thee Well,” the latest music video from St. Louis-based musician Todd Sarvies.

Last year, The Arts STL was lucky enough to share with you the debut of Sarvies’ video “Flatline,” also from his latest album, The Dead, The Dying, The Damned. “Fare Thee Well,” like its predecessor, packs an emotionally powerful punch sure to appeal to fans of early 2000s emo or the modern alt-prog of 30 Seconds to Mars. “I wrote the song while looking back on a period in my life when I was trying to do everything in my power to please people,” says Sarvies. “They wanted me to be something that didn’t accurately portray who I felt I was as an artist.  Still, I didn’t quit, and gave my best effort while struggling to find a balance.  In context to the song, ‘perfection’ is what others saw as the bar, or what I should ultimately become, but I was ‘flawed’ by fighting to stay true to myself, and fell short of those goals.”

For the video, Sarvies teamed up once again with local director (and Whoa Thunder frontman) Brian McClelland of Blip Blap Video. Together, they crafted a glimpse into the life of a soldier struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, with powerfully resonant scenes filmed at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery and the nearby Jefferson Barracks Bridge. “When I sat down with Brian to talk about direction for the video,” Sarvies relates, “we agreed that the narrative of the song should speak for itself.  The idea of a soldier dealing with post-traumatic stress seemed to really coincide with everything lyrically.” The video’s emotional core lays in the performance of actor Ryan Lawson-Maeske, who Sarvies says “really stole the show”—“Ryan did such a good job,” Sarvies jokes, “I got cut out of my own music video.” As he explains, “We initially filmed a performance section that was going to weave in and out with the storyline, but Ryan did such an amazing job capturing the internal torment of this character that it made the performance half of the video seem distracting.  I think it serves the song better when viewed as a short film.”

As Sarvies concludes, “I think this is a video people can relate to. Who hasn’t felt down and out, like they had one foot in the grave? We all have an idea of where we want to be, and sometimes we don’t get there despite our best efforts, maybe because of our own limitations, maybe because of things that are out of our control.  We have to turn the page, and not give up.”

The video for “Fare Thee Well” officially debuts on Facebook Live on Sunday, February 10th, at 10:00 PM. However, fans here on The Arts STL get advanced access—check out the video below. For more information on Sarvies, visit toddsarvies.com. | Jason Green

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