Three years after their jangly self-titled debut, songwriter Michael Deresh and his band Risley entered the studio to begin recording their follow-up release.

“The plan was to ... have the album finished by spring and aim for a summer release,” said Deresh.

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But then, the pandemic hit and threw everything into limbo.

Not one to dwell on the negative, Deresh found solace in the downtime: “The silver lining was that without shows, touring and releases on the agenda, we were freed up to really take our time finishing the record. I think it truly benefited. It feels fully realized.”

That extra time also allowed Risley to recently record a standalone single called “Worried At All,” featuring Deresh, Jaime Hazerian, Tim Skerpon and new bandmember Cris Whitcomb on bass.

“We ended up writing this song on the side, while finishing mixing our new album," explained Deresh. “It just came out, as a visceral reaction to the state of the world and the general climate of anxiety that we’re all locked in."

“The mantra is obviously tongue in cheek," he added for unambiguous clarity. "I’m very worried. I think we all should be.”

As for the forthcoming record, Deresh hopes to release it in early 2021. But he’s wary of the obstacles created by COVID-19.

“How to release an album in this situation and whether to even release an album in this situation became a really murky issue," Deresh said. “So many music writers have been laid off, the industry has been ravaged. Supporting a release with live shows has obviously become impossible. Plus, with all of the weighty and critically important issues at hand, it feels strange to even try and promote your music.”

But ultimately, Deresh said it doesn’t make sense to sit on his hands.

"I think I’ve come around to feeling like the world just needs music. Period.”