I am super stoked to have my third album completed and ready for the world. It is my best effort yet and that has a lot to do with the approach. My first album, Sparkle Plenty, was a singer-songwriter showcase in a big way. All over the map, labored over very intensely over the course of 5 years- every song exhaustively, preciously thought through. It is eager in the most endearing sense, but I can see how it might come off as thick to anyone not involved in the process of creating it.
2009's Give Up The Ghost was an entirely different project- a 5 song EP recorded in 5 days almost exclusively with my brother, my father, and I. It had a theme- death- and recording it was a cathartic way for my to work through some of my anxieties. I'm not sure how all of that translates to a casual listener, but the album was very satisfying to me.
I love both of these albums, and I think they keep getting better. Which leads us to now. Color By Numbers is our most creative endeavor so far and I think that has everything to do with my wanting to please myself first and foremost. My brother and I were the driving forces behind this album, with him taking the reigns on much of the production. A few of the songs were brought to the table fully formed- with a lot of musical ideas from me which ended up in the final recordings. This is incredibly satisfying for me, as the prior albums were mostly very basic demos brought to life by other musician's talent in knowing what the songs called for. To have my own musical riffs and ideas was incredibly fun- both to create and record. My brother's sensibilities made a huge difference in bridging the gap between the idea itself and what the song called for - choosing the right instrument for the part, for example, or using synth pads (which would never have occurred to me), and editing the things that did not elevate the songs purpose. In the cases where the songs were still sketches at the start of a session, my brother was a major shaper in how to bring them to life. It was freeing and fun to trust him with my songs- to not lose sleep over taking out that guitar lick, or whether the second verse needs another harmony. His taste is right on and he brought a lot to the table from his diverse musical lexicon. Although we share many musical influences, we also have personally delved in different directions. The end result was a collaboration with many references melding into our vision.
Before we began recording, my brother and I had lengthly conversations about what kind of experience we wanted. We agreed that ultimately, we wanted to have fun. We wanted it to be joyful, not arduous. If we were laughing about an idea, then it was one worth pursuing. If we were hitting the mark with what we like, what sounded good to us, then no further analyzing was needed. No laboring over every last note. No auto-tuning it to perfection. Not wondering "does this sound good?" but instead asking ourselves "well, do we like it?".
The result is 8 songs. Different songs. Short songs. Each one its own contained and fulfilled vision. We did laugh a lot. Teaming up with my brother was incredibly fun and it was an honor to share the experience with him, my dad, and the other musicians who lent their talents.
I hope you can hear how much I love this.