listener

My Morning Jacket's Carl Broemel to Release Solo Album

“It takes a lot of time to know your mind.”  Its a simple statement, yet earnest and profound in its offering.  Sometimes it’s the spaces in between, the subtleties and ambiguities that provide us with the most meaning.
 All Birds Say (ATO Records) is an intimate collection of musings on life from My Morning Jacket guitarist, Carl Broemel.

 Broemel reflects on things as they are with Zen-like contentment, making no judgment on how they should be...he gives pause for introspection but stops short of preaching. The songs are firmly planted between past and present.  It’s in these little fractured moments that the listener bears witness to thoughtful contemplation that give rise to epiphanies on larger themes.

Broemel could’ve taken the easy road and penned a lyrical triptych to the remarkable journey he’s experienced over the past several years, but instead All Birds Say is an incredibly honest and sincere insight into the artist’s inner-most thoughts as he attempts to reconcile his role in life.
 “Where do you start?  Or where do you stop?  And how do you reconcile the things you do versus the things you don’t?  It’s something I’m constantly thinking about.  I think there’s a lot of trying to be aware of what you’re doing now versus dwelling on things or worrying about what’s gonna happen later.  A lot of the songs are really just me talking to myself, trying to make sense of things in my head.”

Deft in its presentation, the songs on the album unfold in a dream-like stream of consciousness with lush and elegant arrangements.  The album’s brilliance is displayed in Broemel’s effortless delivery.  It’s the perfect amalgamation of lazy sophistication…whimsical poise and grace.  The instrumentation serves as the ideal complement to Broemel’s well crafted set of modern-folk standards; complete with pedal steel, dobro, strings, autoharp, clarinet, bassoon, vibraphone, and baritone sax, among others.  Think Ron Sexsmith, Neko Case, Neal Casal, Andrew Bird, Mose Allison, and early Boz Scaggs singing an orchestrated chorus of breezy ballads and waltzes.

The guitar figure of the instrumental title track that opens the album serves as a natural introduction to “Life Leftover,” an introspective meditation on the importance of being more present in life that’s at the heart of All Birds Say.  The album also afforded him the chance to collaborate with his own father, a former member of the Indianapolis Symphony who provides rich color and depth to the music with clarinet, baritone sax, and bassoon.

“To me, making records is like alchemy.  It’s something that no one can ever perfect, but you have an insatiable desire to keep doing it and get better at it.  I really believe that everything we experience contributes to what we do next, so this album is really a result of all the records and tours I’ve done so far.“

The best records always seem to be the ones that slowly reveal themselves like a pleasant surprise and allow the listener to peel through deeper layers upon repeated listen…the kind of records that you grow with and can go back to months later and hear something then that resonates with you in a way that wouldn’t have otherwise.  It’s an interactive process between the listener and the artist, and one to be thankful for.  This is the kind of album that epitomizes the vinyl experience; an instant classic that is sure to stand the test of time.

Listen to Bromel's 'Heaven Knows'

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Pete Francis Kicks off Summer Tour

New York City based singer-songwriter, Pete Francis, is set to release his new album The Movie We Are In this May 2010. Whereas Francis’ previous solo albums were largely self-produced, he uprooted his more traditional approach to album-making and assembled an entirely new crew with Los Angeles based producer Jeff Trott (right hand man to Sheryl Crow as writer and guitarist).

Says Francis, “In the past I’ve worked with acoustic guitar, bass, drums, B3 organ, but I wanted to bring a modern electronic element into my music. When first speaking with Jeff Trott, I quickly realized he had great musical instincts and that he was getting my tunes. And then, he brought ideas to the table that I hadn’t imagined. I saw a new musical landscape could be created with my songs by working with him.”

The musicians that Trott assembled for the recording sessions helped to create this colorful landscape. Having worked with artists such as Beck, Nine Inch nails, Gnarls Barkley, Willie Nelson, Queens of the Stone Age, Dr. Dre, and Scott Weiland, the musicians (Brian LeBarton, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, John O’Brien, Victor Indrizzo and others) provided an extraordinary musical palette of talent and sensibility.

When asked about the project, Trott says, “It really became apparent to me that Pete was a very creative and colorful song-writer. What I liked was that there was this very good sense of Pete’s personality from happy go lucky to dark and brooding. All these aspects were amazing to work with and the lyrics were very colorful. I think that’s one of the things I really enjoy about Pete’s songs… that it’s sometimes hard to really figure out what the meanings are and I think that’s missing in a lot of music - the mystery of what a song is.”

The opening track, “Glue”, generates a feeling of weightlessness by combining organic instrumentation with futuristic sounds. This song solidly represents what’s to follow on the album’s consistent mix of fresh and classic, electronic and acoustic, known and unknown… Each listen unlocks a new guitar lick, synth riff, bass groove, drum program, live drumbeat or horn swell, and even the sounds of the sparsely used Ethiopian instrument cumbus. Midway through the album, the listener gets catapulted into the up-tempo and joyous revelry of “Love Shakes You Down” a sing-a-long with the familiar bell sounds of Motown combined with a  string synth creating a modern and retro sound all at once. The slower, more melodic songs of the album like “St. Paul’s Fair” and “Didn’t Know I Built It” lure the listener into dream-states with rich deep vocals, sampled sounds from a town square in Italy, trance-like Wurlitzer pedaling, and vivid lyrics.

No one would deny that Francis has earned his stripes in the independent music scene. He formed the fiercely independent band Dispatch in 1995 whose uncommonly loyal fan-base bid them farewell at The Last Dispatch concert in 2004 with an attendance of 110,000 people from around the world. Since then, his career has infiltrated many musical worlds including performing his solo music at festivals around the country, reuniting with his Dispatch pals for three sold out nights at Madison Square Garden, having his solo music featured in films and television, and performing in the presence of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C..

Commenting on his new album and departure from his Dispatch days, Francis says, “It’s good to get out of your comfort zone. I tried to let this motto resonate at every turning point of this record’s evolution.” When asked if there is an overall theme to The Movie We Are In, Francis explains, “I like to leave this up to the listener. Hearing an album is similar to visiting a museum. The listener has to have his or her own conversation with the artwork and create their own interpretations."

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US Spring / Summer Tour
(more dates to come)

May 18 World Cafe Live
Philadelphia, PA Doors: 7:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

May 19 Cafe 939
Boston, MA Doors: 7:30
Ages: All Ages

May 20 Wheel House
Narragansett , RI Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: 18+

May 21 Red Square
Troy, NY Doors: 7:30
Ages: All Ages

May 22 The Stone Church
Newmarket, NH Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: 18+

May 23 Fairfield Theatre's Stage One
Fairfield, CT Doors: 7:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

May 25 Jammin Java
Vienna, VA Doors: 7:30
Ages: All Ages

May 26 Joe's Pub
New York, NY Doors: 6pm
Ages: All Ages

Jun 01 Nightcat
Easton, Maryland Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

Jun 03 3rd + Lindsley
Nashville, Tennessee Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

Jun 05 Wakarusa Festival
Ozark, Arkansas Ages: All Ages

Jun 06 Wakarusa Festival
Ozark, Arkansas Ages: All Ages

Jun 08 SPACE
Evanston, Illinois Doors: 7:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

Jun 09 Rumba Cafe
Columbus, Ohio Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: 18+

Jun 10 Club Cafe
Pittsburgh, PA Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: 21+

Aug 10 Musikfest
Bethlehem , PA Doors: TBD Ages: All Ages

Pete Francis | Summer Tour 2010 | New LP

New York City based singer-songwriter, Pete Francis, is set to release his new album The Movie We Are In this May 2010. Whereas Francis’ previous solo albums were largely self-produced, he uprooted his more traditional approach to album-making and assembled an entirely new crew with Los Angeles based producer Jeff Trott (right hand man to Sheryl Crow as writer and guitarist). Says Francis, “In the past I’ve worked with acoustic guitar, bass, drums, B3 organ, but I wanted to bring a modern electronic element into my music. When first speaking with Jeff Trott, I quickly realized he had great musical instincts and that he was getting my tunes. And then, he brought ideas to the table that I hadn’t imagined. I saw a new musical landscape could be created with my songs by working with him.”

The musicians that Trott assembled for the recording sessions helped to create this colorful landscape. Having worked with artists such as Beck, Nine Inch nails, Gnarls Barkley, Willie Nelson, Queens of the Stone Age, Dr. Dre, and Scott Weiland, the musicians (Brian LeBarton, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, John O’Brien, Victor Indrizzo and others) provided an extraordinary musical palette of talent and sensibility.

When asked about the project, Trott says, “It really became apparent to me that Pete was a very creative and colorful song-writer. What I liked was that there was this very good sense of Pete’s personality from happy go lucky to dark and brooding. All these aspects were amazing to work with and the lyrics were very colorful. I think that’s one of the things I really enjoy about Pete’s songs… that it’s sometimes hard to really figure out what the meanings are and I think that’s missing in a lot of music - the mystery of what a song is.”

The opening track, “Glue”, generates a feeling of weightlessness by combining organic instrumentation with futuristic sounds. This song solidly represents what’s to follow on the album’s consistent mix of fresh and classic, electronic and acoustic, known and unknown… Each listen unlocks a new guitar lick, synth riff, bass groove, drum program, live drumbeat or horn swell, and even the sounds of the sparsely used Ethiopian instrument cumbus. Midway through the album, the listener gets catapulted into the up-tempo and joyous revelry of “Love Shakes You Down” a sing-a-long with the familiar bell sounds of Motown combined with a  string synth creating a modern and retro sound all at once. The slower, more melodic songs of the album like “St. Paul’s Fair” and “Didn’t Know I Built It” lure the listener into dream-states with rich deep vocals, sampled sounds from a town square in Italy, trance-like Wurlitzer pedaling, and vivid lyrics.

No one would deny that Francis has earned his stripes in the independent music scene. He formed the fiercely independent band Dispatch in 1995 whose uncommonly loyal fan-base bid them farewell at The Last Dispatch concert in 2004 with an attendance of 110,000 people from around the world. Since then, his career has infiltrated many musical worlds including performing his solo music at festivals around the country, reuniting with his Dispatch pals for three sold out nights at Madison Square Garden, having his solo music featured in films and television, and performing in the presence of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C..

Commenting on his new album and departure from his Dispatch days, Francis says, “It’s good to get out of your comfort zone. I tried to let this motto resonate at every turning point of this record’s evolution.” When asked if there is an overall theme to The Movie We Are In, Francis explains, “I like to leave this up to the listener. Hearing an album is similar to visiting a museum. The listener has to have his or her own conversation with the artwork and create their own interpretations."