Alan Walker (of The Brilliant Mistakes) Releases “Twist of Fate” - New Single

Article Contributed by Dreamspider Pu… | Published on Sunday, May 5, 2024

Alan Walker writes melodies that stick in the head and heart. With his second solo album, the former front man of NYC’s The Brilliant Mistakes introduces nine new songs to his fans that have come to expect “restlessly catchy hooks, a clever turn of phrase and frothy, piano-driven pop with heart, soul and smarts.” (The Boston Globe). A Little Too Late is set for release on June 28 on his own label, Aunt Mimi’s Records.

The album's first single, “Twist of Fate,” is available now. Americana Highways premiered the track with Melissa Clarke writing “This is great rootsy layered music of the highest quality with delicious Hammond B3 popping in and out, setting up a story of the one who had one too many at the cocktail bar, as he bemoans the loss of his ‘only true love.’ Or was it? It was a little bit of a blur as it all happened at the ‘last call at the cocktail bar, I know it’s getting late.’”

Working with some of NYC’s finest session musicians, Walker and producer Lincoln Schleifer (Donald Fagen, Levon Helm, Buddy Miller) sought to make a record that had the feel of a classic 70s album, in the vein of early Jackson Browne, where the songs determined the arrangements, instruments and players, and overall mood. His music creates tell-tale impressions, planting the seeds of stories for listeners.

Walker, who composes on the piano, says he is driven by the songs themselves. “Once they are in my head I can’t get them out. I’ve loved music since I could walk, since I first heard the album Let it Be through my bedroom walls from the living room when my older brother first played it. The best moments for me with music are the original inspiration of a song, when a melody and chords and lyrics first come together, and then bringing that idea to a band or fellow musicians to see how it evolves.

Led by the indomitable production and genius chart writing of Schleifer, a cast of incredible musicians gathered in Schleifer’s basement recording studio in the Bronx, Lincoln’s Log Cabin. The core band on A Little Too Late is made up of John Morgan Kimock on drums, Jon Herington (of Steely Dan) on electric guitars, and Rob Schwimmer on Hammond B3 and synthesizers, with Schleifer on bass and percussion, and Walker singing lead and on piano.

Alan says, “It’s always fun to see these guys and hear them sprinkle their magic on a few of my new songs! Lincoln is a veritable musical genius with an organic approach to his production that always looks to do what's best for any given song. I love working with the guy, and after four albums with him (two band and two solo), plus a series of other recordings and back catalog re-mixes, I've come to fully trust his ideas and decisions, even when I'm not 100% sure where an arrangement is headed. In a way, that's what makes it fun. He's also a seriously talented bass player.” 

Songs on A Little Too Late include The Beatle-y, harmony-laced album opener “The Morning After,” a subtle nod to one of Alan’s favorite bands, Squeeze; the ballad "Mama Kat," which is propelled by Larry Campbell's exquisite pedal steel and acoustic guitar playing; the rootsy-pop Americana tune “Twist Of Fate” with a tragi-comic tale of first attraction; and “Town Called Misery” which follows along the lines of early Joe Jackson—with Schwimmer adding to the whimsical mood playing claviola, taisho harp, and some sounds from the kitchen sink.

The next few songs—the spare, and melancholy “Only Son” (featuring cellists Myron Lutzke and Jake Charkey), the upbeat “Wait” (with Alan on Wurlitzer electric piano), and the wry title track, “A Little Too Late”—all add a dose of R&B harmonies to the mix with the soulful renderings of guest vocalists, Teresa Wiliams and Lucy Kaplansky.

Bill Holloman and Larry Etkin step in on horns on “Wait,” “Somewhere Down The Line,” (with Andy Burton on Fender Rhodes), and the closing track, “Better Man.”

A Little Too Late evokes a rich tapestry of moods, both light and dark, and  feels simultaneously both fresh and familiar. "I'll leave it to the listeners to decide exactly what they want to hear," says Alan, "interpreting the songs on their own, adding their own thoughts, dreams, biases, etc."

A Bit of History on Alan Walker and His Musical Journey:

Alan Walker Photo by Phil Nelson

Born and raised in New York City, Alan Walker has been playing in clubs there since the mid-80s, with his first show at CBGBs and his first band Club Iguana. He is the former lead singer and piano & organ player of rootsy/melodic pop band, The Brilliant Mistakes, who were aptly named after a song by one of their songwriting mentors, Elvis Costello. The band frequented the downtown NYC club scene starting in the early 90's and, at one time was a WFUV favorite, appearing live there as well as on WFDU with Jerry Treacy. They were played by David Dye on WXPN’s World Cafe as well as on Vin Scelsa’s Idiot’s Delight, and performed at SXSW for a few years running.

The Brilliant Mistakes had a great run starting in 1993 for nearly two decades. Before stopping in 2012, they had released one EP and three albums starting with All Hands & The Cook (1998). Lincoln Schleifer produced The Brilliant Mistakes' second and third records—Dumb Luck (2003) and Distant Drumming (2008)—as well as Alan’s debut—Something Up My Sleeve (2019) on Aunt Mimi’s Records.

Alongside his musical career, Walker works full time in book publishing (VP of Higher Education at Penguin Random House). He spoke more about it all in a 2019 podcast interview with Center Stage with Pamela Kuhn, who says he, “has put the polish on life as a popular musician while having an extended and successful livelihood in publishing… Every great composer has their own love of the marriage of music and word. And I can’t help but feel that Alan Walker has kept his creativity fresh with his day ‘gig’ at Penguin Publishing that keeps honing his skills.”

Although the city definitely had an effect on who Alan Walker is, the songs he writes, and certainly the musicians he has become most closely involved with, he says, “I get just as much inspiration from being in the country, outdoors hiking with my dogs or on a road bike. I’m half city, half country boy, having grown up in NYC and the hills of Western MA. I’d like to think there is both humor and a subtle edge to my lyrics, which may be the city side of me, and also melancholy in my melodies, which is the country part, but then again, maybe it’s not so simple, and it’s all mixed up in the soup that my songs come out of.”

Walker’s classic pop songwriting is inspired by an appreciation of such artists as Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Nick Lowe, Joe Jackson, Squeeze, and Crowded House.

He is thrilled to release his sophomore solo album, A Little Too Late, on June 28 on Aunt Mimi’s Records.

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