San Francisco singer-songwriter Graham Norwood releases the first single from his debut album Out Of The Sea, “Greenfield.” “Awash in soaring strings and folk-centric melancholy, Norwood evokes the likes of Elliott Smith and Sufjan Stevens with double-tracked vocals and acoustic fingerpicking.” [Mother Church Pew]
“This one’s about that feeling when you realize you can’t be or provide everything that a partner in a relationship wants from you,” states Graham. “When that feeling comes along, the only emotionally honest path is to move on; but it’s often far from an easy choice to do so.”
After earning his living as a sideman in New York City for most of his twenties, Graham Norwood decided to leave music behind, at least in the professional sense. “I fell in love with a painter, and it seemed like if we wanted to have any kind of a stable life with a house and kids someday, we couldn’t both be allergic to money,” he laughs. “I decided I should get a ‘real’ job and just let music be my hobby.”
So Norwood got married, enrolled in grad school, and moved to Italy for a year before settling down in D.C. When his marriage started to fall apart, though, he returned to New York for a trial separation, and he instinctively found himself gravitating back towards music as a survival mechanism, as a way to work through the heartbreak and loneliness and confusion of it all.
“That was the time when music meant the most to me,” he reflects. “When I got back to New York, I started writing my own songs for the first time in probably a decade, and that’s what kept me going that whole first year as the divorce went through.”
Recorded with acclaimed producer/engineer Bryce Goggin (Pavement, Phish) and mixed by John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth), Norwood’s gorgeous and heart-wrenching debut, Out Of The Sea, represents just a fraction of the music he wrote during that tumultuous period. While the performances are often delivered with a tender touch, the record’s dreamy atmosphere belies its intense emotional punch. Norwood writes with a raw, unflinching honesty here, grappling with isolation, doubt, and depression as he artfully documents the long and winding journey to self-discovery and acceptance. It’s a journey that Norwood, who’s legally blind, has been charting for much of his life.
“Growing up, I didn’t want to deal with the vision stuff,” he reflects. “My greatest fear was that I would be known as ‘The Blind Kid,’ and I didn’t want to carry that label with me my whole life. As I got older and fell in love with music, I realized that performing was an opportunity to transcend my disability, to not have that be the first thing people noticed about me. If you can play, you can play, and that’s what counts."
Norwood relied heavily on that ability when it came time to record Out Of The Sea, which features an all-star band including bassist Dan Edinberg (The Stepkids, Anderson .Paak), pedal steel player Dan Lead (Norah Jones, Valerie June), vibraphone wizard Brittany Anjou (Okkervil River, Elysian Fields), and drummer Bill Campbell (Andrew Bird, Cass McCombs). The musicians all met each other for the first time in the studio, and over the course of just two days, they cut the entire album raw and fast, capturing nearly everything, including Norwood’s vocals, live.
Norwood will be returning to New York City for a show at Rockwood Music Hall on Tuesday, November 12. See details HERE.
Out Of The Sea tracklist:
1. Hard Times
3. Collapses To Zero
4. Lazarus Avenue
5. Kate’s Song
6. It’ll Never Happen Again
8. Out on the Shore