Julian Lage shares new song and performance video; new album out March 1

Article Contributed by Big Hassle Media | Published on Sunday, February 11, 2024

Guitar virtuoso Julian Lage has released the fourth song from his vivid and wondrously textured new Blue Note album, Speak To Me. The acoustic-guitar-based ballad “Nothing Happens Here” features Kris Davis on piano, Patrick Warren on keys, and Levon Henry on saxophone, alongside Dave King on drums and Jorge Roeder on bass. A video of this band performing “Nothing Happens Here” live at SFJAZZ on January 20, 2024, premieres today on YouTube.

“What a joy it was to perform ‘Nothing Happens Here’ live with the Speak To Me album band in San Francisco last month,” says Lage. “Though we recorded this music as a band in the studio, to perform it live feels like an entirely different beast. It is such a treat to be playing acoustic guitar amidst a larger sonic field, while still being able to hear everything so clearly. It is surreal and totally lovely.”



Out March 1 on Blue Note Records, Speak To Me, was produced by Joe Henry and offers a series of dispatches from Lage’s ongoing search for narrative beyond words. Intimate in tone and capacious in intention, the music travels a wide range of American music and delights in the deliberate crossing of wires between gospel hymn and rural blues, California singer-songwriter sunshine, and skronky jazz.

The 13-track set of new Lage originals was introduced last month with a 2-track single pairing the hard-driving, bluesy “76” with the atmospheric acoustic ballad “As It Were.” The album also includes the previously released single “Omission,” a reverent tune imbued with a pastoral swing. Speak To Me is available for pre-order now on black vinyl, CD, and digital download, as well as an exclusive color vinyl variant including the bonus track “Cars/Colors” which will be available on the Julian Lage Artist Store and the Blue Note Store.




Speak To Me showcases the guitarist in a variety of settings, including solo acoustic, duo, his accustomed trio with bassist Roeder and drummer King, and a larger ensemble with keyboards (from Kris Davis and Patrick Warren) and woodwinds (Levon Henry). It’s Lage’s fourth effort for Blue Note, and it’s part of a torrent of creative activity that includes his participation in Charles Lloyd’s Trio of Trios project and records with Terri Lynn Carrington, John Zorn, and Cautious Clay.

“Throughout my life, I’ve always responded to music that has a narrative quality to it,” Lage says, explaining that he sees his recent compositions as less a departure than an extension of originals from previous albums, notably his 2021 Blue Note debut Squint. “I believe there is a kind of connective tissue that music has, and it’s important, and it’s fun to cultivate.”

When Joe Henry — the singer, songwriter, and producer responsible for landmark albums by Solomon Burke, Allen Toussaint, and many others — first heard Lage’s songs in rough form he says he was immediately captivated by the challenge of the project: “For me it became ‘How can we make a record where Julian is improvising throughout, as is his gift, while we’re also attending to the song?’ Everything had to exist in service to the song form.”

Lage marvels at how Henry managed to shape the vibe of Speak To Me without speaking much at all. “Ever so discreetly, he would guide things,” he says. “Joe holds a space for things to happen. Sometimes that means getting everyone out of the way or protecting the tune from someone getting in the way. It’s like he had a forcefield around the project.”


1. Hymnal (Lage)

2. Northern Shuffle (Lage)

3. Omission (Lage)

4. Serenade (Lage)

5. Myself Around You (Lage)

6. South Mountain (Lage)

7. Speak To Me (Lage)

8. Two And One (Lage)

9. Vanishing Points (Lage)

10. Tiburon (Lage)

11. As It Were (Lage)

12. 76 (Lage)

13. Nothing Happens Here (Lage)

Lage will kick off the full Speak to Me Tour in March 2024 with a run of U.S. shows followed by a tour of Europe. For complete details and ticket information, please visit www.julianlage.com/tour.



February 28 – Biamp Portland Jazz Festival – Portland, OR

February 29 – Town Hall – Seattle, WA


March 16 – Higher Ground – Burlington, VT

March 17 – Narrows – Fall River, MA

March 19 – Music Hall – Portsmouth, NH

March 20 – Ridgefield Playhouse – Ridgefield, CT

March 21 – Ardmore Music Hall – Ardmore, PA

March 22 – Town Hall – New York, NY

March 24 – Big Ears Festival – Knoxville, TN

March 26 – The Underground – Charlotte, NC

March 28 – Center Stage – Atlanta, GA

March 29 – Lincoln Theater – Raleigh, NC

March 30 – Lincoln Theater – Washington, DC


April 11 – Nasjonal Jazzscene – Oslo, Norway

April 13 – Maison De Radio France – Paris, France

April 14 – De Roma – Antwerp, Belgium

April 16 – LantarenVenster – Rotterdam, Netherlands

April 17 – Bimhuis – Amsterdam, Netherlands

April 19 – Gretchen – Berlin, Germany

April 20 – Mojo – Hamburg, Germany

April 21 – Barbican – London, UK

April 23 – Wiener Konzerthaus – Vienna, Austria

April 24 – Jazzclub Unterfahrt – Munich, Germany

April 25 – Moods – Zurich, Switzerland

April 27 – L’Astrada – Marciac, France