The new Mercy Choir album is called “Like a Fountain Stirred” and will be released 01/06/17.
Pre-order the album and listen to the song “Friendly Fire” here: http://bit.ly/2gN8UPr
We're moving our January 27 Mercy Choir & Friends show with Landing and Shula Weinstein to Lyric Hall in New Haven. We plan on playing the album in its entirety. And then we’ll do it again on February 4 at the Oasis Pub in New London, CT. I’m really relieved and excited to share this album with you.
I’ve been working on this for about three years, I think. In fact, *other* Mercy Choir albums have come out during the writing and recording of this one, which makes as much sense to me as it does you. I’ve never worked so long and diligently on an album before and though exhausting, I’ve found the process exciting and gratifying. It’s the most collaborative album I’ve ever made.The cover art is a painting/drawing by an old friend Meg Cowen. The music includes contributions from each member of the current Mercy Choir lineup Loralee Geil, Bruce Crowder, Timothee Goselin Jr, Brian Slattery, and Chris Zollo. Loralee sings lead on two of the songs. It was recorded at the Mercy Choir practice space in New Haven, in my home, in my car, in my shed, and anywhere else I could find some quiet/alone time. I think it sounds like a good representation of the different types of music I’ve made under the Mercy Choir name, but it also sounds nothing like anything else I’ve ever done.
That’s one contradiction. Here are some others: One of the main aspects of the sound I’ve been chasing for this album was a lack of drums. However, there are drums and/or percussion on every song. Hmm. The album is called “Like a Fountain Stirred” but I’ve always referred to it as “Gloria.” So maybe that’s what the album is really called? There’s some kind of narrative thread throughout, but I haven’t been able to make much sense of it. It seems like the story takes place in two different places at once: Santa Fe, NM and Monterey, CA. But I’ve never visited either. None of the songs are autobiographical, but it’s by far the most personal music I’ve ever written.
A few of the songs were recorded, scrapped, then re-recorded several times. A handful of songs were written, recorded, then left off the album. Maybe for another time. Seven songs might not seem like a lot, but it’s the longest album I’ve ever made. Three of the songs are over 7 minutes long.
“Friendly Fire” is the oldest of the bunch, written a few years ago at my kitchen table along with 4 others that have either been released some other way, or will some other time. It sets the tone for the album lyrically and musically and it's one of my favorite songs I've ever written.
“Universal Wannabe” used to be a big rock and roll song, but now It’s more of a bass solo with words. The lyrics remind of a newspaper comic strip. Or a slapstick comedy short film. “Caught In a Dream” and “Once in a While” seem like siblings to me. One is loungey, torch ballad jazz, the other is New Orleans vocal jazz. I think.
Both of the Fountain songs (“Fountain, Get Inside the” and “Fountains, Blue”) are lyrically related but nothing alike. One was recorded mostly improvisationally, the other was meticulously put together like puzzle over the course of about a year. I hope you’d consider listening to this album through headphones, as that’s the way it was recorded and mixed.
However personal, when I listen to this album, the other musicians are the stars. Loralee, Bruce, Tim, Brian, and Chris use broad brushes and paint beautiful, bright yellow, electric stripes over the dark blue of these songs. I recorded a lot of this album myself, but their contributions are crucial. When we play live, they can make quiet parts seem like unnerving chaos, and loud parts seem intimate and controlled. I can’t do that alone.
I’ve found it hard to make and consume art in this new horrific era the country is entering. Escaping into surreal, introspective, and absurd art sometimes feels like a cop-out to me. It’s not. I hope it’s not. I hope you can hear the care that went into making this. I hope it brings you peace in some way.
Pre-order here Digital/CD/Cassette here: http://bit.ly/2gN8UPr