I am happy to share the news that I have recorded an album with producer and friend Thomas Bartlett in Reservoir Studios, New York City. The album needs mixing, tweaks, planning and preparation, so at this time I don’t have the release date, but it feels nearly finished, can we make a wild guess for early next year?
I went to see Thomas because I felt I had cornered myself by doing too much on my own for too long – I needed a co-pilot at the wheels, another pair of hands at the piano. I have known Thomas and his opinions for around a decade and have seen him work with many of my friends (Nico Muhly) as well as play with Anthony and the Johnsons, The National and produce Sufjans Stevens recent album “Carrie & Lowell”. The authentic reason why we all want to make music with Thomas is his Irish-American Great Grandfather, Thomas Francis Gilroy, mayor of New York City in 1894 – that’s a good relation to namedrop.
All of the songs we chose to record for the album are built around mine and Thomas’ great passion, the piano. With more hands and Thomas’ accompaniment skills I have also been allowed to be a singer – singing is usually the last thing I think of in the studio, literally, until that moment someone puts a microphone in front of me and I have to sing that song that I spent years working on. (So far) all of the instruments and sound effects on the album are played by me and Thomas, except for the bass clarinet part which are played by Doug Wieselman.
We recorded fifteen songs and have chosen twelve for the album. These are the titles – don’t be mean to me if I change one of them:
Looking for a Place
To Be of Use
If Your Heart’s Not In It
Quite a lot, Only Slightly, Very Much
I Would Love You All the Same
Businessmen in Aeroplanes
I Want to be Kind
How We Are Like Birds
I Enjoy the Little Things
I Have Found My Happiness
Most of these I have written on my own in the last few years. Among the co-writing credits you will also find Judith Holofernes and Aloe Blacc. Musically, there is a style or spirit of American songwriting that you would hear on late seventies, early eighties albums and to me, the album also feels like New York City or maybe Boston if you feel like playing the chords progression to Cheers. No wait… Don’t.
It’s been a long time since I made music that wasn’t… Solo piano music, guitar quartet, indie-film, hi, look, I’m writing lots of music, for mixed choir, but you know… Just songs, voice and piano… Well, lots and lots of piano… And joy!