The Sun Never Went Down is officially released!

The Sun Never Went Down is out! You can download the full album, buy the CD, or buy individual tracks at CD Baby
or send $18 to PO Box 66771 Los Angeles CA 90066. I’ll sign your copy if you like.

The songs on The Sun Never Went Down were nearly all written on five-string banjo, but it doesn’t sound like music you would normally associate with that instrument. Besides banjo, the instrumentation includes bass (acoustic and electric, sometimes on the same song), voices, drums and percussion, brass and woodwinds, electric piano, and guitars. Plus some other less identifiable sounds. I wanted the whole record to have a unified sound, with enough variation to make it interesting. The songs are not obviously personal and address ideas about history – how it is remembered, recorded, and represented – memory, desire, and survival. Influences and sources include stories from my past; the written recollections of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, an early Spanish explorer; a story my mother told about the death of her father in 1927; and the folk song Shenandoah. Songs were inspired by newspaper photographs; other things I read; reflections on the plagiaristic nature of history writing; a map of Mexico City I found in Alberta, Canada; the title of a painting; a placard in the armor display at the Metropolitan Museum; and so on. The sound of the banjo evoked a lot of ideas. I was experimenting, both with the way I write songs and with sounds. I would come into the studio and say “let’s try this and see what happens” and my engineer and co-producer, Jim Doyle, was only to happy to oblige and make suggestions on his own. I believe the result, rather than being self-indulgent or weird for its own sake, is extremely musical. I was fortunate to have some very talented musicians and singers with me on this, including Julie Christensen and Claire Holley on vocals, Jim Doyle and Stephen Hodges on drums, Rick Holmstrom on guitar, Sarah Kramer on trumpet, Henri Cash on tuba, and Mike Thompson on trombone.

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