Ed Hale and Crew Recording Two New Albums Confirmed
A lot can change during the recording of one album. Make that two. Transcendence singer/guitarist Ed Hale, along with fellow bandmates Roger Houdaille, Bill Sommer, and Ricardo Mazzi, has been in the recording studio in New York City for the last three months purportedly working on his next solo album, which was tentatively titled Born to Lose. The album was supposed to be a follow up to last year’s Ballad On Third Avenue, one of the most successful of the singer’s career; (its third single “New Orleans Dreams” is currently climbing up the Adult Contemporary charts in the United States and receiving airplay in twenty-one other countries).
But that was before the band started attempting to choose and arrange the songs that would go on the new album. Hale presented Houdaille (bass) and Sommer (drums) with some forty-plus songs that he felt would be “good for the album.” “Ed kept telling us that we were recording an even softer more acoustic Ballad On Third Avenue, something more like Rubber Soul. But he kept bringing in these songs that were all entirely different from each other,” laughs Sommer. “We kept asking him ‘when are we going to start recording the soft acoustic album?’ Only a few fit that style.”
Instead what they ended up with was eighteen songs with two very distinct styles being represented. “I’d say about eighty percent of the songs sound like really good upbeat light pop songs, perfect for this new “Adult Contemporary” kick he’s on,” states Houdaille, who is also producing the album. “Then there are a handful which really do hit the mark and sound like the softer acoustic style he originally intended to record. We’ve been calling it ‘Sunday morning’ music. He’s been doing a lot of listening to groups like Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver and Iron and Wine I guess. But the bulk of what got recorded was not that. It was more pop if anything. And that’s actually a good thing because that is where he’s doing best right now, in terms of radio airplay.” After two months and fleshing out more than forty songs the band finally agreed what they had was two half-finished albums, rather than one finished album with extra songs to choose from.
So what to do? According to Hale the answer is simple. Original drummer Ricardo Mazzi “will fly up and we’ll cut another ten or so songs, five or so for each new album and end up finishing two completely different albums. One will be the original soft acoustic slowmo album that we started out trying to make.” One assumes Hale is referring to the Triple A style that Ballad On Third Avenue attempted to be. “And this other album, the one we’re closer to finishing now, will be a totally new direction for us. More like a lite acoustic pop album.”
So what about the Born to Lose album? “Well I still think we’ve got it in us. The songs are there…” Hale comments. “The songs are not there,” quips Sommer. “Ed wants the songs to be there, but his songwriting is his songwriting, and it is still skirting along that “Brit-pop” style more than anything remotely folky or Sunday morning sounding…”
“That’s not a bad thing,” Houdaille chimes in. “This new album, even though it isn’t what we set out to make, is really good. All the songs are cohesive for once. It just took us a while to get here. But they’re all tight, catchy, pop songs that fall under the four minute mark. That’s a big achievement already for Ed, cutting his songs down under four minutes. I think it has the chance to be his most commercial album.” “Exactly! And that’s what worries me,” Hale exclaims. “we’ve worked so hard to not fit into any mold that could possibly be called “commercial”… but now that I’m listening back to the songs…. I mean, you just can’t help but hear it. It does sound very modern.”
“Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll find a way to sabotage that by the time the recording is finished,” Sommer jokes, referring to Hale’s tendency towards over doing the sonic experimentation. “Not if I can help it,” Houdaille comments. “Ed is closer now to breaking big than he’s ever been. I don’t think it will kill him to have one commercially successful album in his catalog,” he laughs. “You can still record your avant garde noise album after this if you want to,” Houdaille says to Hale, referring to the oft-rumored “M3II” album of experimental guitar noise that Hale has been talking about releasing for the last ten years. “Yeah yeah… right… just as long as we don’t get trapped into performing concerts of all like ‘welcome to the best of the light pop commercial music we all love to hate’ type stuff,” remarks Hale.
Any idea what this new new album might be titled yet? The band dropped a series of phrases out ranging from “The Stranger” (from the song of the same name) to “Memoirs of the Prince of New York” (again another song title). All in all, an artist could be facing much worse problems. The good news is that fans can look forward to at least four new albums of new material from Ed Hale and his Transcendence crew over the next six months when the two unreleased Transcendence albums, All Your Heroes Become Villains (November 15th release) and The Great Mistake (no release date set) are included. The bad news? What bad news?Share: