Join us at eTown Hall for an intimate evening of music with Brendan James & Seth Glier!
Unlike eTown's Live Radio Show Tapings, our 'Homevibe & eTown present' series are uninterrupted full concerts that take place in eTown's solar-powered home in Boulder, CO, eTown Hall.
The rising star continues to rise.
For those who have followed Brendan James from his 2008 major label debut to his current ranking among today's top troubadours, the journey has been a pretty remarkable one.
Born in New Hampshire, schooled in Chapel Hill, signed by Capitol Records by the age of 25, and road-tested with a thousand shows to date, James has certainly lived the life of a troubadour. His songs have landed spots on over 15 major television shows and feature films and he's achieved the #1 Singer Songwriter spot on iTunes, multiple times. He has formed relationships with music legends Carly Simon and Cat Stevens, enjoyed on-stage experiences with the likes of John Legend, John Mayer, and Paula Cole, and recently been asked to give a TedTalk on gun violence, love songs, and simpler societies.
Now, after two years of touring in support of his 2012 release, Simplify, James embarks on an altogether new sound. His new EP, The Howl, set for release in the summer of 2015, is bigger, badder, and dancier than anything he's attempted to date. In his words, The Howl is "...a reflection of my years on the road, my dreamsbroken and reformed, and my growing addiction to the upbeat and the feel good." He chose the name after reading a review of his last album, in which he was described as an artist holding back a howl. So howling he will do: bigger songs, bigger shows, and bigger goals.
Seth Glier’s new album Birds is steeped in conflict and contradictions. There’s grief and loss, but also strength and resilience; doubt and dismay, but also a sense of optimism as Glier confronts heavy topics and wrestles them into the daylight.
Glier (pronounced “Gleer”) recorded Birds in an airy loft in western Massachusetts outfitted with a grand piano and floor-to-ceiling windows. Birds roost just outside those windows, on the roof of the converted mill building where he lives, and they became his sympathetic audience while Glier made the album. “I felt a tremendous amount of comfort talking to the Birds,” he says “I’d check in with them regularly to see how they thought things were going so far.”
Birds is Glier’s fifth album, and the latest entry in a burgeoning career that has included a Grammy nomination and a pair of Independent Music Awards while touring with artists including Ani DiFranco and Ryan Adams.
The songs on Birds range from personal to political, and are bound together by the awareness that our world is a fragile place that is all the more magical for it. Glier makes that point on a large scale with “Water on Fire,” a terse, grinding tune that opens with a cynical reworking of a Ray Charles lyric as Glier uses fracking to dig into the false equivalence between freedom and capitalism. “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet” has a more visceral, intimate approach: the soulful slow jam, full of warm guitars and multi-tracked vocals, is about the death of Glier’s autistic brother.
Together, those songs represent the opposite poles of Birds. “I was really trying to explore connections on this record,” Glier says. Among those connections is the one between race and the criminal justice system on “Justice for All,” a raw chain-gang stomp that sounds almost like an old field recording. “Like I Do” takes a more oblique tack, drawing out feelings of anger through the use of noisy synthesizers and fuzzed-out bass pads.
The songs on Birds reflect a scope of sound and style: the title track is lush and & orchestral, for example, while “Too Much Water” pairs Glier’s voice and piano with subtle accompaniment from horns, for a classic, elegant feel that calls to mind Harry Nilsson in the early ’70s. “People Like Us” is jaunty and up-tempo, while the trebly guitar arpeggios and moaning saxophone on “Just Because I Can” sound like a sock-hop slow dance, until you zero in on lyrics delivered by a narrator who dynamites his domestic bliss simply for the power trip. Conflict. Contradiction.
Even the cover tune, a reimagined version of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” evokes urgency. “Although it was written 50 years ago, it’s still about what’s happening right now,” Glier says.
Friday, Feb. 232:00 am - 5:00 am