New York City-based songwriter, Nathan Xander is a troubadour in the Texas sense, when he’s in Texas. Or in the California sense when he’s there. Or the Chicago sense, oh, OK. You get it. The man writes like he travels: well and often. He’s as familiar with Brooklyn as his hometown of Union City, PA, Gillian Welch as with X. Nathan’s new collection of songs, recorded in a big blue barn in Upstate New York, is his best work to date, and we at Trailer Fire Records are thrilled to share it with you.
Blue House represents the work of a writer in the prime of his craft. Nathan’s years of touring, with their joyful wildness and melancholy, come through in these songs. “Over You, Over Me” evokes that duality, while songs like “Shadows” growl and pulse with the frivolous energy of an artist who likes to break things. “Pennsylvania” is as anthemic a song as ought to be written, a wholehearted Mellencamp-esque thumper about home, while “I Remember You Now” is a psychedelic memory in homage to friends Xander has met along his traveler’s way. Each song here is evidence of experience, which Nathan has in spades.
No Depression says, "Xander has been at it for some time, and Blue House is the work of an artist who knows himself well. Though he may be at a crossroads personally, as a musician he’s creating some of his finest, most sophisticated work." These recordings, as much as the band Nathan assembled, serve to underscore what his work represents: a life in pursuit of a good damn song. Blue House will not disappoint.
Nathan Xander - nathanxander.com / nathanxander.bandcamp.com /facebook.com/nathanxander / instagram.com/natestradamus
Adam Remnant came up over the last decade fronting the folk-rock band Southeast Engine. As the principal singer and songwriter of the band, Remnant and his bandmates garnered critical acclaim from publications such as Paste Magazine, Pitchfork, NPR, American Songwriter, Magnet, Stereogum, PopMatters, AV Club, and many more. They established a substantial following over the years, releasing five albums and touring across the United States and Canada.
As Southeast Engine wound down, Remnant began plotting his way forward as a solo artist. He assembled a little studio in his basement and earnestly began writing & recording the songs that comprise the 2016 EP, When I Was a Boy, as well as the new full-length, Sourwood. Remnant’s signature baritone voice and literary songwriting act as the focal point in the productions spanning between folk, rock, and indie sounds mined from a Midwest basement.
Sourwood is a record long in the making. In the intervening years since Southeast Engine, Remnant and his wife, Amanda, became parents to two curly blond-haired girls, which they raise in the fertile creative town of Athens, Ohio. Located in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, it’s here that Remnant pursues his musical visions while tending to daily matters. The songs of Sourwood were birthed in that intersection of youth and adulthood where dreams and realities confront one another. The songs detail the desire to find potential opportunities beyond the horizon while feeling the gravity of home. The album drifts back and forth between those push & pull forces of home and travel as one might drift between a waking and dream state. Somewhere between those two states is a place called Sourwood.
Adam Remnant - adamremnant.com / adamremnant.bandcamp.com /facebook.com/adamremnant / instagram.com/adamremnant/
Born in California, mostly raised in New Jersey and currently an upstate New Yorker, this great-grandson of a travelling preacher started songwriting and recording while at high school, before going on to study philosophy and music composition. He’s self-released work, and via a couple of tiny indies (one being Talitres in France) but extended treatment for cancer put everything on hold. After his successful recovery, Stratton decided to leave New York City for the Hudson Valley. Teaching (music, art, video) at a local boarding school, while living on campus as a dorm ‘parent’, left little time for musical ambition, though he had never stopped making music. But having left teaching, everything’s come together for the finest record of his life. Bella Union’s timing was impeccable.
Rosewood Almanac was named after Stratton’s current pride and joy: his acoustic guitar. “The guitars I love most tend to be rosewood, they have a crystalline tone, but also a really dark heft. When Bob Dylan was obsessed with his ‘wild thin mercury sound’, that’s the sound of rosewood to me. It’s almost menacing in its precision.”
He developed an intimate relationship with guitar after discovering Nick Drake, whose “fluid, effortlessly beautiful style,” led on to similarly cherished Britfolk icons – Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson, Anne Briggs, Bert Jansch. But Stratton’s studies led to chamber music, and minimalists Steve Reich and Terry Riley, which equally influenced his simultaneously complex and direct sound. His love of composition shines through when he talks of how a specific guitar tuning – “like learning a new language, with its own rules to obey”- can influence the writing of a song, “just as how you set up the stanzas and metres can dictate what you end up saying in your lyrics.” Yet there’s no trace of dry academia or virtuosity here, only a fluid, effortless beauty, with a matching emotional heft.
Will Stratton - willstratton.com / willstratton.bandcamp.com /facebook.com/willstrattonmusic / instagram.com/willstratton
21+, 8pm doors
WONDERS OF NATURE
131 GRAND STREET