Preview the opening theme and title track to my new album, Tributary:
Summer of 2008. That’s when I first started working on Tributary. Two of the tunes actually began as ideas for the Dunham Van Durham album Simpler Times, but were deemed too harmonically or rhythmically dense for the project. After coming to terms with the concept that the follow up to Life Is Loud doesn’t have to be a funk album, I started incorporating a far wider spectrum of influences. Around the time I started really writing for this album, I’d been listening to a lot of Americana music and learned to play blues harmonica. I also wrote a ballad for the first time in years. While it’s always good to have a focused vision with your music, I’d been thinking too narrowly about what my own music should be.
Now don’t get me wrong, at least half of Tributary is backbeat-ridden funk that will make your head bob, but those tracks are (hopefully) complimented by the rest of the album. I guess I know what I think of the music, but we’ll have to wait and see what your take is.
I must also add that Brad Whiteley and Kenneth Salters have done a great service to my vision of this music, it’s been an honor to have them involved. On the sheet music for the opening track, in the bars before the melody begins, I simply wrote “Open drum solo / D Pedal” and left the rest up to interpretation. Similarly, as I brought new tunes to rehearsals or gigs, we’d break them in over several months until the arrangement felt most natural. These guys have been far more than just hired guns–the music was written specifically for them to play the parts.
We’re nearing the mixing stage of production, and I’ve started talking to my friend and talented designer Philip Manning, who has designed CDs for Herbie Hancock, Lizz Wright, John Coltrane box sets, and countless others including Life Is Loud, to create the album art.
And if you haven’t heard the other track I’ve posted from this album, click here to listen to “Swell” on my Tumblr blog.
Stay tuned for more, and thanks for reading!