“Faraway business” is one of the English translations I came across while looking up a Portuguese lyric in the bossa song ‘Chega de Saudade.’ It seemed like a fitting theme for this quartet of songs as the 2 originals are older and the 2 covers allude to love and loss and the distance that follows. I’m working on a new album at the moment but I wanted to share this in the interim.
Wanting to reconnect with my musical roots, I picked one of my favorite bossa novas from childhood, ‘Chega de Saudade.’ In Brazilian culture, saudade is understood to be a melancholic longing and nostalgia for something that has passed or may never pass at all. The English title is ‘No More Blues’, totally shortchanging the original, so I wanted to sing it in Portuguese, as I’ve always known the song. I love Joao Gilberto’s solo recordings and I tried to channel his tender yet frank intimacy. I was also psyched to use this beautiful little 1960s Ace Tone drum machine I recently acquired.
‘Permanently Lonely’ is a Willie Nelson song I learned last year after hearing it again in a collection of early 1960s demo recordings (Crazy: The Demo Sessions). I tracked it just for fun one snowy day last December with my friend Adam Schatz, who also produced ‘Old Ghost’ with me. We improvised the arrangement as we went and had a good time not overthinking it.
‘Gravity’ is the last song I wrote for ‘Old Ghost.’ I wanted to try rerecording it with a more hands-on approach to make a slightly more hi-fi version of my original demo. The process felt more organic and cohesive because I arranged and played everything on it while working with my friend Zubin Hensler in his studio in Brooklyn.
‘Wayside,’ another song on ‘Old Ghost,’ was mixed by my friend Adam Brisbin, who also recorded guitar on the album. Using stems from our original studio session with Jake Aron, he ran it through a Tascam cassette recorder and slowed it down to sound more in line with my original demo. The pacing is more laid-back and live-sounding and the overall aesthetic has a bit more lo-fi grit and vibe. I really enjoyed tracking new vocals over it.