GUITARIST JULIAN LAGE SHARES “NOTHING HAPPENS HERE” NEW SINGLE & LIVE PERFORMANCE VIDEO OUT NOW
JOE HENRY-PRODUCED NEW ALBUM SPEAK TO ME OUT MARCH 1 ON BLUE NOTE RECORDS/UNIVERSAL MUSIC CANADA
PHOTO BY ALYSSE GAFKJEN
7 FEBRUARY 2024 (TORONTO, ON) — Guitar virtuoso Julian Lage has released the fourth song from his vivid and wondrously textured new Blue Note album, Speak To Me, which will be released March 1. The acoustic guitar-based ballad “Nothing Happens Here” features Kris Davis on piano, Patrick Warren on keys, and Levon Henry on saxophone, alongside Dave King on drums and Jorge Roeder on bass. A video of this band performing “Nothing Happens Here” live at SFJAZZ premieres today –> WATCH HERE.
“What a joy it was to perform ‘Nothing Happens Here’ live with the Speak To Me album band in San Francisco last month,” says Lage. “Though we recorded this music as a band in the studio, to perform it live feels like an entirely different beast. It is such a treat to be playing acoustic guitar amidst a larger sonic field, while still being able to hear everything so clearly. It is surreal and totally lovely.”
Speak To Me, was produced by Joe Henry and offers a series of dispatches from Lage’s ongoing search for narrative beyond words. Intimate in tone and capacious in intention, the music travels a wide range of American music and delights in the deliberate crossing of wires between gospel hymn and rural blues, California singer-songwriter sunshine, and skronky jazz. The album showcases the guitarist in a variety of settings, including solo acoustic, duo, his accustomed trio with bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Dave King, and a larger ensemble with woodwinds by Levon Henry, and keyboards by Kris Davis and Patrick Warren.
The 13-track set of new Lage originals was introduced last month with a 2-track single pairing the hard-driving, bluesy “76” with the atmospheric acoustic ballad “As It Were.” The album also includes the previously released single “Omission,” a reverent tune imbued with a pastoral swing. Speak To Me is available for pre-order now on black vinyl, CD, and digital download, as well as an exclusive color vinyl variant including the bonus track “Cars/Colors” which will be available on the Julian Lage Artist Store and the Blue Note Store.
“Throughout my life, I’ve always responded to music that has a narrative quality to it,” Lage says, explaining that he sees his recent compositions as less a departure than an extension of originals from previous albums, notably his 2021 Blue Note debut Squint. “I believe there is a kind of connective tissue that music has, and it’s important, and it’s fun to cultivate.”
When Joe Henry — the singer, songwriter, and producer responsible for landmark albums by Solomon Burke, Allen Toussaint, and many others — first heard Lage’s songs in rough form he says he was immediately captivated by the challenge of the project: “For me it became ‘How can we make a record where Julian is improvising throughout, as is his gift, while we’re also attending to the song?’ Everything had to exist in service to the song form.”
Lage marvels at how Henry managed to shape the vibe of Speak To Me without speaking much at all. “Ever so discreetly, he would guide things,” he says. “Joe holds a space for things to happen. Sometimes that means getting everyone out of the way or protecting the tune from someone getting in the way. It’s like he had a forcefield around the project.”
Lage kicks off the full Speak to Me Tour in March 2024 with a run of U.S. shows followed by a tour of Europe. For complete details and ticket information, please visit www.julianlage.com/tour.
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