FIVE YEARS ON
In 2015, the day before my bandmates — Meg Duffy and Justin Sullivan — and I were supposed to fly out for a European tour, I was doing laundry at my local laundromat in Los Angeles. At some point I left to run a few errands while my clothes were in the dryer and when I returned an hour later they had been stolen. In a panic, I went to Target and bought a few packs of white t-shirts and some jeans and threw them, unopened, into my suitcase. When we landed in Amsterdam a day later I learned that my suitcase, full of the new clothes, had been lost.
And so began a tour from hell, where everything that could go wrong did. There were multiple devastating personal tragedies back home for me and my bandmates to try to process and respond to thousands of miles away, no one was coming to the shows, and it rained most every single day, no matter where we went. All while wearing ill fitting or borrowed clothes. The tour was 21 days long and my suitcase was finally recovered on day 20, just in time to fly home.
Once back home I decided to book some studio time at the picturesque Panoramic Studios as a sort of band vacation. So a week later, we packed up a car (I don't remember whose) and drove up I-5 to Stinson Beach, CA. In the car were Meg, Justin, engineer Drew Fisher, and me. Our days at the studio were the much needed comedown after such a turbulent tour - we had outdoor showers, deer in the front yard, and a perfect view of the tide coming in. Something unique happens to a band who has just survived a horrible tour - our personal lives may have been falling apart, sure, but our playing became a secret and effortless language between us, and it became our goal to capture that. Towards the end of the session Meg Baird dropped by the studio and ended up singing on the album - making us all cry (literally - the three of us all actually cried while listening to her sing from the control booth). It's ironic, looking back, that an album about isolation in New York City was recorded in such an idyllic setting on the opposite coast, in the company of friends. We tracked everything in five days, and then drove back down to LA.
A year later, the basic tracks in hand, I flew to Portland, rented a car and drove the two hours south to Cottage Grove to meet Richard Swift at his home studio. Getting to work with Richard was a dream come true, and over the week that we worked together he played some additional drums and keys and sang harmonies — we even tracked a whole song together, “Dry Your Eyes.” Spending a week with Richard and getting to witness his process remains one of the highlights of my life. He was a genius in his field and a great friend. I miss him dearly.
City Music’s recipe is simple really: three best friends, the late great Richard Swift, and Meg Baird summoning some angels.
I am so grateful for the beautiful memories surrounding this album and all of those who have and continue to listen...
Oh! That city music!