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Exiles in Paradise

Exiles in Paradise

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FROM: ... 'Exiles In Paradise' will be the second studio release by Aaron Berg & the Heavy Love. The album was recorded originally in November 2009 in Chicago at the moody, upper loft North Branch Studios on the windy city's tiny Goose Island. Berg was joined by a veteran line up of players all from South Carolina including the phenomenal Mike Bagwell (Pedal Steel & Dobro), Chris Garrett (Bass), and John Byce (Drums, Percussion). Special guests include Jim Becker (Califone) on fiddle and Tim Joyce (Lesser Birds of Paradise) singing vocal harmonies. A scattering of overdubs, preliminary mixing, and other bells and whistles were added at a rental house turned studio/practice space in Piedmont, South Carolina before mixing (Stephan Jones; Toy Box Studios) and mastering (John Baldwin; Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Neil Young) were completed in Nashville, TN. The album's release is currently scheduled for June 12, 2012 with regional and select performances to follow. 'This recording has taken on both a pop and a country element I didn't expect,' Berg says, 'we ended up mixing in Nashville so ultimately over a year's worth of work found it's way through three diverse cities.' In contrast with it's polished songbook moments are unapologetic waves of brooding darkness climaxing on 'Farewell Song' with a frantic pair of pedal steel solos. All ten of the songs were tracked live with all four band members performing together producing a tight moody album with all but one of the vocal tracks. Berg continues, 'we captured more room sound than you normally hear but still very sharp and clear. For the first time we had really great production help and great microphones. Having laid down most of the album live in Chicago when we returned to Piedmont we really took the time to add a few layers to a couple songs. There are definitely some Pink Floyd meets Big Pink kind of moments.' The album features a wide array of instrumentation including fiddle, dobro, pedal steel, upright piano, Fender Rhodes, layered string basses, ambient pads, vintage pre-war dance hall drum machine, Hammond organ, various found percussion, and guitars of all kinds, plus a few other ghosts in the machine. Recorded by: Ryan Neuschafer at North Branch Studios - Chicago, IL Additional Tracking: Aaron Berg & the Heavy Love at Big X Studios - Piedmont, SC Executive Producer: Kristin Isgett ( and Eugene Berger Produced by: Aaron Berg & the Heavy Love Mixed by: Stephen Jones at Toy Box Studios - Nashville, TN Mastered by: John Baldwin - Nashville, TN FROM an article in SHUFFLE MAGAZINE by JOHN SCHACHT (January 19, 2012) ... Exiles in Paradise, the sophomore effort from Greenville, S.C.'s Aaron Berg, may tilt twangy, but it's not your run-of-the-mill Americana record. Buoyed by Berg's strong poetic narrative bent, the tight interplay between his band, the Heavy Love, crucial accents (pedal steel and Dobro from Mike Bagwell, and fiddle from Califone's Jim Becker on one track), and a welcome variety of tempo-shifts make the moody Exiles an early contender for one of the Carolinas' finest country-rock entries of the year. The 10 tracks were recorded virtually live in a two-day session in Chicago with just a few overdubs added later, and the LP pulses with energy as a result. Shuffle's John Schacht chatted with Berg via e-mail. Shuffle: Tell us about the genesis of this record - I note some of the lyrics go back to 2007... Aaron Berg: Since I had not recorded officially in three years, the original concept for this album was as a cross-section of several years worth of material rather than a strictly 'this is where I am is a my newest material type approach.' Instead of a feature film-style album, we were aiming for more of a collection of scenes (i.e. Jarmusch's Coffee & Cigarettes or Akira Kurosawa's Dreams). We envisioned each song being uniquely produced and arranged so as to showcase a wide range of moods and influences, from pedal steel-laced ballads and Appalachian-colored hymns to psychedelic modern grunge and upbeat folk. Shuffle: How 'bout the title - what's the origin of that to you? AB: The title Exiles In Paradise is taken from a series of paint-on-wood murals I did in 2010-2011. The phrase itself just came to me. Shuffle: How did your NYC experience - attending and then leaving school, playing the city's clubs, writing in cafes and diners - affect your aesthetic? AB: New York City was a major character in my life for five crucial years (age 18-23). At the New School, I studied with the A-list of jazz icons and educators but ultimately found my voice as a singer and writer. The conservatory experience gave me the means to write music in any key or meter (such as the 7/4 middle section "Missing You" and other non-album material such as "Fellowman Blues"). New York City is one of the most vivid places on earth to experience the crushingly diverse spectrum of the human experience. There is a lot to witness. I went through several eras artistically and personally within that five-year period. Shuffle: You grew up raised by record-store owning and promotion/booking parents; what was that like, and how early did you know you'd be involved in music? AB: The effect of growing up around so much music has been a lifelong riddle and will probably continue to evolve. Certainly in terms of the raw amount of music I have heard I guess I consider myself fairly well-listened. But there is always so much more to learn and hear. Sometimes rediscovering the music you've already heard is the challenge. Also, I truly admire and in some ways am deeply envious of the kid out there in the garage with his friends making music who has only heard of three or four bands. The kid who just goes on pure instinct. You can't stay there forever, but ultimately that's where all artists are trying to return. I knew very early on I would be a musician but didn't start writing songs or singing until my early twenties. Shuffle: How did the current band form? AB: I have been making music off and on for 12 years with drummer John Byce (also known as The Indicator). As an enthusiastic yet critical follower of current music trends, John (hence the nickname) is a strong voice within the group who really brings a fresh approach to the material as well as an amazing musicality to the drums. In the studio, we featured Mike Bagwell considerably, who contributed everything from the traditional country-style pedal steel ("Missing You" and "Words That Rhyme") to the tape-delayed atonal burn-out solo ("Farewell Song") followed by the mellow 'front-porch morning after' dobra ("Sonnet For A Lone Dove"). In the studio on bass we had veteran Chris Garrett who contributed an amazing Hofner bass track ("Love Did Shine"). For our live show, the band's full-time lineup includes my former housemate Andrew McDade on guitar as well as newly added bassist Taylor Vandiver. We are also welcoming a variety of special guests to join us on shows this year so most likely The Heavy Love will be expanding again soon! Shuffle: How'd you hook up with Califone's Jim Becker? What about Tim Joyce? AB: For the song "Sonnet for a Lone Dove," I wanted to overdub a violin and possibly a small chorus of gospel singers to really bring the mountain chapel essence into focus. We never found a choir but on the last day of recording in Chicago our drummer John ran into Jim Becker while picking up coffee for the day's session. John, who lived in Chicago for a while, knew Jim and asked him to the studio. The song "Chains" has a clear call and response aspect in the verse. We asked Tim Joyce our friend from the band Lesser Birds of Paradise to sing the harmony. It's one of the few additions to the album I think got a little buried in the mix. Shuffle: And how did the recording-in-Chicago-connection happen in the first place? AB: I visited North Branch Studios first in 2006 where I met Barry Phips the owner of the studio. We discussed making an album at that time but never connected everything together until three years later. The years in between were occupied by lots of rough and tumble touring and the bootleg recording series Love & Coffee Tapes as well as the publication of the book Midnight Shining Sun. Shuffle: Songs For Madame X seems more textured than the new one, but Exiles has such a nice warm, in-room sound...were you consciously trying to change the sonic feel from the debut? AB: Songs For Madame X was a long experiment recording in a basement in Brooklyn and is considerably more dense than Exiles In Paradise with more jazz influence and less Americana. I had unlimited time and limited experience for Madame X. For my second project, Barry Phipps was very specific when we planned the two-day weekend session that he wanted us to try and make as live an album as possible. Ultimately, this initial request colored the entire remainder of the project giving all the tracks a very atmospheric mix and an intense presence and emotionality. All but nine of the vocal tracks were sung live with the entire band tracking at the same time. In the 1960s, this approach was standard. It creates certain challenges and limitations in mixing but I feel very strongly that it gains back a 'ghost in the machine' element you cannot capture any other way. Shuffle: The record reminds me of Chuck Prophet some - smart lyrics and a rough-hewn voice that suits the sometimes-twangy, sometimes-rocking songs/subject matter; who were your influences musically? AB: The album by Chuck Prophet No Other Love was a huge influence on me during my high school years. I opened up for Chuck in 2010 and had a blast meeting him in person. Other influences could include Daniel Lanois, Kevin Welch, Jackson Browne, John Prine, Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Dylan, Young, Petty, and Cohen. Shuffle: How about writers - which ones inspired your lyric writing? AB: William Carlos Williams, early John Steinbeck, Charles Baudelaire, Eugene Jolas, Robert Penn Warren - William Kennedy, too, who I met in New York once. There are many. I tend to be influenced often by non-musical sources.


Künstler: Aaron Berg & the Heavy Love
Titel: Exiles in Paradise
Genre: Rock
Release-Datum: 12.06.2012
Etikett: CD Baby
Medienformat: CD
UPC: 885767019966