BROTHER NEIL – AWAY AVENUE AWAY
A Spill Exclusive Album Premiere
The new Brother Neil album ‘Away Avenue Away’ is an exploration into soul music, with a premium on vibe. Horns and subtle full band arrangements careen over the tunes, setting an impressive foundation for the classic songwriting. Each sound seems to elevate the full bodied vocals, taking you to a place of timeless nostalgia. Think Ray Charles without the frills. Roots and soul colliding. It’s a project that Neil laboured over with his childhood friend and music partner Mike Whaling for two years. The journey started and was completed at an old dance hall in Russeldale, Ontario that Mike had converted into a studio. There was talk that the building was haunted and psychics had even evaluated the space years before. The mediums had claimed to feel the spirits of a woman and a small child. One of the spirits names was Sarah. They agreed the hall should be called “Sarah’s Hall”. They felt welcome and comfortable in the space, and recorded most of the record in that great room. The natural acoustics created a remarkable atmosphere. A warmth that emulated the sound of classic soul recordings, with the effervescence and exploration of modern recordings. A perfect album to bask in the summer sun, as the lake breeze blows by.
“After Mike (Whaling) bought the old dance hall in Russelldale and moved in, I drove up for a visit and on top of this warm and huge space there was this old piano here from the previous owner. Mike told me it had fallen down the steps. I loved its imperfections and we’d sit around it and play some old tunes we grew up with. We even decided to record a few to hone in on some of the new gears behavior as well as find some of the sweet spots at Sarah’s Hall. One day I was chunking on that piano I realized I was really, really happy. Being removed for awhile from the distractions and static of the city to make music in peace had done it. The idea of moving back into the country plagued my brain. I wanted to share these moments it with my family immediately. I romanticized about it constantly. That was the initial inspiration for the title and the sentiment of the title track.The music was produced by Mike Whaling and Neil Parent. We hang out and play songs for fun all the time so having the Hall and gear right there to capture everything was a complete bonus. The recording experience was steady but not rushed. We knew we wanted to put the time to do it right and not rely solely on any correction software. Everyone that played on it genuinely spoke about the vibe of the Hall and the honesty of the songs. You can hear it in their playing that this was fun and special. We had a great time throughout the two year process! Hope to capture that authenticity on more music in the future.
Music is such a personal thing when it comes to interpretation so if this album makes you feel, just physically feel an emotion or hope or maybe even love, we’ve made a connection. I wrote these songs with those things in my heart, about the lives we live and dream of living. That look of love from your partner. Unrequited past love. The souls that brighten our lives for a short time. The rut we can all get trapped in until something makes our minds scream. The people that can help make it way better if you’ll let them in. Or perhaps reach out to them the way I reached out to everyone that made this record not just a possibility but a dream come true. I am so grateful to them all.”
Away Avenue Away
Release Date: June 30, 2017