Second Solo Effort from My Morning Jacket Multi-Instrumentalist!
"I didn't have to do this," says Carl Broemel, referring to his new solo album, 4th of July, which will be released August 2016 on Stocks in Asia/Thirty Tigers. As a member of My Morning Jacket, Broemel spent the past few years working rock 'n' roll hours (that is to say, 24/7) with his bandmates to help establish MMJ as one of the best live rock bands currently in the game. Their combined efforts proved successful.
During downtime between album and tour cycles, when he could've opted to vacation or catch up on sleep, Broemel instead booked studio sessions in Nashville and, over a four year span of these tiny windows, recorded the sprawling collection of songs that form 4th of July. "I knew that if I booked studio time and had people there that were ready to play, then I would get down to it and stay up late and write songs, so I'd have material ready to record with them."
Without a deadline, Broemel was able to engage his creative impulses within a space absent of all expectation. Lyrically, the album serves as a kind of journal noting thoughts that had been going on in Broemel's mind while out on tour, but not on stage. It's a page that could be ripped from any individual's life story – the moments where happiness and fulfillment are still met with questions of the unknown and the road not traveled.
Indeed, the songs point to a soulful awareness of the inner life – thoughts ponder their own reflection, marveling perhaps at how different our lives look now from the ingrained images of ourselves that we've held onto from an earlier time. We all carry around these projections that formed at some point during our adolescence and it is not until well into adulthood that we realize how much has actually changed. In that way, 4th of July is a reflective meditation. It has managed to capture the sound of late-night contemplation that even the most successful people face when they crawl into bed at night.
My Morning Jacket's Bo Koster co-wrote several of the songs, including one ("Best Of") that he and Broemel kind of just stumbled upon during a recording session for MMJ's 2010 album, Circuital. And their Jacket bandmate Tom Blankenship plays on a number of tracks, recorded after he moved to Nashville. In Broemel's words, "There's just no other bass player in the world that I like more. I can't even explain it."
The record also sees guest appearances by Neko Case, Laura Veirs, Russ Pollard, Shelly Colvin, Richard Medek and Jordan Caress. On the other side of the glass, Teddy Morgan (who produced Broemel's previous effort) returned to co-produce.