I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Jed Davis’ music is simply brilliant.
His new album, Small Sacrifices Must Be Made, has been available on his website since July, but it’s slated to be officially released on Eschatone Records on Tuesday (October 9).
As usual, the album is a dizzyingly delightful batch of a dozen smart, original songs that range from Jackson 5-styled soul-pop (“Babysitter”) to hair metal (“Ride The Party Bus”) to psychedelic prog-rock (“Symbiosis”). Of course, that’s pretty much the kind of stylistic range that we’ve come to expect from Davis, who’s musical resume includes collaborations with the Ramones, a stint as keyboardist-musical director for Jessica Simpson and recordings with Steely Dan bassist Chuck Rainey.
While Davis plays all of the keyboards on the new album – from piano to Mellotron to synthesizer – he gathered a rather mind-boggling all-star army of musicians to fill in the rest of the album’s eclectic sounds – guitarist Reeves Gabrels, drummer Anton Fig, bassist Graham Maby, hornman Ralph Carney, accordionist Brian Dewan, pedal steel player Bruce Kaphan and the members of Avi Buffalo.
A number of Local 518ers also helped flesh out the album, as well, including Albany music scene mainstays Bryan Thomas, Mario Sevayega, John Delehanty and David Schulman.
“In 2008 I took a break from recording,” Davis explains, “and just to stay productive, started an archiving project — digitizing old four-track recordings and synthesizer sequences I’d made in high school and college. I ended up discovering a lot of promising material in there: riffs and patterns, chord progressions, the occasional fully-arranged but forgotten instrumental.”
He gathered together bits and pieces from the archive and began to create new songs from them, filling in the blanks, adding lyrics and crafting fresh arrangements.
“As the album came together, I noticed a prevailing lyrical theme: the passage of time. I know, that’s broad. But there were specific concepts being reflected from song to song: the effect of time on perception and understanding; contrast and conflict between people of different ages and generations; the inevitability of change over time and also the patterns that create the illusion of change over time.
“I got pretty into this… I mean, the project was basically a collaboration through time between two versions of myself: the teenager who started the songs and the thirtysomething who was finishing them.”
To celebrate the release of Small Sacrifices Must Be Made, Davis and his band (bassist Bryan Thomas, drummer Joe Putrock and guitarist David Schulman) will be setting up camp at the Hudson River Coffee House in Albany at 8pm on Saturday (October 6). Admission is free.