Work Songs

Album cover art for upc 798304451634
Label: NEW AMSTERDAM RECORDS
Catalog: NWAM115
Format: COMPACT DISC

Hearne, Ted; Levine, Taylor; Kahane, Gabriel; Andres, Timo; Koci, Nathan; Stevens, Becca

Work Songs is the new album from New York City-based composer and performer Timo Andres. Andres writes: “Artists’ working habits have always fascinated me… not so much for the insight they provide into the actual work, but more as an idealized template for how to organize one’s life. The Work Songs project began to form eight years ago, in the spring of 2011. I had wanted to make something having to do with American song traditions. One of the first musical “scores” I encountered in my childhood was the Fireside Book of Folk Songs… which my parents owned… I gradually formed the idea to write a kind of artist-centric set of work songs, using similarly straight-backed, aphoristic texts. Some are songs of hardship and complaint, while others are meant to provide comfort, empathy, or possible solutions to problems. But they all, in some way, attempt to address existential questions—what do “artists” do, exactly, and how should we exist in the world? Unlike a typical commission, Work Songs is a piece I wanted to write, for a specific group of friends and collaborators: Becca Stevens, Gabriel Kahane, Ted Hearne, and Nathan Koci. Becca, Gabriel, and Ted sing, as well as help play whatever instruments are at hand with Nathan and me on accordion and piano… Since I wrote Work Songs for specific people, I was able to tailor each song to their particular individual strengths… By way of introduction, “Art”: Melville lists the contradictions inherent in its creation... “Unemployment” describes a musician so burnt-out… that he is unable to hear to the music anymore. “To Whom it May Concern” gives playful voice to a familiar feeling: that the grass is greener on the other side of the Atlantic... “Poet’s Work” is about whittling something down to its essence... And finally, Woody Guthrie’s list of new year’s resolutions… are as good and simple advice as anything I’ve read. Write a song a day. Learn people better. Change bedclothes often.”

Price: $11.99