We have an exclusive first listen to Carolina, the new album from Spain (released June 3 via Glitterhouse), the musical project of widely acclaimed LA singer / songwriter and bass player Josh Haden, son of Charlie Haden, one of the most celebrated jazz bass players of the 20th Century, known for his long term working relationships with iconic greats such as Keith Jarrett and Ornette Coleman. The new Spain album, Carolina, was recorded with multi-instrumentalist Kenny Lyon, a musical shape-shifter who has played with the likes of the Lemonheads. Kenny also produced, engineered and mixed the album at his studio at the Gaylord apartments in Los Angeles. The band line up for Carolina is completed by Danny Frankel, a highly sought after and regarded drummer and percussionist who has played with John Cale, k.d. lang, Mark Eitzel, Laurie Anderson and Marianne Faithfull and Josh’s sister Petra Haden (The Decemberists/Sean Lennon) on violin.
Musically speaking, Spain are one of the originators of the ‘slowcore’ scene, and this record certainly calls to mind some of the other greats of the movement such as Low, American Music Club and Willard Grant Conspiracy. Mixing up a density of emotion and musical sophistication in contrast with a great sense of space and atmosphere, Carolina reasserts Spain as one of the great Americana bands of the last 20 years.
Carolina is the first album released by Spain since the death of Charlie Haden, who had been involved in all the previous Spain recordings, as a musician as well as a mentor. As Josh says, “if he didn’t approve, I usually had to go back and fix the mixes”. The album deals with issues surrounding the death of Josh’s father as well as events going back to Josh’s childhood and throughout his adult life.
“I wanted to get back to my musical family roots of country and of my dad who passed away two years ago…. The album has a decided Americana/alt-country feel and includes songs I wrote for my dad, for my childhood, for you, homesteading time-travel, the Great Depression, Timothy Leary, a historic U.S. Revolutionary War battle, couples breaking apart and getting back together, a mining disaster, and Mother Earth.”
Josh Haden also writes about his own past. In Station 2 he sings about his childhood in Malibu, friendships he left behind and a lost love from the days of his youth. He steps back behind his own music so that we can descend into its warm depths and dissolve into it. His voice is the slowly blazing flame of Slowcore. The music of Spain has been used in the HBO series Six Feet Under, the soundtrack of The End of Violence directed by Wim Wenders, and their track Spiritual was covered by
Johnny Cash on the 1996 Rick Rubin produced album Unchained (American II: Unchained).
Carolina is released in the UK 3 June 2016 via Glitterhouse Records
Spain are performing live at The Oslo, Hackney, London on Sunday 12th June 2016.
Full details of his European tour dates can be found here: www.spaintheband.com/shows
Photo Credit: Miriam Brummel