I recently received a link to an interesting and intimate Christmas album that features plaintive vocals, minimal instrumentation and palpable emotions from former Gaslight Anthem singer / guitarist Brian Fallon. After listening to it a few times, I decided to bring it (and him) to your attention. Yeah I know it’s past Christmas but good music is good music no matter what genre so I asked for a phone interview with Fallon and soon found myself calling her at my house in New York. Jersey to discuss “Night Divine” and its upcoming Show at the State Theater in Portland on January 11.
Q: I listened to a stream from your Christmas album, “Night Divine”, or should I call it a seasonal release, I don’t want to assume and end up being politically incorrect.
Fall on: (Laughs) Well, these are Christmas carols; I mean, normally you’d say “Happy Holidays”, but we did Christmas carols specifically so I think it’s good to say that (laughs). They speak specifically of the Christmas holidays, not all but most of them.
Q: What prompted you to make this album?
Fall on: Well, it’s something that I’ve been wanting to do probably for a few years now, a long time, and my mom used to play these songs when I was really young and it was the first music that I ever heard in person, and these songs. melodies are as far away in my brain as the word and my name, I still remember them. So I always asked myself, “Can I do this?” Or “What would it look like if I did?” and then kind of like experimenting with them a bit and seeing what happens.
Q: Well, you’ve certainly created songs like âO Holy Nightâ, âVirgin Mary Had One Sonâ, âThe First Noelâ and âAngels We Have Heard on Highâ for sure.
Fall on: Thank you.
Q: The overall sound on this album is something I’ve heard recently on a few other records: it’s like atmospheric sound, like almost wind, or a muted drone, I don’t know how it sounds. calls though, but I’m ‘I’m intrigued by that.
Fall on: Yeah, it’s a different style of making records, it’s used to create a feeling, I think. A lot of people have used it, I guess it goes back to Pink Floyd and bands like that in the 70s. But my influence on that comes from Daniel Lanois, he has a big influence on me in terms of music. production, like the U2 and Bob Dylan records he made, he’s great with that atmospheric stuff. When I was making this record, I listened to his records a lot to understand how it was made because I had never done a record before (laughs), wait a minute, I made records but I never did. made the actual recording.
Q: I thought that was what you meant because you have released three previous solo albums. Have you ever played in Maine?
Fall on: Yeah, I’ve been there a few times, not a hundred times, but a few times.
Q: Well, are you coming to the State Theater in Portland?
Fall on: Yeah, this is the place.
Q: I think you will like the place. What can people expect from this January 11 show? Is it an acoustic solo performance?
Fall on: No, I have a band with me, I have bass and drums and piano, and me playing guitar and vocals, so we’re going to play a lot of different songs. I make songs that way, I play songs on the piano; Most of the time I’m going to do some Gaslight Anthem stuff on the piano and sort of rework it and make it a newer version for people to play during the show. That seems to be one of the strong points: taking a song that everyone knows and then taking it out on the piano is something that I enjoy and that people who come to me appreciate. I play from all the records, trying to make the sets different every night.
Q: It remains interesting for you and certainly for the audience as well, and if you are engaged in what you are doing instead of being on autopilot, that translates well as well.
Fall on: Ah, absolutely! I couldn’t imagine that going on autopilot every night for eight weeks ?! It’s way too much !
Q: Now, you released an album last year, “Local Honey”, I think, now correct me if I’m wrong, but you probably weren’t able to tour a lot for that release.
Fall on: Not at all. It came out right at the start of this pandemic, so the first date on this tour was in Delaware and right before the show my manager called and said, “The tour is canceled.” So we played the concert and then we went home immediately after, it was a very strange thing, and then the record came out two weeks later, which is not great for a record.
Q: I would say no.
Fall on: But, I have to say it ended up working for me because the fanbase that I built and the people who supported me took the record and they came out and bought it, and it ended. by going well for me even if I could not turn with it; so I can’t complain about it.
Q: Well this way you can add songs from two albums that almost everyone has never heard live, right?
Fall on: Absolutely, but not from the recording of the anthem (laughs), I wouldn’t play anything from this live, it would be a little strange: it would be like, “Hey, everyone, okay, here are some hymns. for you ! After Christmas, maybe that’s too weird for me. It would be like, “Okay everyone, don’t forget to grab your beers and this is ‘Amazing Grace’!” “
Q: (Laughs) Yeah, I can see your point of view.
Fall on: Recording the anthem is just something I’ve never done before where an album just lives like an album, but I guess it’s good to do so, so I’m going to leave this one out of the way. set (laughs).
Q: This makes a lot of sense on many levels, but now my closing question: is there anything, Brian, that you would like me to pass on to people reading this article?
Fall on:Well, I’m so happy to come and play because I don’t play enough in Maine, and I really enjoy being there. Where I live in New Jersey it’s very busy and a lot going on, but I enjoy my time in the quiet. I know there are cities up there, but there is always a vibe that I love to be in, I can’t wait to go, I’m excited. (brianfallon.net)
Lucky Clark, winner of the 2018 Keeping the Blues Alive Award, has spent over 50 years writing about great music and the people who make it. He can be contacted at [emailÂ protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.
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