BAND OF BROTHERS....ALONE
The beginnings of
Unknown Country were a collection of demos I had written with Brod
around 2006. A handful of songs that seemed to be a departure from his
previous work, they kept calling me back…wondering when their potential
would be further investigated. Bad Star and Walk into my Soul
showed a depth and imagery that reminded me why I love working with Brod
so much. He is his own man.
It seemed obvious to me that the album needed to focus on Brod’s
story-telling and his turn of phrase. The voice needed to be featured…It
needed to be taking up a lot of the sonic space…The Johnny Cash albums
produced by Rick Rubin were a huge inspiration to me and that’s how I
wanted to approach Unknown Country.
So a couple of years go by, as they do and Brod and I start getting
serious. “Let’s do this!” In 2008 in the space of a couple of months we
wrote the majority of the album. For something that was sitting on the
shelf for so long, it finally came together in a very short time. I called
in Dave Manton to engineer the sessions and we recorded the album in the
8-Track Shack over five days.
I went over the songs with Shannon Bourne, who had been gigging with Brod.
Shannon slotted in perfectly, his dexterity providing a foil for my lack
of it. Grant Cummerford helped out on a few tracks playing bass. We played
the songs mostly live with Brod in the room. Tapping into the lyrics we
headed into “unknown country” with acoustic guitars, pump organ and
I had written the music to the title track just after reading The Road
by Cormack McCarthy and the weight of the song seemed to bleed into the
whole recording. Brod wandered from place to place within the tracks, but
all the time we were a band of brothers…alone.
As is the way of recording, there were a couple of songs that teetered
from side to side as they found their strength and focus. The powerful ode
to boxing titled The Ring came together as Brod spat the words out
and I slammed an old Les Paul. The contrasts and scope of this album
became more apparent the further we delved.
Around this time Brod and I talked about the idea of asking Garth Hudson
to play on some tracks. They had worked together many moons ago and
through the internet had kept in touch. So after some kind assistance from
Vic Rocks we were able to include Garth on this album. He plays some
atmospheres on the title track and Bad Star, while on Jack
Napoleon from Cape Grim and What Goes Down Garth gets loose on
The album was now frighteningly close! Being careful not to over-ice the
cake, we asked Laurie Ernst to play some percussion and add some
harmonies. That done, it was then off to Red Rocket Studio for the final
Well, now it’s completed. The album I’ve wanted to make for some time is
now finished. I thank Brod for the trust he gave me and the opportunity to
produce this album for him.
Original cover as planned
Final cover as decided by
the duo feels good
history - the early days
the cognac diaries
america west coast
matt saved by a
the necessary few
dave mc comb
the rainbow hotel
band of brothers...alone
ghost who walks dog