Michael Nau

Presented/Guest
with Natalie Jane Hill
Date
Friday, February 23, 2024
Time/Doors
Doors 7 | Music 8
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Description

Michael Nau is your favorite band’s favorite songwriter. Since the mid 2000’s, he’s crafted a catalog of thoughtful, reflective songs as the frontman of indie-rock mainstays Cotton Jones, Page France, and Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread. Now, he’s set to release the fifth full-length record under his own name. Accompany is due out 12/08/2023 on Karma Chief Records.

All 11 tracks come together to paint a beautiful picture. The lyrics invoke the listener’s imagination throughout. They’re introspective, but vague and open-ended. The indie rock backdrop shows signs of psych-soul influence with dry and punchy drums, lush synth lines, and tastefully verb-soaked vocal production. Sweeping string arrangements and French horn runs add cinematic motion to the waltz-y “Shiftshaping” (track 4). Slide guitar and a shuffling snare drum add some get-up-and-go to “Painting a Wall” (track 2). Nau’s vocal delivery falls somewhere between crooning to a crowd, telling stories to a loved one, and musing to himself.

The singer-songwriter’s relaxed attitude toward making records is discernible in the sound. A while back, veteran producer and engineer Adrien Olsen (The Killers, Lucy Dacus, Fruit Bats), approached him about recording in his Richmond, Virginia-based studio. For the first time in a while, Michael had some sessions on the calendar. He called a few old friends and put together a band. “I didn’t have much of a plan before Adrien reached out, so I wrote some songs specifically for the session,” Michael explained. “I was thinking about what would be fun to play with this specific group of guys."

The band consisted of several long-time collaborators and musicians who had participated in Nau’s various recording and touring efforts over the years. “It had been a while since I’d made music in a room with other people,” Michael shared. “We just sort of started playing and didn’t really talk about what was happening.” The combo’s newfound chemistry was a primary source of inspiration and, with the help of Olsen, ultimately led to an album’s-worth of music.

Nau and the band spent five days at Montrose Recording and left with a plan to return and finish up a few months later. “After the first session, I took a copy of the recordings with me to overdub a few things at my spot,” Michael shared. While he was working through it, he found a bunch of beautiful moments of jamming in between the takes. “I grabbed a bunch of the pieces and tried to work them in. Then, I dumped the whole thing onto a cassette as one long stream of songs.” With the record mostly complete, the final session at Montrose would consist of some simple overdubs and finishing touches.

But somehow, in the months between, he lost the overdubs. “Going into the second session, all I had was the cassette,” Michael explained. The band got back together and performed another batch of songs. At the end of their second session, they had enough music to pick and choose from for the new full-length. “The songs, as they appear on the album, are basically how they were recorded as a live band.” Grab a copy of Accompany on 12/08/2023 and keep an eye out for tour dates in the coming months.

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Natalie Jane Hill

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'Solely,' the sophomore effort by folk guitarist/singer-songwriter Natalie Jane Hill, is a record of transition. While the Central Texas native’s stunning debut “Azalea” grew from years spent developing a textural narrative voice and idiosyncratic guitar style in the vibrant Blue Ridge Mountains, “Solely” represents a period of inward growth, and an outward push into an expanded sonic palette. 
Following a move back to the Austin area in the fall of 2019, Natalie began an intensive period of reflection, and expanded her song-craft’s foundations from the broader themes of nature into the vulnerable intricacies of self-discovery. Along with this process came an openness to external creative input. 
Recorded between October 2020-March 2021 to Tascam 8 track in the Lockhart Texas home of producer Jason Chronis (Voxtrot , Tele Novella), these recordings represent Hill’s first incorporation of other musicians into her arrangements, featuring performances by Mat Davidson (Twain) among several other trusted friends. There is a liberating and careful grace in these collaborations, providing strength and color to the upper branches of each song while preserving space for the health of the roots. 
'Solely' is a celebration of knowing ourselves well enough to be able to accept the darkest paths of introspection, which can allow us to combine our creative influence with others to construct the experiences we want to have.