Hey, remember that guy Matt Houck who was doing that little side project thing Phosphorescent a little while ago while he was waiting for his modeling career to really catch fire? Well, um, his modeling career didn’t catch fire. I know, right?? Needless to say, some intensive therapy must have ensued.
But after a few pep talks from his $300-an-hour psychiatrist and an “experimental therapy record” of Willie Nelson covers, To Willie (TMT Review), Houck is finally back to work, this time with a full band in tow. His newest Phosphorescent offering, Here’s to Taking It Easy, is slated for release May 11 in the US and May 10 in the UK via Dead Oceans.
Apparently energized by the full band vibe of those Willie Nelson sessions, Houck and co. recorded the core tracks live in three days at Headgear Studios with engineer Alex Lipsen, after which Houck took the sessions to Phos Caverns in Brooklyn for overdubbing/arranging/indie credibility purposes. Joined by his current live band of Scott Stapleton on piano, Jeff Bailey on bass, Chris Marine on drums, Jesse Anderson Ainslie on guitar, and Ricky Ray Jackson on pedal steel (and featuring John Natchez on horns and Heather McIntosh on cello), this record sounds like a damn hootenanny compared to the relatively minimalist vibe of 2007’s Pride (TMT Review). And that newfound sense of self-confidence seems pretty evident in the first mp3 too, which is called “It’s Hard to be Humble (When You’re From Alabama)”. Damn, Houck. Could I maybe get that psychiatrist’s number? I’m pretty sure my TMT Insurance will cover this.