New Album ~ Sparkling Water~ Coming Nov.11th

15 Oct

So. The year was 2020. I was recently returned from a trip to Kenya, where I witnessed freedoms I’d never known. The news all pointed to a virus. My friends, most of them, dug in with a conspiratorial mindset.

Lockdown began, and I grappled with my sense of purpose, which flickered like a shop sign with a short circuit, dancing between “OPEN” and “NOPE”. What am I good at? What matters? How am I going to spend this time?

By summer, I knew I’d make another album. Album 21. The title came first: “Sparkling Water”. I moved all my instruments into my living room, and left the place a mess for the better part of a year. Some friends dropped by to help: Adam Bowers on steel guitar and backing vocals, Andrew Erickson recorded drums, bass and piano for several songs. Sean Nelson drummed on a couple early versions, which we captured live. Those takes had a mojo of their own, but my recording methods were too rough for a keeper, sadly. Miles Wick came over and sang lead or harmonies on a couple working versions also. I love his singing, and although those performances didn’t end up on the record, I always learn a lot from his style as a singer. Additionally, Miles turned me on to a lot of records that influenced the vibe for this whole album: Tony Scherr among them. My old friend, Luke Westbrook sat and listened to every draft of this record, at one time or another, and was very encouraging in his critique. To return the favor, I listened as he read aloud from his quarrelsome Facebook threads about the New World Order. I think he has elevated the form, no joke. All the while, 12 generous people backed me on Patreon and listened to solo or band versions of every song, as well as a lot of songs that will probably surface on the next record (another story for another time).

By April 2021, all the performances were tracked and I drove down to Bakersfield to mix the album with my longtime collaborator, Tomas delToro-Diaz. A depression, a fog, lifted on that trip. Bakersfield is a LOT different from the Bay Area, and it was that variety that underscored a lesson for me: I thrive on novelty, dynamics, changing skies.

Back home, I struck a deal with longtime mastering engineer/mentor John Greenham, and he went to work on the tracks. Summer came and I made weekend trips to Sacramento, to work with clothing maker Lindsay Rickman, bringing a long time dream to life: a full-body suit made of CD-R’s. Every time we took it out of the shop, people stopped us, calling from across the street. What is that? What are you doing?

In July, I called photographer Ian Tuttle. We drove up Bolinas rd. and listened to a Jaco Pastorius CD, as we searched for a suitable body of water to take some pictures. He too had felt parched for new experience in the past year. The whole evening was like a cool drink of unflavored La Croix, straight from the perspirating can. Again, people called out to us, from across the lake this time. What are you doing? You’re an angel! Thank you, space man!

I got the band back together, and subjected them all to my unnecessary anxieties. Who knew it would be so scary to come back to band leading, even on the side patio of a local bar? The gig went great after all, even in the midst of heavy smoke and languid heat. Andrew Byars and Michaela Thomas opened the show, setting us up for a lovely evening. Ancient Baby, or “Chris Peck’s Sparkling Water”, as we’re now called, made me proud and did the new material more than justice. They made it sparkle.

Fall fell, and I sent some photos and text to designer Parker Richard, who has done the layout and design for my last 3 records: Ancient Baby, LOAN’s Blue Phase, and now “Sparkling Water”. We messed around with fonts and found the perfect one: Snell Roundhand, which made the whole CD package feel like a formal invitation.

I placed an order for 100 CD’s. Which brings us to the present: Band reformed, new album on the way. Next show: Smiley’s Schooner Saloon in Bolinas, on November 13th at 5pm. It’s an outdoor stage, visible and audible from the street, so even my truther/anti-vax friends (most of my friends if I’m honest) can come to the party if they want. I like it that way. Complimentary cans of La Croix will be provided.

Anyhow, here’s where you can hear the first 3 singles from the album, and pre~order it, if you’d like ❤

And here’s one of those far~out moments by the lake, featuring Ian Tuttle’s photography and Lindsay Rickman’s sewing.

Thank you for reading, Thank you for surviving the last two years, and as always, Thank you for your ears and support.

Yours in music,


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