About this project
“Peter Himmelman's gift lies in refracting 21st-century confusion and bewilderment through ephemeral swirls of imagery.” - Uncut Magazine
A Message From Peter
May - 2013. There's a new record bubbling up in my head. I've already written about thirty songs, several of which I love and consider true contenders. What I usually do is write way more then I'll need. I'll probably get to about thirty of 'em before my mind and body says, 'no more!' Then I'll go back (and with the help of friends - and sometimes just a dartboard) pick the ones that feel right together. No science, just a sense.
(The music cues are all very rough mixes at this point.)
I feel like this record is not going to be another one of my "dark" works. I've been exploring themes of unease and the portent of chaos for a while now and I've had it. My forcing frame, the structure I've put on myself this go round, is to do something that reflects the way I typically feel, which is quite hopeful. I'm not saying this is going to be a Disney record, but instead of the songs being focused on life's struggles, I'm going to try and depict a sense of wonder about life's joys and possibilities. That's what I'm thinking today at any rate.
“Himmelman probes the depths of all the passions, from anguish to lust, to depths few rockers can even imagine.” - San Francisco Chronicle
Early August - 2013. It's been exactly one week since I found myself in the studio with some of popular music's most legendary players. My friend Sheldon Gomberg, the great bass player and masterful producer called me a couple weeks ago and suggested I come by his place and record. "I think I can get Lee Sklar and I know you're friendly with Jim (Keltner) why don't you call him and see what he thinks?"
When Jim and Lee get into a room, it's always pure magic and for those who don't know who either of those guys are, I suggest you do some homework and Google them. Between the two of them they've played with: Lightning Hopkins, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Jackson Brown, Keith Richards, Carol King, George Harrison, John Lennon... truly, the list goes on endlessly.
What makes them great isn't just their chops. Technical facility like they have is somewhat ubiquitous in LA. What makes them special is their abundant and generous humanity. For them playing music is like prayer. It's the way they express their incredulity and delight about being a spirit in a physical world; the irony of that, the pain of that. Consequently, they are listeners, attuned to every nuance of what's happening in the room. In order to evince the right musical parts (which are merely a manifestation of pure spirit after all) one must first be able to hear. Then, and only then do these men dip into their deep and I mean deep, musical wellsprings. That, in my opinion is where the greatness lies.
As it turned out, I called JIm, Sheldon called Lee and an insanely good guitarist named David Steele who's played with Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams and John Prine and on Monday we got in the studio and wound up with this beautiful collection of songs. Twelve of them in two and a half days! We tracked live, old school. A few days later, the wonderful keyboardist, Will Gramling came in and bathed several of the tunes in a sweep of honey-dripped Hammond organ. What you'll hear on The Boat That Carries Us is what went down in that short, potent period.
“Himmelman writes songs with the same emphatic edge and aesthetic urgency that impelled the Lost Generation to write novels.” – Time Magazine
The confidence I got from being in the room with these guys really shines on this recording. There's a relaxedness to the grooves, to my singing, and on the playing that feels warm and intensely old school. I feel like the songs on this album will be a regular part of my repertoire for years. Songs I can sink my teeth into in a live setting. And yes, I did stick to my original forcing frame, I made a record that abounds in hope. Expect some soul, some low-down funkiness and some things that sound like they'd fit right in a Baptist church or a Saturday night juke joint.
"Himmelman is one of rock's most wildly imaginative performers" - USA TODAY.
"the boat that carries us needs no sail
the boat that carries us needs no sail
an unseen hand moves us on
the darkest sky gives way to dawn
the boat that carries us needs no sail..."
The present moment is a mixed blessing for music-makers. There's never been a better time to create, record and disseminate our work. The miracle of pressing a button and sending master quality recordings to almost anyone on Earth is overwhelming.
On the other hand, no one's buying recorded music because nobody has to anymore, it's literally streaming everywhere. I want to continue making records (and I hope you want to continue listening to them) but I simply can't keep doing it when no one's paying for them. That's why after some deliberating, I've chosen to reach out to you on Kickstarter.
We've made this music for the sheer love of doing so. It's what gives us life and vitality and we hope that we can spread a little of that to you as well. So please join us on this journey. Your financial support is needed but so is your support of the songs themselves. If you have any feedback or suggestions let me know. I'm always reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks in advance and be well,
SAMPLES OF PETER'S ARTWORK FOR PLEDGE #5
Risks and challenges
Making a record is like building a house. You have a plan and you follow it.
Never have I made a record that went exactly according to plan and never have I made one that veered totally off course. It's a process of knowing where you're headed and being open to navigational nudges along the way. Sometimes the process takes longer (or shorter) then planned.
Just letting you know.
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