Our good friends at Songpickr asked Matt for his favorite records of 2017. Here's his list along with a short note about the records.
My favorite records of 2017 have seemingly little in common. From The Dream Syndicate's first record in almost twenty years to Audika Records' reissue of Arthur Russell compositions, there's new music, new old music, reissues, and a couple of covers albums to boot. Most of my picks, though, do have a personal connection for me. Tom Schick, who produced Belle Adair's forthcoming record, Tuscumbia, engineered Joan Shelley's quiet and brilliant self-titled record. Dylan's first record of his "Christian period," Slow Train Coming, was recorded in Sheffield, Alabama at 3614 Jackson Highway (better known as Muscle Shoals Sound) right across the river from where I live. Ben Gibbard's covers album of Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque lovingly recreates one of my favorite records. It's a hodgepodge of records, to be sure, but it's my hodgepodge and each one means something personal to me.
Joan Shelley - Joan Shelley
The Clientele - Music for the Age of Miracles
Randy Newman - Dark Matter
The Dream Syndicate - How Did I Find Myself Here?
Bob Dylan - Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 13 / 1979-1981
Luna - A Sentimental Education
Ben Gibbard - Bandwagonesque
Acetone - 1992-2001
Arthur Russell - Instrumentals
Nick Lowe - Nick the Nife
Like all bands, we are often asked where we'd categorize our music. It's a tough question. We think (and hope) that means it could fit into a lot of different genres.
Greetings from Tuscumbia. It's taken us a long time to say that. It's been nearly three years since we holed up at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL and made our second record. What took so long? Well, we spent a good bit of our time as John Paul White's backing band. We also backed the legendary Donnie Fritts, and some of us worked with Dylan LeBlanc. Matt lived part-time in Italy. Reed managed a record label. Adam and Hayden moved to Florence. And on and on and on. Amidst all of the changes, we never lost touch with the songs we made then. We never lost the idea of Belle Adair and Tuscumbia. The eleven songs that make up Tuscumbia still resonate with me deeply and truly. Time has not halted their impact. They are the most personal songs I've ever written - my own journey through a little town in the northwest corner of Alabama called Tuscumbia. I hope you'll join us there and hear the sounds we made - the sounds of Tuscumbia. There's plenty of room for everyone.
BELLE ADAIR ISN’T YOUR DAD’S MUSCLE SHOALS MUSIC
NEW ALBUM ‘TUSCUMBIA’ - RECORDED AT FAME STUDIOS AND PRODUCED BY TOM SCHICK (WILCO, PARQUET COURTS) – SET FOR JAN 19 ON SINGLE LOCK RECORDS
When Muscle Shoals four-piece Belle Adair recorded their new album ‘Tuscumbia,’ due out January 19 on Single Lock Records, they leaned into their hometown’s musical legacy to create a sound unlike anything that’s come out of The Shoals region before. Produced by longtime Wilco collaborator Tom Schick (Real Estate, Parquet Courts, Iron & Wine), ‘Tuscumbia’ was tracked at the hallowed FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, home to legendary sessions by Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Paul Simon, Duane Allman, and countless others, and mixed at The Loft, Wilco’s home base in Chicago. The result doesn’t so much update the Muscle Shoals sound as redefine it with chiming guitars, meditative lyrics and a breezy, blissed-out feel.
The eleven new songs on ‘Tuscumbia’ were all written by frontman Matt Green, and the album marks a massive leap forward for a band that’s already been praised by NPR for its “dreamy sound” and by SPIN for songs that “glow with a deep, dusky aura.” Both grand and intimate, far-reaching and deeply personal, ‘Tuscumbia’ is a definitive declaration of identity from a band that bucks tradition in search of their own personal truths.
While Belle Adair is rewriting what it means to be a band from Muscle Shoals, the group’s ties to their local music community run deep. Keyboardist Ben Tanner and drummer Reed Watson run Single Lock Records, which has released music by Alabama artists like St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Dylan LeBlanc, Donnie Fritts and label co-founder / multi-GRAMMY winner John Paul White. In recent years, Belle Adair has also served as something of a house band to other Single Lock artists, backing White, Fritts and others on extensive tours. Through this work, Belle Adair finds themselves at the center of one of the South’s most thriving independent music scenes, building Muscle Shoals into an artistic beacon for a new generation. ‘Tuscumbia’ is out January 19 on Single Lock Records, a full track list is below.
‘TUSCUMBIA’ TRACK LIST
Long Fade Out
See It Through
Out On The Blue
Pushing the Stone