'Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread' is the follow-up to last year’s critically acclaimed album 'Some Twist' and its extension 'The Load' EP.
“There was a musical language that we created; something without a guiding pattern that you could really just jump into and see where things could go,” Michael Nau says of the process of recording 'Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread'. He’s wildly poetic, especially when recounting his dedication to music, and the work that led to this particular collection of delicately passionate songs. “These things became the vehicle by which we traveled, giving us reason to spend most of our lives in a van of uncertainty.”
The sprawling new album was recorded in guitarist Benny Yurco’s one-bedroom apartment in downtown Burlington, Vermont. Nau and his collaborators had a cool little set up going in Yurco’s spot — drums and bass took over the bedroom, the guitar amp in the bathroom, Nau’s vocals and piano in the living room, and a vibraphone in the kitchen. It’s the first time one of Nau’s records happened all in one place, and “it feels most like a band record than ever before”. Nau and this particular group of musicians held it down together as a true team, which is why Nau named the record in their honour.
The songs on this layered record sound sunny and familiar, like sharing stories and worries with a close friend on a late summer day. In a gorgeous and natural way, he contemplates his own process, those feelings of uncertainty. “Making it too hard just comes easier,” Nau croons on ‘Funny In Real Life,’ an exquisite meditation on creation and self. “Truth is such a beautiful force/And every time we find the chorus/There’s no second-guessing the real/I don’t ever know how I feel.”
Nau shines when he’s nestled in that medium between melancholy and carefree. He seems to be thinking about the past, present, and future, all at the same time, and his songs move between pain and joy, fires and rivers, faraway stars, icy Saturdays, clouds of smoke, between shelter and flowers in the rain. “And it just keeps going, if it’s done it’s done/Still flow in the flowing, all around the sun,” he sings on Smudge, the record’s finale, which is about love, and memories, and loneliness, and apprehension — “Something coming around some bend/Waiting for something to never end” — all at once. It’s all just part of the waves of life; sometimes you get stuck, or things move slower, and sometimes the pace steps up. And that seems to be the gist of Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread — that there are “different movements” in the self, that constantly figuring yourself out is all part of the journey. “As long as love is the motion,” Nau says, “it might get there.” Wherever ‘there’ is.
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