Marshall Crenshaw New Release
Crenshaw collaborated with a hand-picked circle of producers and musicians for Jaggedland. Producer Stewart Lerman (Black 47, Willie Nile, The Roches, Jules Shear) began the process by recording two of the tracks in Crenshaw's home studio in upstate New York during 2007. Then in summer 2008, Crenshaw sought out famed engineer and producer Jerry Boys (R.E.M., Richard Thompson, Buena Vista Social Club) after falling in love with the Ry Cooder/Manuel Galban album Mambo Sinuendo, which Boys engineered, and they recorded the rest of the project early this year at Los Angeles' Sage and Sound studio, and at Livingston Studios in London; the whole process took about 15 days. Also in the mix were top-notch musicians drummer Jim Keltner (Crenshaw: "it's his world, we just live in it"); bassist Sebastian Steinberg, guitarists Greg Leisz and fellow Motor City native Wayne Kramer (MC5), plus legendary vibraphonist/percussionist Emil Richards (known for his work with Frank Sinatra, Brian Wilson, Judee Sill, and zillions of others).
The album title is, Crenshaw says, "just a word that came to me one day; first it was the title of the instrumental tune on the album, then I decided to also use it for an album title. It's a good word to describe the world these days; it's getting pretty jagged out there . . ." All of his talents are on vivid display on Jaggedland — his trademark melodicism, humor and emotional honesty shine through, as well as his prodigious guitar playing. Pointed and incisive as ever, the album resonates with the energy and immediacy that only a fine-tuned ensemble can provide; tracks were often captured in a single take.
Born in Detroit, Crenshaw began playing guitar at age ten and received his first break playing John Lennon in the touring company of Beatlemania. While living in New York in the '70s, he recorded the single "Something's Gonna Happen" for Alan Betrock's Shake label, which led to a deal with Warner Bros. His eponymous debut album was acclaimed as a timeless classic and included the hit "Someday, Someway" along with "Cynical Girl" and "There She Goes Again." His second album, Field Day, was another critical smash and led to a successful slate of 20-plus years of studio recordings. All Music Guide wrote, "He writes songs that are melodic, hooky and emotionally true, and he sings and plays them with an honesty and force that finds room for humor without venom." As Crenshaw was developing Jaggedland's mix of poignant and incisive love songs and musings on mortality, he ventured once again into film, co-penning the title track to the hilarious John C. Reilly film Walk Hard, for which he was nominated for a Grammy and Golden Globe in 2008.
Jaggedland is a career-redefining record from "one of the finest pop songwriters of his age — or, for that matter, any age," as the The New Yorker described him last month. Says Crenshaw: "I worked with some of my heroes on this record. The music works nicely and the songs are off the dial — the best ones I've done."
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