Keeping up with the great premieres, today we have a fun driven and overly catchy new single, “The Last To Die In Battle”, by the always humorous and talented artist Aaron David Gleason.
His new album, Wry Observer, finally expresses the things he’s needed to say over the past few years — filled with mystery and humor, the album offers insight on what Aaron has learned about life and music. After overcoming several obstacles both personally and professionally, along with a nine-year hiatus from music, he’s arrived at a place where his songs tell his stories the way he wants them to be told. Offering matured songwriting, a liberated vocal and experimentation with open tuning, the songs on the album dovetail into each other musically and thematically. “The Last To Die In Battle,” is the first single, was written about England’s infamous 15th-century king, Richard III. The album is out October 27.
In addition, we had the chance to discuss the new single and more with the man himself!
Hi Aaron, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hello Vents! Thank you for having me. I’m good. Doing this album has got me feeling good again.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “The Last To Die In Battle”?
When I’m writing a song, I’m almost always focused on the melody first. So, while writing, I use dummy lyrics, as it were. Well, this time, I kept saying “Now is the winter of your discontent.” Yes, I’m aware that isn’t the exact line. So I wanted to figure out why I was saying that. I changed “our” to “your”–how dare I!? What ended up coming through was a song about male fragility…not just Richard III. Shakespeare’s play dramatizes a famous monarch, and his real biography may be even stranger than the play. I dove into the real history while using the most famous line from the play as a playful lure into the song.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?Every guy I’ve ever met with a Napoleonic complex. Or in this case, a Ricahrd III complex. Narcissists aren’t born, in my humble opinion. They’re usually built out of trauma. When you know the trauma they endured, you can understand the resulting behavior. Doesn’t mean you have to accept it.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Yes! I’m working on that now. We have a great cast and I get to work with the tremendous Jeremiah Kipp and Ken Kotowski again. Bill Weeden, who has played my father about five times, is the star.
The single comes off your new album Wry Observer – what’s the story behind the title?
I’ve always felt like a bit of a reporter/poet/essayist. I grew up in my father’s acting class, sitting on the floor, watching him watch others. He would pierce people’s armor and get them to break out of that protective shell we all wear so tightly. He was/is a wry observer. I’m just doing my best to carry on in the family business. By the way, he’s all over this album.
How was the recording and writing process?
I took a long hiatus from music. I haven’t released a full length album in 12 years. I thought I didn’t have anything to say for the longest time and I hated my writing and singing. So, I started over, from scratch. These are the songs I wrote over the last five years or so, while I slowly started getting back into music. My producer, Brad Lindsay, is the one who spurred me on, woke me up. I only wanted to make an EP. I wasn’t sure of myself. He said no, and demanded I get it together and get back out there. I’m so grateful he did that. I delivered nine songs, and he contributed one for good measure. We did it in Nashville at Sputnik Sound in four days. It was a whirlwind but I have the greatest band (Marshall Vore, Nick Bearden, Dan Reckard, Brad Lindsay, Mike Garson) and a brilliant engineer (TJ Elias). Every song on this album is a live band take, with the vocal put on later. That is a big departure for me. It gives this album a live sound and some danger. It also gives it more cohesiveness. i’m thrilled with the results.
What historical events did you get to explore on the album?
Oh just a little bit of 15th century England. Aside from that, just snapshots and tales from my own weird and wild journey.
What aspect of life and your musical journey did you choose to focus on this record?
Being bluntly honest with and about myself, for better and often worse. It’s scary. But all things that are scary artistically, can also be the biggest liberators of the soul and mind.
Any plans to hit the road?
I’d love to. I hope someone gives us a shot at it.
What else is happening next in Aaron David Gleason’s world?
Just living and loving in Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow, New York. Writing songs, and dreaming big, unsustainable dreams. Come by for a visit, Vents, it’s lovely here.