Gresham Cash is a broad thinker. In his premiere solo album, Any Day But Today, he contemplates dread and hope, loss and transcendence, failure and redemption. A weaving narrative reveals several characters confronting related issues from different vantage points: where do you fit/go, where will I fit/go?
Any Day But Today comes three years after the release of Hot or Mood, the second album he produced with his former band Oak House. Written largely after the dissolution of his band, Cash’s new songs become more singular but don’t suffer for a large sound.
Although the album lyrically laments an untimely end, it presents new promise for a musician who is creatively liberated. It is entirely his own — he wrote, arranged, produced, and engineered every song. With the exception of harmonies contributed by his sister Rebecca Cash (of Montreal) on “Why Not Mars” and drums by Kevin Jones (The Snake The Cross The Crown) on “I Will Walk Out,” all parts on the album were performed by Cash.
The process of producing and recording this album came after taking significant time away from the indie music scene. Renewed energy fueled the making of an album that’s sweepingly cinematic. In contrast to the album’s breadth, it was made in the confines of Cash’s 700 square foot former home in Atlanta. This skill was practiced, however. Composing scores for films (including his first feature length documentary) have provided an escape over the last few years.
Inquiry is a pervasive theme on the album, and one that is natural for Gresham Cash. With a background in wildlife biology, he sees the world for its systems. He recognizes the impossibly vast web of connections between everyone and everything—on Any Day But Today, he witnesses the inescapable cycle of action and reaction.
His first solo album is also a literary work. It presents a distinct narrative with place, plot, and characters—a cosmic tragedy that tells of love separated by dimensions. He flexes his development as a writer. Cash has completed two novels and begun a third, on top of a substantial output of short stories and poetry. Apart from a music scene, he found inspiration in voracious reading. Here, he explores the philosophical values imparted on him.
Cash comes from a family of musicians. Both parents are classically trained: his father on saxophone and his mother on piano. He grew up counting time signatures in the car, singing harmonies with the radio, and playing a never ending game of “name that composer.” With a deep appreciation of classical music and jazz, it’s unsurprising that his music is symphonic — recurring motifs surface throughout; specific scales represent certain characters, moments, and development. To Cash, the album is a unit, a single piece of music. As more contemporary comparisons go, the influence of bands like Radiohead and The Beatles are obvious. More intent listening reveals an affinity for Sergei Rachmaninoff and Thelonious Monk. Folk and archaic music also comes through on an album that wavers from grandiose to stark — a nod to composers like Jordi Savall.
Comparisons aside, Any Day But Today presents an artist who is prepared to stand alone.