STEELISM – ” Ism “

Posted: December 24, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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With their latest effort, “ism”, Steelism offers a more holistic listening experience, inspired by mid- century modern design, early Brian Eno productions and 70s film scores. They also introduce featured vocalists into their instrumental canon for the first time.

“We pieced together ism like a visual mid-century modern design – an array of vibrant colors and tones aligned together while constantly striving for minimalism, even as the production grew.”

ism, was co-produced by guitarist Jeremy Fetzer, pedal steel player Spencer Cullum (together known as Steelism) and Jeremy Ferguson (Lambchop, Tristen, Andrew Combs). recording began in November 2016, with the divisive results of the U.S. Presidential election just in. Respite was found through the creative process while holed up at Ferguson’s Battle Tapes Recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee. The usual Steelism rhythm section, Jon Radford (drums) & Jon Estes (bass), and Robbie Crowell (formerly of Deer Tick) on keys are heard throughout the record. Legendary “Nashville Cat” studio musician Charlie McCoy (Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde) on vibraphone & harmonica and a lush string quartet provide the finishing instrumental touches.

Fetzer and Cullum say the vision for ism was to curate a listening experience similar to that of a film soundtrack. To bring this vision to realization, they wrote 3 songs with vocal melodies to compliment the instrumental compositions. Fellow Nashvillians Tristen, Ruby Amanfu, Andrew Combs & Jessie Baylin, who appear as featured vocalists on the album, were then brought in as collaborators. Tristen finished the lyrics that Cullum had started for “Shake Your Heel”, a song about overcoming modern anxieties. Amanfu provided the words for “Roulette”, a tune inspired by John Barry’s legendary James Bond scores and Fela Kuti recordings. Combs, a longtime friend and writing partner of Steelism, penned the lyrics for “Lonely Game”, which ultimately evolved into a duet with Baylin in the style of Lee Hazelwood’s LHI recordings.

Steelism“Lonely Game” (feat. Andrew Combs & Jessie Baylin),

This is a understated mostly instrumental project. I’m all about establishing the right tones and “moods” in songs, and from the moment you hit play on this project, “Ism” is a vibrant, exciting, inviting collection of music that’s essentially cinematic in its approach. Fine work gentlemen. Keep on experimenting – the music industry needs more creativity such as this right now.  From Steelism’s new album, ism, available now via Intoxicating Sounds, distributed by Thirty Tigers.

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