Inviting fans of indie rock and electronica to come along on his fascinating, diverse journey, multi-talented singer/songwriter Alan Chesnutt (under the clever moniker Me, Three) makes certain requests of his listenersall to ensure that everyone gets the most out of his debut The Space Race, which is, both literally and figuratively, out of this world. Comparing himself to a wizard whose music is his magic, creating tracks that flow from the epic to tragic, he asks that we close our eyes and listen closely to the sights and sounds so that we may create our own interpretations. Featuring nine vocals and three instrumentals; two of which set the tone of the album, The Space Race is a more deeply developed and atmosphere-driven project than Chesnutts 2007 debut Becoming Overgrown.
Chesnutts first album was largely instrumental and sparse on lyrics; two of its original songs,
Unbelievable and Calculation Is Key, and several others appear on the soundtrack to the new independent film Half Empty. The Space Race features more pure electronic in the mix with some mainstream rock tunes. Tapping into the rawness of a wide array of emotions, he captures the healing ability that music has and artfully transfers the therapeutic value of his work to the listener. This unique mix of rock and electronic draws from his diverse musical upbringing. Before venturing into indie rock and electronic music, the Tuscaloosa, Alabama native discovered classic rock in high school, began playing guitar at 16 and playing in different rock bands. He cites the greatest influence on his current sounds as the Brooklyn based band Ratatat, whose powerful sound is driven by a rock-electronica hybrid and whose musical landscapes Chesnutt is a longtime fan of.
Chesnutt began adding to his arsenal of instruments by necessity, and since launching his own solo career as Me, Three, he has performed in his hometown at the Mellow Mushroom Bar and at regional hotspots like Rocketown in Nashville and Little Kings in Athens, GA. While the depth of his production on The Space Race demands that he be a studio based artist, Chesnutt enjoys performing live and rising to the challenge of recreating the sonic adventures of his recordings with the help of a laptop providing the backing tracks.
I hope that listeners can feel the sense of healing that I had when I was creating the album, he says. The title The Space Race embodies the sound of the album, which is very spacey sounding compared to my first. I started out with a concept about outer space and space travel, but abandoned it midway to focus more on a strong compilation of songs with different vibes. The most fulfilling thing is finding harmonies and the structure of each song, and Im pleased with how I blended that with meaningful lyrics which reflect a lot of growth in my songwriting. Thats been a big part of my growth as an artist, being able to express my emotions in words.
One of Chesnutts personal favorite songs on The Space Race is the hypnotic, easy grooving The Hours, an honest and heartfelt rock ballad inspired by a hard breakup. The key for him is making the personal universal, which he also does well on Our New Skin, a trippy, seductive and soulful piece about attraction and love from the perspective of one whos falling and at the beginning of something wonderful. The collection begins with two instrumentals, the dreamy title track and Rebirth, a heavenly, almost spiritual song that launches the listener into the full experience.
Making music has been part of my life for ten years, Chesnutt says, and its great to be able to do what I enjoy and make people happy with it. My favorite part of making albums is simply being open to the surprise of what I am able to create once I turn the power on and focus on putting songs and sounds together. I feel like I have one-upped myself with The Space Race and this motivates me to create even better music in the future.