After touring relentlessly behind his last album Ghost Town Directory and receiving plaudits from sources like No Depression, Americana UK and Big Takeover, on Sep. 25th Ari Shine will release Songs Of Solomon, his most honest and rugged batch of songs yet. It has also made the Grammy ballot for Americana album of the Year. “There has been an organic shift in my music to the folkier, earthier end of the spectrum. It has always been there in my writing but the records have been more fleshed out. I finally have an album that sounds like my live show,” Shine says.
Songs of Solomon was funded by a Pledgemusic campaign. The singer/songwriter found himself supported by the grassroots following he has cultivated on the road supporting acts like Mindy Smith, Lucero, the White Buffalo, Linda Perry, Mike Peters of the Alarm and others. The campaign also raised money and awareness for the Art of Elysium, a foundation Ari works with that brings music to children in hospitals and other settings.
Reuniting with Ghost Town Directory producer Noah Shain (Dead Sara, Skrillex, Fool’s Gold), the pair holed up in Echo Park and recorded the twelve songs that make up Songs Of Solomon. Marty Rifkin, a frequent collaborator of Bruce Springsteen and Ryan Adams, played pedal steel and lap steel on seven tunes. “I met Marty while opening for Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters two summers back. The guy just breathes music! I knew when I made my next record he had to be on it.”
Another partnership which informs the songs on the album is Shine’s continued collaboration with his wife, Canadian artist Adrienne Pierce. Her distinctive croon is heard on four tracks. “We just work on music constantly and have such a great dynamic. Adrienne always ends up writing the opening tracks on my albums,” jokes Shine. The song he refers to is “Ninety Nine”, a populist anthem the pair wrote inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement. The song is available for download on Noisetrade and Shine promises it will be always be offered for free.
Sonically, the record may surprise those only familiar with the singer’s more raucous past. The haunted Latin Playboys like lament “Least I Tried” is replete with Morricone style atmospherics while “Pauper’s Grave” is something akin to Zeppelin III meets Chris Whitley. Uniting all the tracks is Shine’s gutsy vocal approach which ranges from sandpaper yowls to whispered asides. He also bangs his guitar like he means it, anchoring a rocker like “Don’t Know” and the Nick Lowe style songcraft of “Goddamn Glorious”. Packed with memorable tunes and overflowing with heart, Songs of Solomon is Ari Shine’s richest and most realized work yet.