Here's how it goes. A young artist from a suburban town puts out a few independent records and ventures out on a handful of modest tours. He builds up a decent following, accumulates a nice pile of press clippings, gets a few college radio spins and a bit of TV airtime for his low budget video. Then suddenly he's noticed by the industry. He signs a deal with a major label which, despite its vast resources, can't seem to accomplish any more than he had on his own. Sadly, it's a story so common it's no longer compelling. But the interesting part of the story is what happens to the artist after all this.
After two years on Epic Records and nothing to show for his efforts but a re-released version of his debut album SLOW DOWN KID, Val Emmich begged successfully for the privilege to walk away from a multiple album deal and returned to the exact place where he started - writing music by himself for himself. In the fall of 2005, he moved into a house in Woodstock, New York and started working on new material. Armed only with an acoustic guitar and plenty of red wine, Emmich spent the next two weeks shaking off the weight of all expectations other than his own, finding 20 new songs in the process.
At that point, it was time to call in the cavalry. Together with his band and friend/producer Jason Cupp (Finch, The Elected), they turned the house in Woodstock into a makeshift recording studio, and demoed over 30 songs in a month's time. These recordings would serve as the map Emmich would follow into the future.
Invigorated and inspired, Emmich was now dead set on making a record--one that would incorporate all the innocence, honesty and fun he had rediscovered in the woods and at the same time challenge all the super-processed, thoroughly sterilized music he had come to despise. In July of 2006, Emmich, Cupp and the band entered Shorefire Studio in Long Branch, New Jersey with the goal of doing just that.
The result is SUNLIGHT SEARCHPARTY -- a loose and fearlessly raw album recorded almost entirely live to tape, complete with mistakes, chatter, party noise, and slightly out-of-tune instruments. An album that embodies the fundamental reasons Emmich started playing music in the first place: because it was fun and it felt good. The title represents the struggle to find hope, inspiration and happiness that Emmich and his comrades have faced over the last few years.
SUNLIGHT SEARCHPARTY touches on a number of interrelated themes including rebirth ("Now Is No Time"), honor and vengeance ("If They Come Again"), infidelity ("Cover Up"), and personal responsibility ("New Year's Resolution"). An extensive list of guest musicians help add texture to the songs using a wide variety of instruments from french horn, piano and orchestral strings to trumpet, harmonica and banjo. The album is imbued with richness and complexity by virtue of the stark contrast between the songs themselves and the way they are presented; songs that are often dark and damaged are performed with the reckless energy and stubborn tenacity reserved only for those who truly believe in what they are doing.
In today's downloadable and disposable world, SUNLIGHT SEARCHPARTY stands apart as a three-dimensional work showcasing an artist who cares obsessively about every aspect of his craft. More than just a collection of tracks to be ripped and stored on a hard drive, SUNLIGHT SEARCHPARTY is an artifact - a complete document of this chapter in Val Emmich's life. In addition to the music, the package includes the one-hour documentary dvd IT'S ONLY YOUR LIFE (produced & directed by Matt Schuman) which reveals the complete arc of the making of the record from embryonic idea to fully-realized work of art. Also included is a 16-page booklet designed entirely by Emmich featuring candid studio photos and handwritten pages straight from his journals showing the songwriter working out the lyrics to his songs. In an age when albums often represent the filtered and homogenized visions of a veritable army of songwriters, producers, marketers, researchers and executives, SUNLIGHT SEARCHPARTY is delivered uncompromised straight from Val Emmich to you.