"Leonard Cohen, with Margo Timmins on background vocal, singing Tom Waits, playing slide guitar." -- Twangville
Meatyard's sophomore album, SWEET OLD GREEN LIFE, finds the band expanding upon the sound they created on their debut, TOOT TOOT, BOOM BOOM. Thirteen new tracks – eleven originals, along with covers of the Everly Brothers "Let It Be Me" and Stephen Foster's "Hard Times Come Again No More" – showcase the deceptively sweet harmony vocals of Molly Hansen and Josh Welsh, Rupert Sandes’ greasy, biting, and always soulful slide guitar playing, and the tight rhythm section of Martin Garner and Kevin Jarvis.
“It’s not the album we initially set out to make,” explains singer Josh Welsh. “Molly, whose singing was a big part of the last record, had moved away. I had been working on a bunch of new songs and decided to record a really intimate, quiet, late night kind of record. I was thinking of recording them in the vein of Springsteen’s NEBRASKA or maybe Bon Iver’s FOR EMMA, FOREVER AGO, something like that. No drums, no bass, no electric guitar. But then Molly came back to LA suddenly and said, ‘Hey let’s sing some stuff!’ We found ourselves in the studio again, working out vocal parts on the songs I’d been working on by myself. It sounded pretty good and then somehow it led us to a much fuller sound. Everything kind of blew up once we got back to doing harmony vocals."
A big new addition to the group is the drumming of Kevin Jarvis, who has played with Steve Wynn, Lucinda Williams, Rosie Flores, John Wesley Harding, and Ben Vaughn, among others. The album was recorded by Brian Reeves at the Jungle Room Studio over a period of months. The songs developed as a series of gradually evolving demos, with layers being added, taken away, and reshaped as they went. "It was a slow recording process, but a lot of fun, "said Josh. "The trick is knowing when to stop. When Molly started playing cello we figured, ok, that's great but no more."
Musicians on "Sweet Old Green Life" include:
Josh Welsh: Vocals, rhythm guitar & mandolin
Martin Garner: Bass & harmonica
Rupert Sandes: Slide & electric guitar, handclaps
Molly Hansen: Cello & vocals
Kevin Jarvis: Drums
Brian Reeves: Percussion, organ, bass
Samuel Dowe-Sandes: Hand claps