Peter Mulvey | Letters from a Flying Machine

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Letters from a Flying Machine

by Peter Mulvey

Melding Tin Pan Alley jazz, modern acoustic, poetry, narrative, and Americana stylings, the letters act as a thread, tying together the theme of love and time.
Genre: Moods:
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Kids in the Square
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3:43 $0.99
2. Some People
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3:16 $0.99
3. Letters from a Flying Machine
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3:02 $0.99
4. Windshield
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3:41 $0.99
5. What's keeping Erica?
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3:08 $0.99
6. ...Plus the Many Inevitable Fragments
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2:40 $0.99
7. Dynamite Bill
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3:21 $0.99
8. Shoulderbirds (You Know Me)
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3:36 $0.99
9. Bears
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3:54 $0.99
10. Mailman
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3:14 $0.99
11. Vlad the Astrophysicist
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5:40 $0.99
12. On a Wing and a Prayer
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3:41 $0.99
13. Coda: Love is Here to Stay
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1:55 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
The album, Mulvey's twelfth, is largely a collection of songs, with the letters (read aloud, complete with the
rumble of airplane engines and instrumental accompaniment) serving as a framing
device. “This record is meant to be listened to all the way through” says Mulvey. “The songs
and the stories work in a specific sequence, to allow me to get at my central topic: when all is
said and done, what it is that lasts?” The letters act as a thread, tying together a series of songs ranging from cunning character studies to pointed observations of human nature to haunting, bittersweet reflections on the
passage of time; all pointing the listener towards his conclusion. “If there is a pattern to this
record,” Mulvey explains, “it’s time-time-time-love. As a songwriter I’ve always been trying to
address these two things: love and time. Love, which only happens in time. Trying to be here
in each moment while letting each moment go. And I've found that addressing a new
generation within a family casts that topic in a whole new light.”
Letters also heralds a drastic change in Mulvey’s process. “Most of my records take three
days,” he recalls. “This time, I was engaged in the process of making this record for three-and-
half months. It was almost like painting, refining each part until I got it right, and then building
another layer on top of it.”

Richly acoustic, with a hint of rustic clatter befitting the album’s themes of antiquity,
obsolescence, and progress, Letters puts Mulvey’s nimble guitar front and center, framing it
with contributions from several key associates, including Paul Kochansky whose upright bass
runs throughout. The album’s music is more arranged, with Mulvey mapping out parts in
advance of inviting in the musicians. “I wound up humming a lot of instrumental melody
lines,” he says, “imagining a cello part here, a clarinet there. In the end, we kept the humming
and overlaid the instrument on top of it. It's a curious sound, as though I'm singing what I
imagine, and then the imagination becomes real.”


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