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Having recently opened for Coldplay at Madison Square Garden, composed music for several acclaimed feature films and scored national ad campaigns, PT Walkley is poised for the release of his solo debut. The album, titled Mr. Macy Wakes Alone, will be released January 27 on Frisbie Records and has already earned Walkley airplay on taste making online radio station East Village Radio and an interview with Matt Pinfield on New York City’s 101.9 RXP.
Mr. Macy Wakes Alone, which Time Out NY calls “an ambitious work in the mold of a ‘60s double LP, with recurring characters and musical themes,” arrives in an era when many listeners focus their attention on single tracks. It is Walkley’s ambition to return to the notion of an album as a full musical experience. With Mr. Macy Wakes Alone, Walkley tells the story of Audrey Macy, a Manhattan trust fund kid; her father, an evil record executive; and Calvin the Coroner, an aspiring songwriter exploited by Mr. Macy. What unfolds is a tragicomedy complete with introduction, climax and resolution, ultimately culminating with the triumphant symphony of “Somebody.”
Along with co-producers Mary Wood and Scott Hollingsworth, Walkley brings the story to life with an impressive team of collaborators. Joining Walkley on Mr. Macy Wakes Alone are guitarist Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm), trumpeter Steven Bernstein (Sex Mob, Rufus Wainwright), string arranger David Campbell (Beck, Johnny Cash), mixer Trina Shoemaker (Sheryl Crow, Queens of the Stone Age) and Sean Lennon, who plays guitar and piano on several tracks.
In addition to his music side projects The Blue Jackets and PT Walkley and the Adventures of Track Rabbit, Walkley has scored and written songs for several major motion pictures. The films include Ed Burns’ Looking For Kitty (2004), The Groomsmen (2006) and Purple Violets (2007), as well as Paul S. Myers’ Southern Belles (2005), which starred Anna Faris and Judah Friedlander. Walkley has also licensed and composed music for numerous national advertising campaigns including for MasterCard, Dewars, GE and more.
FILTER MAGAZINE- LIVE REVIEW
Blender Theater, New York, NY - 01.27.09
by Annie Reuter | 02.02.2009
On the night of his album release, PT Walkley entertained a packed Blender Theater audience by playing his debut album Mr. Macy Wakes Alone track by track in its entirety. With a full band – at times reminiscent of an orchestral arrangement – Walkley conducted the band with the simple nodding of his head. From backup singers to string arrangement, Walkley’s showcase was one not to be missed.
Perhaps the most versatile musician I’ve seen in concert, Walkley’s voice changed drastically from song to song. One example is the mere difference from second song “Why,” where he exercised a softer, more angelic voice complete with fitting string and horn accompaniment, and then made the shift to the deeper and edgier track “No One Needs To Know” - and that was just in the first 10 minutes of his set.
What makes Walkley stand out from other up-and-coming musicians is the content of his album. He has said in interviews that he hopes to bring back cover-to-cover listening and seemingly does so, as the characters and themes on each track intermingle throughout Mr. Macy Wakes Alone. His publicity is doing pretty well, especially after being hand picked by Coldplay frontman Chris Martin to open their Madison Square Garden show.
Not your average singer-songwriter, Walkley has also composed music for several Ed Burns films as well as had his music placed in numerous commercials including MasterCard and GE. With so much varied musical exposure, his diversity in concert no longer seems all that surprising, but continues to impress concertgoers as heard from the screams and applause after each song's end.
With string, horn, percussion and continuous guitar and backup vocals, Walkley’s set did not disappoint. Slower ballad “Coming Over” showcased his deep and trance-like vocals. With the complement of a harp, the concertgoer had the relaxed vibe of being on a tropical island, easily picturing palm trees swaying in the background. Always quick to change the mood from song to song, next track was energetic “The Lucky Ones.” The song featured Walkley’s wife Michelle on infectious backing vocals. Their voices blended beautifully together, and the light musical accompaniment fit well, never overpowering the song's main vocals and narration.
While “Evolution” sounded almost planetary at times, “Calvin the Coroner” had a carnival-esque feel to it. With a faster piano introduction and crescendo of Walkley’s vocals at the end of each line, the song is quirky with lyrics, “When Calvin was a boy there was a lot to comprehend / A high imagination but he never had a friend / His father bought the funeral parlor just around the bend from the Macy’s / He helped around the basement and he swore he’d never tell / He couldn’t stand the bodies but he grew to like the smell / Formaldehyde and suicide were words that came too well to a young boy.”
Before playing upbeat track, “Audrey Macy” Walkley introduced the song by saying, “This song is about a murder and a girl named Audrey Macy.” A captivating tale of a trust fund girl who is never satisfied, she eventually kills her father to inherit money he already has spent, thus forcing her to work the rest of her life. Yet another example of Walkley’s versatility, with fitting electric guitar and percussion, the music only assisted him to tell the story effectively.
With rave album reviews and having recently opened for Coldplay, PT Walkley has definitely been making a name for himself. Setting the bar well beyond most musicians these days, Walkley begs the listener to pay attention to every detail of his performance and album as the recurring themes and characters only make sense when listening cover to cover. Definitely an ambitious musician, Walkley is breaking the mold of the music industry as we know it today, and it would behoove every music lover to give him a listen.
NPR.org, January 23, 2009 - Trust fund kids and coroners are just a couple of the characters waiting to be discovered in PT Walkley's ambitious debut solo album. The story centers on Audrey Macy, a hipster living in the East Village who plays the bass and works hard to memorize poetry, in order to compensate for her apparent lack of intelligence. The plot thickens when Audrey decides to slip some pills into her father's birthday cake to speed her inheritance. This intriguing, gothic parody eventually culminates in "Somebody," the shining and triumphant anthem that concludes the 18 track album.
The character descriptions are so colorful and the instrumentation so whimsical that Mr. Macy Wakes Alone could easily be adapted for the stage. It's easy to imagine the characters dancing around the streets of Manhattan, as Audrey walks up to her dingy apartment, unaware that the song they're singing is about her. Much in the vain of the dramatic Seattle band Parenthetical Girls, PT Walkley expertly matches the dark and satirical plot elements with equally romantic string arrangements, eerily jubilant choral vocals, and brass interludes.
Interestingly, the line between the fantastical world the Macys inhabit and the real world can be hard to discern at times. On one hand, it seems obvious that many of the characters yearn for a happier life, but the lyrics of "Somebody" also express the all-to-real frustrations of struggling to be heard. Behind every good parody, of course, is some element of truth. What makes Mr. Macy Wakes Alone particularly engrossing is that interspersed in the ebullient and dramatic songs about Audrey and Calvin the Coroner, are songs like "Why" or "Mediocre" that seem to stem from a much more personal source. PT Walkley suggests that in addition to these more confessional songs, he, at times, uses the characters as "ventriloquist dummies to confess certain things or convey emotions."
BILLBOARD MAGAZINE FEATURE
January 27, 2009 01:40 PM ET
Even if you haven't heard of PT Walkley, you might have heard him whistling in a MasterCard commercial or singing "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" in a GE spot.
For a handful of years, the songwriter has earned such placements working at Frisbie, a creative advertising and branding music studio in New York. A day job as a composer has left Walkley ample opportunity to use the studio's facilities for his own music, which blends feel-good, upbeat pop with Brit rock.
Walkley's own music takes center stage on "Mr. Macy Wakes Alone," which he will self-release Jan. 27. Guests include Sean Lennon, Bob Dylan guitarist Larry Campbell, singer/songwriter Jesse Harris and trumpeter Steve Bernstein, with strings arranged by David Campbell.
His college band won a competition that landed it on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," and Walkley found his way into the biz for good after scoring a trio of films for actor/director Ed Burns: "The Groomsmen," "Looking for Kitty" and "Purple Violets."
Burns also brought Coldplay frontman Chris Martin to a New York show by Walkley's indie-rock project the Blue Jackets, and Martin was so impressed that he stayed in touch and wound up inviting the band to open for Coldplay at New York's Madison Square Garden last June. "I didn't feel out of place at all on that stage. I was like, 'This is what I was born to do!' I kind of set the bar high," Walkley says.
Tracks from "Mr. Macy Wakes Alone" have already scored spins on rock WRXP New York. And the artist will celebrate the new album with a release-day show at New York's Blender Theater, for which he'll be backed by a 14-piece band. The finale, he says, features a 12-person choir in order to "reinvent the goose bump."
"That's what's going to make touring hard. Since taking 15 people on the road isn't feasible, we're trying to make a fantastic-sounding band for the road with only five people instead," he says. Walkley, who is unmanaged, is settling on a booking agent.
Looking ahead, Walkley is working with animation company An Idol Robot on a Nickelodeon TV pilot and three videos for the album. He's also enlisted designer T-shirt maker Barking Irons to create his merchandise.
PT WALKLEY: Mr. Macy Wakes Alone
Jan 28, 2009
By Kevin Stevens
You may have heard the work of PT Walkley without even realizing it. The 31-year-old composer, singer and songwriter has scored soundtracks for films like The Groomsmen and Looking For Kitty and composed music for MasterCard and GE commercials, amongst others. Not satisfied with his off-screen success, however, Walkley has taken his penchant for catchy melodies and cinematic narratives to his solo debut, Mr. Macy Wakes Alone. Walkley's epic 18-song concept album crafts the story of a wealthy Manhattan girl, an aspiring artist and loony coroner, and an exploitative corporate executive, vividly depicting the atmosphere and emotions of each character's story, which plays out like a film in itself.
The vibrant strings of the introductory song are an early indication of the album's musical expansiveness. Walkley's song structures are widely arrayed, as he creates a unique soundscape to compliment each track, ranging from the country-twanged piano dance-along, "Punch Drunk," to the brooding acoustic guitar and spacey synthesizer on "Why." Even Walkley's vocals vary from song to song; when he references Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" on "No One Needs To Know," his baritone sounds eerily similar to Roger Waters during Pink Floyd's latter years, but then Walkley follows with "Daydreaming," where he morphs into a country-rock star. Putting it simply, PT Walkley is hard to pin down. However, on an album with so much variance, one thing remains constant: the consistency of Walkley's music. He does not let his music become confounded by his musical, lyrical, and vocal experimentation, which is an impressive feat for a debut, proving that Walkley deserves to be recognized for far more than a jingle to some credit card commercial.
Tracklist For Mr. Macy Wakes Alone:
03. Audrey Macy
04. No One Needs To Know
06. Coming Over
07. The Lucky Ones
10. Calvin The Coroner
12. Ides Of March
14. Punch Drunk