|Alone, Together is the extraordinary third album from singer-songwriter Daniel Pearson and will be released on August 21st (album pre-orders begin June 15th). The new collection of songs follow the stunning Satellites and Mercury State albums, which earned the versatile indie troubadour international press praise in 2012/2013 and built a large and loyal grassroots fanbase around the world.
The nine songs on Alone, Together channel the last two years of the talented musician’s life into an album of beautiful contradictions. Pearson got married, left his English teaching job to succeed as an independent musician, saw word-of-mouth power his music to countless new fans on social media, became a father and celebrated the birth of his first child, and battled against a rare and lethal form of eye cancer. The resulting album explores these varying experiences and is at once joyous and melancholic, communal and solitary, uplifting and reflective.
Opener “Hymn For The Hopeless” sets the tone for the record – beginning with sparse acoustics and Pearson’s distinctive vocals, it soon builds layers of interweaving string and guitar parts reminiscent of REM or The National to stunning effect. “The Bridge” is a driving piece of classic rock that wouldn’t be out of place on a 70’s Springsteen album, whilst “Rivers” fuses an infectious country stomp to garage rock guitars in joyously defiant optimism. The anthemic “War Stories” and “Circles” explore the search for meaning and purpose in adulthood, whilst tender album closer “Come Back Around” expresses Pearson’s feelings as a new father. But it’s a trio of songs at the heart of the album that best define its power. “As Deep As Love”, “I Still Believe” and “The Open Sea” are examples of the kind of immediate, universal and emotionally raw songwriting that means Pearson stands out from his more choreographed and co-written contemporaries. Recorded quickly inside a week and using first or second takes to maintain a natural feel, the songs sound organic and honest instead of over-produced.
Rather than playing it safe and sticking to a formula, Pearson has followed a singular vision for each album. After the hooky, pop-fuelled Americana of his debut Satellites saw him gain glowing press reviews and enthusiastic radio support, he made a stark, bleak and recession-tackling album of folk ballads and scathing electric blues on Mercury State that reflected the voices of the community around him at the time. The decision to change things up again on Alone, Together to incorporate lush orchestral sounds and handle the bulk of the instrumental performances himself has created another distinctive set of timeless songs that are the work of a mature artist confidently forging his own path.
At a time when anyone with an acoustic guitar and a YouTube cover version can call themselves a singer-songwriter, it’s refreshing to discover the real deal in a gifted songwriter, vocalist and guitarist. A world away from the machinations of global music corporations and their market-tested artist launches, Daniel Pearson embodies the independent spirit and the enduring power of great songs in a changing music industry.