Red House Records is pleased to announce the February 14, 2012 release of Tilt-A-Whirl, the label debut of Michigan songwriter Drew Nelson. An artist with an international reputation and several critically acclaimed albums under his belt, the folk/Americana artist writes as a witness to the lives and journeys of those he has met along the way.b Mixing Sprinsgteen’s roots-rock sounds with the folk storytelling sensibility of Nanci Griffith, Drew introduces us to an eclectic cast of everyday characters that includes out of work war vets, forsaken lovers, migrant workers and other directionless lost souls.
“As you encounter the characters on this record, it becomes clear that Drew Nelson has dedicated and re-dedicated himself to getting at real human stories,” says acclaimed songwriter Peter Mulvey. “Some of these characters are him, and some are people he knows, and all their stories let us know that Drew is standing in the Midwestern cold, seeing and telling as clearly as he can.”
Recorded in his home state of Michigan, Drew’s new album sprung out of a series of serendipitous events that started with a chance encounter with a friend in 2011. It had been two years since his radio-charting album Dusty Road to Beulah Land came out, and this friend told him he had to make a new CD. “I just laughed and said ‘Yeah, if I could pay for it.’ He asked me how much it would cost, and he wrote me a check.” Drew then called up his producer Michael Crittenden at Mackinaw Harvest Studios and to his great disappointment, discovered that the studio was booked solid for the next six months. But five minutes later, Michael called back saying that the band had cancelled for the following week. “That was it,” Drew says. “I started to call all the musicians I knew that I wanted on the CD and just lived in the studio for the next two weeks, writing two new songs and recording almost everything live.”
The timing ended up being perfect as Drew was able to record with some of his favorite Michigan musicians, including Michael Crittenden (B-3 organ, Wurlitzer, piano, guitars), Mark R. Schrock (bass, mandolin, vocals), Brian Morrill (drums), Drew Howard (pedal steel, Dobro), Jen Sygit (vocals) and Bettye LaVette’s guitarist Brett Lucas who was coincidentally not on tour and was able to come in from Detroit. Adding some soulful electric guitar parts, Lucas added a rock edge to songs like “Promised Land” and “Danny and Maria” while adding subtle textures to acoustic tracks like “St. Jude” and “Here and There.”
Together this ensemble of musicians brings Drew’s sad and beautiful working class tales to life. Speaking to today’s hard economic realities, Tilt-A-Whirl illuminates people’s struggles to hold onto their hopes and dreams as they spin through the wild carnival ride of life
In support of his new album, Drew Nelson will be showcasing at the 2012 International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis and will be touring across North America and Europe. For his full schedule, please visit www.drewnelson.net or www.redhouserecords.com