Charlie Peacock Revisits His Roots On “No Man’s Land”
Posted on July 16, 2012 by Dan Harr
On October 2, 2012, Charlie Peacock will release No Man’s Land, his ninth solo outing, and his first vocal recording in twelve years.
The album, which began its gestation over a three-day break between other productions, is the culmination of a lifetime of making music. “I was trying to capture something of the sound of my grandparents’ America – especially Louisiana and Oklahoma – Cajun two-steps, ruckus, and dust, lots of dust.”
From the infectious and ironically life-giving track “Death Trap,” to the rambling arrangement of “Voice of the Lord,” No Man’s Land is infused with the best of American songwriting. Peacock reflects, “For anyone with the desire to, I wanted this record to be the kind you could really get lost in. It’s filled with the sonic imprint of an era past – the sound of American musicians who worked hard to make a life, make a new kind of music, make a nation.” He continues “There’s pedal steel meets a horn section, there’s too much drinkin’ and thinkin’, fiddles wail, there’s a kiss like a peach, and of course, there’s the usual waiting on the voice of the Lord.”
Peacock recorded No Man’s Land at his home studio, The Art House, a restored hundred-year-old church in Nashville, Tennessee. As Peacock explains, “It’s probably fitting that I live and work in a church. I’ve always been a little God-haunted. I’m in good company, though, with people I admire: Coltrane, Dylan, Johnny Cash, and Bono.”
Peacock assembled a cast of talented friends to play on No Man’s Land – many of whom he’s played with for twenty years or more: drummer Steve Brewster; bassist Mark Hill; guitarist Jerry McPherson; Peacock’s son Sam Ashworth on acoustic guitar, banjo and backing vocals; Bruce Bouton on pedal and lap steels; Jeff Taylor on accordion; and Andy Leftwich doing double duty on fiddle and mandolin. Peacock played his signature wood and electronic pianos. Saxophonist Jeff Coffin from the Dave Matthews Band contributed the horn arrangements, which were played by Coffin, trombonist Roy Agee, and trumpeters Mike Haynes and Phillip Lassiter.
Peacock possesses one of the most diverse and eclectic resumes in contemporary music. He is the producer behind the Grammy-winning breakout The Civil Wars, and the duo’s much-lauded Barton Hollow. He also discovered pop-rock band Switchfoot and co-produced their gold single “Dare You To Move,” a top-20 hit from their multi-platinum smash The Beautiful Letdown. Already in 2012, Peacock has worked with Jackson Browne, Irish hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty, Alison Krauss, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ricky Skaggs and Holly Williams.
Peacock is also the same musician who recorded free jazz improvisations with New York’s most imaginative instrumentalists, including saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and downtown iconoclast, guitarist Marc Ribot.
Peacock muses “You’ve got to love and respect music. It’s a wake-up call, a look that means business, a light rain and a freight train,” he continues, “and that’s just the tip of it. Music can do and be so much. What a gift it is for life. We can look back to music past, live in the moment, and create the music that hasn’t existed before. I never cease to marvel at the grace of such a thing.
I've heard one of the songs on the new album - it sounds great. 2012 is shaping up to have a great autumn of music.