Well this is exciting news for a Monday morning. Clem Snide aka Eef Barzelay has announced the release of a new album called ‘Forever Just Beyond’ which lands on March 27th via Ramseur Records/Thirty Tigers. Produced by Scott Avett from the Avett Brothers, he has already shared the first single ‘Roger Ebert’ which you can hear below. Joined by Avett on harmonies, Barzelay “spins the famed film critic’s final words into a meditation on the mysteries of life and death on the track, which, like much of the album, seeks comfort in the acceptance of the inevitable.”
“The last ten years have been a rollercoaster of deep despair and amazing opportunities that somehow present themselves at the last possible second,” says Barzelay. “That this record even exists, as far as I’m concerned, is a genuine miracle.”
“About ten years ago, everything just seemed to fall apart,” he explains. “The band bottomed out, my marriage was crumbling, I lost my house, and I had to declare bankruptcy. That started this process of ego death for me, where I realized the only way to survive would be to transcend myself and to try to find some kind of deeper, spiritual relationship with life and with being. Once I committed myself to that, miraculous things started to happen.”
Some miracles were financial (a superfan in Spain, for instance, sent Barzelay an unsolicited thank-you-for-the-music donation that covered the exact amount he desperately owed his bankruptcy lawyer); other miracles were more intangible. Roughly four or five years ago, as Barzelay struggled with how and if to carry on, a fan sent him a video of Scott Avett singing a Clem Snide song in front of a massive audience. Shortly after that, another fan sent an interview in which Avett raved about Clem Snide’s music. It seemed like a sign from the universe.
“I had just hit this low point where I realized I couldn’t do it alone anymore,” says Barzelay. “I passed along a little message and a new song I wrote to The Avett Brothers’ manager, and Scott wrote me right back to say what a fan he was.”
“I look up to Eef with total respect and admiration,” adds Avett, “and I hope to survive like he survives: with total love for the new and the unknown. Eef’s a crooner and an indie darling by sound and a mystic sage by depth. That’s not common, but it’s beautiful.”
Rather than head into a traditional studio, the two decided to record the guts of the album on Avett’s farm in North Carolina, where they converted Scott’s painting space into a makeshift recording setup. They sourced a core band that included bassist Bill Reynolds (Band of Horses, Lissie) and drummer Mike Marsh (The Avett Brothers, Dashboard Confessional), and worked loose to cut basic tracks live. Next, Barzelay headed to his adopted hometown of Nashville, TN, where he finished vocals and guitars and layered up additional parts from guests like Old Crow Medicine Show fiddler Ketch Secor and Avett Brothers cellist Joe Kwon. In the end, it was four long years between Avett and Barzelay’s initial introduction and the completion of the album.
NPR Music has previously highlighted the Israeli-born Barzelay as “the most underrated songwriter in the business today, with a sneakily firm grasp on poignancy and humor.” Here’s the first track from the album, along with the tracklisting.
‘Forever Just Beyond’ tracklist:
1. Roger Ebert
2. Don’t Bring No Ladder
3. Forever Just Beyond
4. The Stuff Of Us
5. Sorry Charlie
8. The True Shape Of Your Heart
9. The Ballad of Eef Barzelay
11. Some Ghost
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