2019 debut album. Americana. Also available on CD.
Regardless of the many bands Birnbaum has played, recorded, and toured with, it's good to know that there's a solid solo artist in there as well. And American musician, Gabriel Birnbaum does not disappoint on his debut solo album ‘Not Alone’. For a guy whose credits include saxophone in an Ethiopian pop ensemble (Debo Band) and vocal and guitar duties in an acclaimed indie rock band (Wilder Maker), Gabriel Birnbaum can pretty much do whatever he wants on a solo album.
Birnbaum’s press release for ‘Not Alone’ states: “Birnbaum, a working musician since his teens, began as a jazz and avant-garde saxophonist, with stints playing everything from throwback soul music to harsh noise everywhere from the grungiest DIY venues to Lincoln Center and festivals like Bonnaroo and Le Guess Who. At 30, when he began to write the nine songs that make up ‘Not Alone’, he had arrived at one of these moments where everything seems to be ending.”
Accompanying Birnbaum (who handles vocals, guitar, piano, and saxophone) are Adam Brisbin (Sam Evian, Jolie Holland) and Will Graefe (Okkervil River, Star Rover) on guitars and bass as well as Jason Nazary (Bear In Heaven, Anteloper) on drums, percussion, and synths. Going into the recording process with very little preparation apart from Birnbaum's songs, the album was tracked in a couple of days with just a few overdubs. As a result, ‘Not Alone’ has a loose feel that recalls the musically rich texture of classic Neil Young or mid-1970s Dylan albums. Birnbaum's deep, soulful drawl invites comparisons to Craig Finn and Joe Henry, a burnished instrument that serves the songs extremely well.
On ‘Not Alone’, Gabriel Birnbaum’s musicality and poetry shine through a deceptively complex listen where seemingly simple tunes provide avenues to greater depth upon each listen as Birnbaum’s mundane observations take on a sliver of the sacred. Birnbaum sites Jim Sullivan’s UFO as an influence for this record - After recording UFO, Sullivan disappeared into the desert and never recorded again – some say he was abducted. ‘Not Alone’ is a masterfully conceived album, as Birnbaum clearly achieves the aesthetic he sought instrumentally, thematically and lyrically, and without compromising.
"Member of Wilder Maker and Debo Band ‘Gabriel Birnbaum’s vocals are clear and at the centre of the proceedings, invested with a grinning Tom Waits-like delivery and an effusive vocal cadence recalling Dylan at his turn-of-goingelectric phrase." - Spin
‘‘Gabriel Birnbaum’s urban Americana project intersperses grit and gloom with alluring glimpses of deliverance’ - Pitchfork
Track Listing: Not Alone / Stack The Miles / Mistakes / I Got Friends / Archives / Blue Kentucky Mile / Comeback Song / Lose My Head / Oh Jesus