I grew up in the South and listened to a lot of local radio growing up - Molly Hatchet and Lynyrd Skynyrd. In addition to that, my parents listened to a mixture of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals (The King and I, Oklahoma!, etc.) and 60's surf rock, mostly the The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean.
So that was all swirling in the background, but I didn't pick up an instrument until college. When I was in school (University of Florida) I got heavily into electroacoustic music, really experimental, academic stuff, which got me excited about recording. I moved to Washington DC after college and started recording some sketches of things I had written, which eventually mutated into songs. I had recorded everything solo, but needed a live band, so I formed The Rosemont Family Reunion. We toured around the East Coast, and after a bit reformed as Echo
The three songs that I thought were the best on the record were "The Prostitute," "The English Teacher", and "The Businessman". So I decided to write a record around each of them. Because there were three, all slightly different genres, I found myself thinking about them as different seasons, or different countries, or, finally, different colors. 'Blue' would be the more folk-oriented one, 'Red' would be more country rock, and 'Green' would be more classic pop.
When I started to write Blue, I realized that the sound I was hearing in my head was larger and more symphonic than anything I'd done before. I knew that I wanted things to be specific, and I'd need time to learn how to write the parts. So I moved to Berlin to focus on things. Berlin turned out to be the perfect location for focusing - I didn't know anybody or speak the language, so I didn't have many distractions. All there was to do was write, and occasionally bike through the city for inspiration, letting the rhythms of the city soak into my thinking. A few months later, I was done.
When I went back to the US, I decided to end up in New York City. The city is electric, and the ambition surrounding me was in- toxicating and inspiring. I found an apartment, and started re- cruiting musicians to join me.
Bloom (a play on the phrase 'Echo Boom', describing the children of baby boomers). The first Echo Bloom record was recorded much faster - a 4-day session in 2008. 'Jamboree' was a a collection of character studies, modeled after the photography of August Sander. Each song was about a character - there was a prostitute, an English Teacher, and a truck driver, among others. I put out the record, and after playing the release show immediately moved to Los Angeles. DC had become stale to me, and I was looking for an adventure.
When I was thinking about the next record I wanted to make, I sat down and looked at what I had done before. Jamboree was a fun album that bounced through a lot of different genres, and some of the experiments turned out better than others.
When I went back to the US, I decided to end up in New York City. The city is electric, and the ambition surrounding me was intoxicating and inspiring.
I found an apartment, and started recruiting musicians to join me. The primary ensemble became a six-piece: I sang tenor and played acoustic guitar, Aviva Jaye sang alto and played piano, Steve Sasso sang baritone vocals and played banjo, Shareef Taher played percussion, Jason Mattis played bass, and Josh Grove played electric guitar. We recorded the album over a period of months, painstakingly going through the score to get every piece right. And I remember each moment in every piece and its story - one bridge from an old library along the Spree, a piano line from a street in Neukölln - the songs continue to echo, continue to bloom.