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New Orleans singer-songwriter Andrew Duhon will debut his new record, “False River,” at an album release party at Callaghan’s next Sunday.
Band: Andrew Duhon Album Release Party
Date: Sunday, May 13, 8 p.m.
Venue: Callaghan’s Irish Social Club, 916 Charleston St.,
Tickets: $15, available at Callaghan’s
Since the release of his 2010 debut “Songs I Wrote Before I Knew You,” New Orleans singer-songwriter Andrew Duhon has made Callaghan’s an obligatory tour stop. Even after his Grammy nomination for the 2013 album “The Moorings,” Duhon continues to make the journey to the OGD to reconnect with his Azalea City audience.
On Sunday, Duhon returns to Mobile with “fresh fuel in the tank,” courtesy of his latest album, “False River.” Duhon says his fans’ anticipation of this album has been matched by his own. Now, his refocused anticipation is centered upon giving the public what they’ve been wanting, especially in Mobile.
“Callaghan’s being the only place that I play in Mobile, it feels like a neighborhood bar and family at this point,” Duhon said. “It’s going to feel like coming home and giving friends and fans what we’ve all been looking forward to all this time.”
Duhon’s journey to “False River” has not been without its complications. In addition to writing, Duhon says choosing the right producer was also a challenge. He and his bandmates spent hours listening to a variety of albums for production qualities. All the while, he said it became frustrating for the group to decide whether the vibe of albums they were inspired by originated from the producer or other aspects, ranging from mastering to the studio.
Fate brought Duhon and his producer together through an afternoon spent at Mickey’s Tavern in Nashville. At the bar, Duhon says he struck up a conversation with a man he describes as “the usual Nashville cat who’s well-versed in guitar and other instruments and touring around with other acts.”
Duhon explained to the man that he was looking for a producer who could take the music of an “understated songwriter” and “accentuate with grace the pieces that matter.” The conversation led him to Eric Masse (Miranda Lambert, Rayland Baxter) and his studio “The Casino,” so named because the producer feels he gambles with artists’ careers. It resonated with Duhon.
“It’s a blind jump into making art with somebody and do it with an independent artist’s budget,” he said. “You only have so much time. You choose the producer and dive in and make something. Your budget doesn’t allow you to make it again. You have to believe in the choices that you’re making with the producer and all the choices that the producer helps you make. At the end of the day, you hope you make something you’re proud of.”
“False River” perpetuates Duhon’s cerebral songwriting legacy. Every aspect of his music begs to be critically analyzed. Even though there is a False River in his home state of Louisiana, the title of this new release is a metaphor built upon the idea of anastomosis, the similar nature in which routes such as rivers and blood vessels seem to diverge or branch.
Duhon feels the journey through life is very similar. An event might force a tangent in a person’s river of life. While the river continues to flow and create change, the offshoot might create an unchanging situation or mindset. Duhon sees “False River” as an example of how anastomosis can be applied to music.
“When you’re in a plane and look over a meandering river and see all those elements that have broken off in time, we’re only a blip in the timeline, but Mother Nature is constantly moving,” he explained. “Our lives take on that path. As a record, this is a piece of that path for me that has broken off and will remain in its recorded form as it is.”
Additionally, Duhon floated the concept of love into the current of this musical river. From friendship to intimacy, he reflects on love in all its forms.
Meanwhile, Duhon admits he’s a long way from forming a solid conclusion on the subject, except that he doesn’t expect love to be a “fairytale” aspect of his life. However, he says he’s quite satisfied knowing the complex nature of love might not lead to a “storybook” experience in his life. Duhon also says he’s not alone, that it has been reassuring talking to people who share his perspective.
“People say, ‘When you know, you know,’” Duhon said. “I’m not that sure about that. I don’t know if I’ll ever know, but I know when I’m giving myself to love, whether it be friend or lover, that I’m confident in that path and eager to enjoy right now and whatever the future holds.”
As Duhon fills each track with his soulful style of grooving Big Easy folk with a tinge of blues, the production and arrangements found on “False River” gently pull the listener into a warm embrace of tender musical delivery. This dreamlike ambiance beautifully peaks in tracks such as “Go It Alone,” “Heart of a Man” and “Mississippi Be My Guide.”
Duhon’s trademark talent for delivering intellectual yet catchy lyrics also shines throughout “False River,” especially with the album’s opener “Comin’ Around.” This track is a contextual double-play on the idea of “coming around,” whether it be a changing mindset, the return to a starting point or both.
“For me, it was about resting with the hope that what I was leaving I would find again,” he said. “I wanted to hope that I would find it exactly in the same form that I was leaving it, but I knew that I had to leave and move forward and be a different person, even if I found the same thing over again. In the end, I think it’s that duality of coming around to the same thing, but really just coming around and changing what it is that I’m feeling and thinking. It’s coming around on a belief or an idea.”
Since he is returning to one of his favorite locales, Duhon’s appearance at Callaghan’s will feature more than just his new music. The merchandise table will have a limited edition of copies of “False River” pressed in what he is calling “Callaghan’s Green” vinyl.
Most of the tables will be cleared out for this “mostly standing room” show, so arrive early.
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