Listen to the full album and watch the video for “Pictures on the Table” below
For over a quarter century, Minnesota native Steve Salett has served as a part of New York City’s music scene.
He’s performed as The Poison Tree and one half of The King of France with veteran rock journalist Michael Azerrad, and was even part of The Kelley Deal 6000 when they were a thing.
Salett also runs Reservoir Studios in Manhattan and the Saltmines studio complex in DUMBO, Brooklyn, and recently founded his own label, Historical Fiction Records.
But he’s never released an album under hid own accord until today with the unveiling of his solo debut First Landing, which Rock & Roll Globe is honored to premiere this morning on the site.
“I’m excited to be fully connected to the music that I’m making and to basically say, This is who I am, and feel comfortable in that,” Salett told Brooklyn Vegan in June. “There is no band name or project name that’s going to help people make sense of it or connect to it faster than just having this fully be part of my identity. The only way that it makes sense is that it’s me.”
A confessional and revealing record, First Landing finds Salett assessing the last decade of his life following the passing of his beloved wife Estella to breast cancer in 2011. Taking the initial few years to raise his two young kids and work with artists on a consultant basis, Salett reemerged in 2022 with the six-song Estella Jane EP, crafted in tribute to his wife. First Landing, meanwhile, points towards the path of healing, making peace with the past and discovering love again with his current wife Dara.
“Music was an outlet that made me feel human; my former life felt erased,” he explains. “Much of making this record was about connecting to the people around me, looking at my baggage and my anxieties, and determining the kind of person I wanted to be. It’s me, trying to figure out how to be happy and engaged, and just letting whatever I wrote inform me. I feel fortunate in the life I was able to rebuild. I met and married Dara, we combined our families, and we’re raising our kids together.”
In celebration, Steve has just released the new video for the track “Pictures on the Table,” which Rock & Roll Globe is also premiering today on the site.
VIDEO: Steve Salett “Pictures on the Table”
He explains: “I have no idea where the ‘Pictures on the Table’ came from— totally improvised. It was written as Josh Kaufman and I recorded it- the song just appeared. I think we set up a microphone and with no plan or anything previously written just played the song. The vocals, drums and guitar all tracked live on one microphone. And Josh took a pass with the lap steel and bass and within 10 minutes it was written, tracked overdubbed and essentially mixed. Just one of those lucky moments that you could never capture by trying.”
Assisting Salett in the creation of is a prolific squad of established pals he’s worked with through the years, including Josh Kaufman (Bonnie Light Horsemen), Ray Rizzo (Josh Ritter), Thomas Bartlett (St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens), Matt Barrick (The Walkmen), Stuart Bogie (Arcade Fire), Annie Nero (Cassandra Jenkins) and mixers Pat Dillett (Paul Simon, David Byrne) and Dan Goodwin (The Hold Steady, Kevin Morby).
Equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful, First Landing is a boundless reflection of sorrow and salvation, told through a collection of songs that anyone who lost a loved one should hear.
As Salett’s friend and The Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn describes, “This is the sound of someone moving forward, while still acknowledging the things they have to carry to get there.”
First Landing is available now on BandCamp and other fine music outlets.
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