The new record by singer-songwriter, guitarist Ian Alexy is inhabited by misfit characters struggling to navigate their way in a morally complex world. The Deserters in this sense are not disloyal, just in need of escaping their surroundings for higher ground. This character driven approach to songwriting is exemplified in the infectious first single Misfits In Love which tells the story of three sets of unlikely lovers.
Ian wrote the songs on Deserters while living in Minneapolis, just before moving to a more rural setting in nearby Wisconsin. “Now that I have some perspective on my time in Minneapolis I can see how much the city and it’s music affected my songwriting.”
On the turntable, Ian was fueling his inspiration with Pretenders, Thin Lizzy and Tom Petty records which helped shape the style of the new EP. “The great thing about collecting old records on vinyl is hearing the obscure tracks that never made it to radio.” Alexy studied jazz composition at Berklee College Of Music and has a voracious appetite for songwriting.
The music’s authentic energy and grit is delivered by Alexy’s Minneapolis based backing band The Deserters. Ian first shared the new songs with Fontenelle's leader and multi instrumentalist Dave Mehling, who adds keyboards, guitars and backing vocals to the record. The line up is filled out by the rhythm section of Johnnie Timm on bass and Mike Cini on drums. Cini has long known Ian from his work with folk troubadours Hobo Nephews Of Uncle Frank and was surprised by the stylistic shift into rock n roll. After a few rehearsals Cini finally asked, “so when did you start writing songs that sound like The Cars?”
The record was recorded by engineer and Apollo Cobra mastermind Dylan Nau. Dylan’s collection of vintage analog synthesizers were utilized on a couple of the tracks.
Having left Minneapolis, does Ian Alexy consider himself a Deserter?. “I think it is important to follow your own individual path in this world wherever it might lead you.”
I am happy to announce that my new single 'The Moon And Stars' is now available on iTunes and most other digital music outlets. It is a dark folk song that was inspired by the late great singer songwriter Bert Jansch. I was lucky enough to see Jansch open for Neil Young just before he died. I am astounded by the beauty and by the heavy moods he is able to create in his work. Although this song is moody, it is certainly not entirely dark.
There is always hope my friends. "The moon and stars will carry out my will."
This track was recorded along with the other songs for my Born On The Day Of The Dead record. I recorded about 20 songs for that record and only used about half of them. That is not because I didn't think the other tracks were up to par, but because I was trying to create a record that breathes and flows as one piece, and doesn't seem like a compilation of random songs.
This is the first time I have ever released a single on its own without an accompanying record. I am admittedly old school and I have always thought in terms entire records when releasing music. I grew up in the CD era and am always interested in hearing what an artist can do in long play recording, rather than just one song. So, I am way behind on the era of the digital single.
I am still working on records. I am currently working on one with the Hobo Nephews and will continue work on my next solo effort after that. However, it is exciting to be able to release a digital track, because it has become so easy and cost efficient. Too many of my songs have gone unrecorded and unheard over the years. The digital world is at least giving me the option of releasing a larger body of work. So may this be the first of many! Have a great week everyone...thank you for your continued support!
Are You Listening is a collection of songs written and recorded by Minneapolis based singer/songwriter/guitarist Ian Alexy. The songs were written in between writing, recording and touring with his other project Hobo Nephews Of Uncle Frank.
In the winter of 2008 Alexy was bedridden with a cold that lasted almost two weeks. In that time he Alexy’s mother sent him a box of his old stuff that had been sitting in her attic for years. That box included a Led Zeppelin songbook, plus videotapes of old rock and metal videos. This blast of inspiration helped him get in touch with his initial influences. The excitement rings true on Are You Listening. “During my middle school years, I used to videotape any rock performance or video I could find on Saturday night TV. Between SNL and The Headbanger’s Ball, there was quite a bit. That was initially how I learned to play guitar.”
Inspired by the open guitar tunings from the Zep songbook, Ian wrote 5 songs in a week that reflected some of the feeling and harmony of Led Zeppelin III. "Although Zeppelin has been imitated many times over, there are aspects of their sound, particularly the layered harmonies that Jimmy Page created with his guitar, that have been largely absent from Rock N Roll ever since. The goal was to get in touch with some of that."
Ian spent his freshman year at Berklee College of Music, a season in West Africa studying highlife guitar, and graduated from the progressive art school Goddard College with a degree in Jazz Composition and Literature. After earning a living in Burlington VT. for a few years performing as a solo singer/songwriter and as guitarist in a few different funk, jazz and rock bands, Alexy relocated to Duluth and then Minneapolis MN in 2008.
Although Alexy is clearly obsessed with the music that initially inspired him to play, with Hobo Nephews Of Uncle Frank, Ian along with his brother Teague, dig much deeper into the American folk/blues songbook. “We started the group with the intention of writing in the style of Woody Guthrie and Hank Williams, and it evolved from there.” The Alexy Brothers also took on the lifestyle of the old time traveling musician playing nearly 200 dates in 2009.
In 2011, Ian will continue performing with Hobo Nephews Of Uncle Frank, as a solo artist and with the Ian Thomas Alexy Band.
Are You Listening is now available in the CIC RECORD SHOP
IAN ALEXY - Blow You Away