A little while back we featured How On Earth, the debut solo release from Jeffrey Silverstein. The EP was rich and evocative, both of human feeling and of the landscape and climate of the Pacific Northwest that Silverstein now calls home. “Green and grey and misty, the songs are cut from the same cloth as Silverstein’s work with [former band] Nassau but less sun-blushed,” we wrote, “instead enveloped in fresh air and drizzle. Think Yo La Tengo’s Old Joy soundtrack pushed into dreamier ambient territory.”
Today we have the pleasure of presenting a new song from Silverstein, in the form of a live video recorded at the Hallowed Halls in Portland. Filmed and edited by Alex Kocher and Alex Crowson, the video makes the most of the setting (which was historically a library), with its great sound and swathes of natural light. It’s the perfect fit for Silverstein’s music, which feels almost painterly in the way it uses texture and tone to evoke landscapes.
‘Easy Rider’ follows the same formula as the songs on How On Earth, beautiful ambient guitar unfurling with a natural patience. The vocals don’t emerge until well into the second half of the track, and when they do they feel like just another element in the overall atmosphere, not supported by the instrumentation but equal to it. The song is “about making sure you’re finding joy in your work for yourself first and worrying less about what others make of it,” Silverstein explains, hinting at the self-confidence that underpins his work. “Just trying to stay present and let not let future or past thoughts get in the way.”
The result is something that feels organic, intuitive not in an improvisational sense where it is invented on the spot, but rather tapped into, an energy or mood that has always existed, just waiting for someone to commit it to sound. Jeffrey Silverstein is establishing a trust within his solo methods that is proving fruitful, and How on Earth is only the beginning. “There’s something powerful about releasing music under your own name,” he describes, “It’s equal parts freeing and terrifying at the same time…. but [I] feel like I’m growing and learning more as a guitar player, songwriter and vocalist from being alone at the microphone.”
How on Earth is out now and you can get it from the Jeffrey Silverstein Bandcamp page. Silverstein has a few shows lined up in the coming months, so be sure to pop along if you are in the northwest: