Matter + Spirit
by The End
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Last refresh Aug/11/2018 09:58 PM
With two records under their belt and a coast-to-coast fanbase growing from their New York City home, The Candles have earned a reputation for weathered, back-alley roots rock. But with their third album, Matter + Spirit, the quartet adds a layer of wind-blown dust, embracing the open space and honest sensitivity of the American heartland like never before. Formed in 2009 by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Josh Lattanzi – a veteran sideman who has toured and recorded with artists like Norah Jones, The Lemonheads and Albert Hammond, Jr., for more than a decade – The Candles also include guitarist Jason Roberts, keys player Pete Remm and drummer Greg Wieczorek, allowing Lattanzi to step confidently into the spotlight and lay his well-travelled soul on the line. “Your standards get higher as you get older,” says Lattanzi, describing Matter + Spirit as his most thoughtful, fully-formed project to date. Over the past decade, as lead-guitarist for the charity concert series The Fests, Lattanzi has accompanied illustrious artists including Brian Wilson, Lucinda Williams, Ann Wilson, Boz Scaggs, Donald Fagen, Emmylou Harris and Norah Jones. “Playing with some really great songwriters along the way increased my standards," say Lattanzi, who shines on the recently released CD/DVD titled George Fest, which documents a touching Fest tribute to George Harrison, "When I'm standing next to heroes of mine, like Emmylou Harris or Brian Wilson, and thinking about MY own album, I'm like ‘Wow, I better be working as hard as I can to make something worthy.’ It has been a super inspiring experience for me.” Recorded at Brooklyn’s Degraw Sound with producer Ben Rice, Lattanzi took a new approach to the nine tracks on Matter + Spirit, committing himself to focused stories capable of standing on their own – no matter the arrangement. What emerged was a sound forged in the sunset rock of the ‘70s but tempered by twang, proudly placing slippery dobro and steel guitar alongside ethereal harmonies, all laced with an element of casual, big-city cool. “Back to the City,” starts Matter + Spirit off with an easy sense of joy, full of playful hand claps, self discovery and lessons learned on the road – making it the perfect framing device for The Candles, re-poured and freshly lit. There’s a swaying SoCal feel in the lovely laziness of “Sunburned,” while “You Wont Remember Me” tips a ten-gallon hat to Texas, Nashville and classic country. “Something Good” feels pulled from a sticky Southern swamp and “Followed” rolls along like an old-timey boulder coming down a mountain. Meanwhile, intriguing guest appearances dot the set, with longtime friend and Grammy-winner Norah Jones singing on the tense and airy “Move Along,” a hypnotic duet of struggle and acceptance. Famed rock photographer Danny Clinch drops a few bluesy harmonica licks on the sunny track “Back to the City,” as Lattanzi reflects on where he truly belongs after 10-plus years of running wild. “I’m going back to the building on the island at the mouth of the sea,” Lattanzi sings. For a lifelong rock and roller, that realization may have come as a surprise. But much like the album that follows, he wouldn’t change a thing. “It came out just how I hoped it would,” he says. Matter + Spirit arrives November 11 digitally, and December 16 on CD on The End Records. The Candles will open 25 shows for Norah Jones this fall in Europe and the U.S. -- Including at New York's Beacon Theatre on November 29th, -- and continue touring through 2017.
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