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Archer Prewitt

Archer Prewitt has graced 7 of the 25 releases on Carrot Top Records over

photo by Guy Mendes

the last 8 years. His eighth, Gerroa Songs, is his most haunting and evocative work to date, on this label or any other. The recordings were made at a seaside house in Australia in March, 1999. The house, a former nunnery and now haunted, and the setting, by the ocean with rocky windswept beaches and dolphins leaping in the sun just outside the windows, would infuse the recordings & the entire experience from the outset.

While no ghosts were seen during their stay, the simple recording procedure (8 track, few mics and plenty of room sound, a la Cowboy Junkies' Trinity Sessions would capture the unique & captivating ambience of their surrounding beyond anyone's expectations. Creaking floorboards, the rhythmic thrum of insects all around as the sun set over the ocean, and the chords and harmonics bouncing playfully around the room the dilapidated old structure permeate these special recordings, making them an irreplaceable document of a special time for Archer and his Australian friends & companions. An aural snapshot of a few days by the remote Australian oceanside.

The music itself also reflects the surrounding and the recording procedures. Delicate. Simple. Windswept like the beach. And at times, even a little spooky. Austere pop music without the studio trappings that have made Archer's recent solo albums so dear to people's hearts. Fine Australian musicians (Tony Dupé, Ian Bothams, Leo Mullins, & Kirsty Stegwazi) played guitar, bass, drums & cello, all captured as they were played. Upon returning to Chicago, Archer's only nod to the studio was to bring in the incomparable Susan Voelz (Poi Dog, Archer's other solo LP's) to record violin parts of her making & Tania Bowers to add backing "Aaaahs" that both only add to the airy qualities already captured.
8 songs of his finest work done in a simple, inimitable manner.

Carrot Top Releases
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Archer Prewitt Downloads
Archer Prewitt's Downloads are available for download at Fina Music here or the iTunes Music Store here.

Archer Prewitt Gerroa Songs MCD
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download Waves Waltz
and Tell Me Now
in mp3 format
Read a review at Pitchfork.

 


Archer Prewitt White Sky
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Listen to Final Season from White Sky
Listen to a sample of Raise On High from White Sky in Real Audio.

Archer Prewitt's debut solo album, In The Sun, was released in 1997 to good critical acclaim. His discography and tour itinerary both indicate that he has rarely slept. This, his tenth commercially released recording since the release of In The Sun, caps off a period of insane touring in the US, Europe and Japan with The Sea and Cake, Sam Prekop and his own solo shows. Archer also has found time for his career of growing reknown as a visual artist which includes his comic Sof' Boy, published by Drawn And Quarterly.

While White Sky continues in the same vein as In The Sun, it is most undoubtedly the work of a more mature, more focused, reflective and confident singer, songwriter, musician and arranger. The album moves from the lush, fully orchestrated pop of the opener "Raise on High", "White Sky", and "Final Season", through strong driving rock cuts like "Motorcycles" and bittersweet, introspective, Nick Drake-ish ballads such as "Shake", the fragile baritone flute strains of "Summer's End" and the final, acoustic guitar, strings & lilting flute strains of "I'll Be Waiting". Recorded shortly after their return from tour, "White Sky" benefits from their newfound cohesion, especially the intricate and well executed string and horn arrangements of Mertens and Prewitt.

Archer's musical accompaniment comes from the same group of top flight musicians as his debut, including Steve Goulding (drums-Mekons, Poi Dog Pondering, Graham Parker), Paul Mertens (sax, flute-Brian Wilson, Poi, Chicago Jazz Ensemble), Dave Crawford (horns, keys-Poi), Susan Voelz (strings-Poi), Mark Greenberg (bass-Coctails, Log Letters), and Edith Frost (vocals). Once again, Kingsize's Ken Sluiter has played the role of sonic mastermind at the control board adding many nice touches as well.

Read this review of White Sky at Pitchforkmedia.com

From the pages of the CMJ New Music Report, Issue: 638 - Oct 11, 1999:
"The music of Chicago's Archer Prewitt is marked by its utterly pristine songcraft. On his dusky and melancholic second solo effort, White Sky, Prewitt's silky string arrangements, tasteful horn sections, and droney mellotron cries augment the mellow and pastoral settings of his compositions. Much of this effort, as evidenced by the song titles "Summer's End," "Last Summer Days," and "Final Season," evoke feelings of impending change and isolation. Prewitt's light, sun-baked voice elegantly bends and twists around impeccable arrangements, while he pensively reflects on life's fractured, intimate moments. He's clearly grown as both a songwriter and an arranger since the release of his 1997 solo outing, In The Sun. The musician experiments with a variety of subtle textures throughout White Sky's nine songs, masterfully displaying his uncanny ability to erect complex pop forms that leave ample room for his uncluttered melodies to blossom. Regardless of whether he's blowing a somber harmonica, strumming a jangly guitar or caressing a soothing vocal melody, Prewitt always manages to propel his tunes to their creative peak."
-Glen Sansone

Archer Prewitt In the Sun CD
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Listen to In the Sun from In the Sun in Real Audio.
Listen to Good Man from In the Sun in Real Audio.

What the press said about Archer's solo debut - In The Sun:
In the Sun cover art
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[A record of] exquisite melancholy and parched charm...[Prewitt] is an individual of impeccable and idiosyncratic tastes, who has crafted an album that recalls the sorrow of Nick Drake and the intricacies of Felt; a man prone to sadness, but not to writing love songs; a musician who strolls through the outlying fields of Chicago, orchestrating trumpets in his head and pondering the meaning of it all. He writes songs of scuffed beauty and astonishing originality."--James Oldham, NME (read the full text of this review at NME)

"Incredibly intricate, thoughtful but not academic composition, and a lightness that flows throughout the album are what carry it to its subtly stunning success." Liz Clayton, CMJ Monthly

"Sometimes funky, sometimes sublime, this album by Prewitt and friends is a melodic rock fan's dream. The former Coctails/now Sea and Cake member proves good production in Chicago isn't limited to those named Albini." --Tower Pulse

"Prewitt is responsible for some of the most luminous pop around. He shows a knack for Burt Bacharach-style orchestration, utilizing a string section as well as horns, piano and organ. Although he's not the most expressive vocalist, his hangdog voice works well with his tales of codependency. Say, if I didn't know any better, Archer, I'd say this guy's in love with you."-Express

Links
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