“Ancient Melody,” the debut album of Past & The Present, will be released June 13th, 2019, coinciding with the group’s live performance at the renowned Volume One Sounds Like Summer concert series in Eau Claire’s Phoenix Park.
Recorded at Pine Hollow and co-produced by the band and Evan Middlesworth (The National), this new collaboration between four veteran musicians - each with an independent professional history and previous recordings - is creating buzz in the Eau Claire music scene.
The CD’s poignant and evocative single, “Just To be With You,” is featured in a live music video on NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest website, having been filmed under the auspices of Converge Radio 99.9 FM for submission by the station.
The album engenders a retro 60s/70s feel, highlighted by lush synthesizer from Eric C. Thompson and melodic bass by Chris Andresen; the haunting vocals of Anastasia Vishnevsky complement the vibrant acoustic guitar and lead vocals of Larry Past.
Pre-release reviewers have called the overall effect “mesmerizing” and “atmospheric."
In early 2019, Past (Tequila Mockingbird; Larry Past and Al Julson; LP3) founded Past & The Present, joining forces with Andresen and Thompson (Kids with Boats; Manifest; The Unlikely Event), and Vishnevsky (Manifest; RavenWolf).
Guest Dave Power (The Staves; Adelyn Rose) joined the band in the studio, contributing his talents on drums. Evan Middlesworth and Justin Andersen engineered the nine tracks, which range from sweet acoustic ballads to highly-effected genre-transmuting sounds unique to the group.
Appealing to audiences of wide-ranging ages, Past & The Present performs a diverse mix of covers, as well as extensive original music inspired by classic rock and current alt/folk. The group crafts an incandescent, slightly psychedelic blend of catchy pop melodies and moody, modernized torch songs.
Past & The Present has an active regional performance calendar, with 36 dates currently scheduled this season. In live performances, Past’s mellow vocals and sparkling guitar take center stage; Andresen contributes lyrical bass and vocals, while Thompson adds layered interest with synthesizer, along with unique percussion accents (ranging from djembe to bells) and backing vocals. Vishnevsky augments the band’s arrangements with subtle electric guitar and vocals.
“Ancient Melody” is a collection of songs written over many years. Most center on the theme of love. “Just To Be With You” and “Taken Over” speak to the sometimes perverse power of love. “Jennifer” is about unrequited love. “Mary Sue” and “Stolen Moments” each express love taken for granted and lost. “Calling” is about love defining a purpose, as well as providing refuge in an ever-changing and not always pleasant world. “Hold On” is a love song written for my wife, Marie, early in our relationship.
Although I seem to have written more than a few love songs, they’re not typically my preferred style in terms of subject matter. My favorite song on the CD is the title track, “Ancient Melody,” which was written during the Gulf War, and which laments mankind’s tendency to repeat history - a trait which seems to be programmed into our being.
On the lighter side, “It’s Only Tuesday” is a quirky spoof about the inclination some of us have for putting things off and procrastinating.
I am really pleased with the overall sound of this recording. It seemed as if some magic took place in the studio - particularly on “Just To Be With You,” with the help of Evan Middlesworth’s engineering, production, and added electric guitar, as well as with the additional synth contributions from Chris and Eric. The song seemed to acquire a life of its own, and that set the tone for the final mix achieved by Justin Andersen.
Although these songs represent a combination of styles, I think that a distinctive soundscape was created, with results appropriate to each song’s subject and spirit, yet which still maintain a cohesive quality for the project as a whole.
Past & The Present actually came together initially for the recording of this project; the band has really gelled in live performance in the time since. We are looking forward to continuing to play, write, and record together - Past & The Present, into the future.
~ Larry Past
Past & The Present would like to thank: Marie Past, Duane Kebschull, Converge Radio 99.9 FM, Stones Throw, Volume One, and our families and friends for their ongoing support.
This recording of “Calling” is dedicated to the memory of Staci Hotujec.
Recorded January-March, 2019 at Pine Hollow, Eau Claire, WI
Produced by Past & The Present and Evan Middlesworth
Engineered by Evan Middlesworth and Justin Andersen
Mixed and mastered by Justin Andersen
Drums by Dave Power
Electric guitar on “Just To Be With You” by Evan Middlesworth
Electric guitar on “Ancient Melody” by Eric C. Thompson
Past & The Present is:
Eric C. Thompson
Cover Artwork by Marie Past
Graphic Design by Kathy O’Leary
All songs written by Larry Past
LPMUSIC ASCAP All rights reserved
©2019 Larry Past Music