Two years after the highly acclaimed To Find Me Gone, Andy Cabic and Vetiver return with a new album of old songs, all hidden treasures, entitled Thing of the Past. Think of it as Cabic's fully realized mix tape to the world--a collection of some of his favorite songs from some of his favorite records--but presented, sequenced, and in this case performed by Cabic himself, with a little help from his friends far and wide.
Produced by Thom Monahan and Cabic, Thing Of The Past was recorded in 2007 in Sacramento and Los Angeles. The basic tracks were done live in the studio, with the resultant record clearly showcasing a tight-knit band of hugely talented musicians. As witnesses to their live shows over the past year will attest, this is a group in full mastery of their craft--fluid yet fully aligned, intuitively opening out or reigning in their power as the mood dictates. Featuring core Vetiver members Cabic (vocals/guitar/banjo), Brent Dunn (bass), Sanders Trippe (guitar/vocals), Otto Hauser (drums/keyboards) and Kevin Barker (guitar/banjo/vocals), the album includes contributions from two of Cabic's heroes, Vashti Bunyan (who duets on "Sleep A Million Years") and Michael Hurley (who does likewise on his own "Blue Driver"). Other players include "Farmer" Dave Scher (keyboard/pedal steel/melodica), Jason Quever (piano/keyboard), Ben Kunin (sarod), Jonathan Wilson (acoustic guitar), Emma Smith (violin), and vocalists Meara O'Reilly and Abigail and Lily Chapin.
From good-time rocking on Hawkwind's "Hurry On Sundown" and Loudon Wainwright III's "The Swimming Song" to the beautiful triptych of songs that runs from Biff Rose's "To Baby" through Ian Matthews' "Road To Ronderlin" and Garland Jeffreys' "Lon Chaney," this is a diverse and harmonious collection of songs. With the album so centered around the lasting resonance of the song, the focus inevitably falls upon Cabic's warm, honey-toned vocals, which are perfectly suited to the material he's gathered. Rather than obvious plundering from the well-worn rock cannon, these are largely overlooked and forgotten tunes (spanning a period from 1967-1973, and mostly by US songwriters), dusted off, reverently refashioned, and given the opportunity to sing again. Though a few of the artists covered are well-known, many are not, and in selecting and performing these songs, Vetiver have appended enduring versions very much their own. As Cabic comments, "I think this is the best album I've yet to make, in no small part because the songs are so good, but also because I didn't write them, which offered me a useful combination of restraint and freedom in performing them, bringing out the best in myself and the other musicians. It was an experiment, and it was one of the best experiences I've yet to have recording anything."
Vetiver is the long running stage and recording name of San Francisco's Andy Cabic. Vetiver craft nuanced, understated songs
that reward careful listening, building a rich duality; a space where sunshine is only a chord away from melancholy, an introspective lyric underlies an extroverted chorus and subtlety tries to be outgoing in an effort to connect the dots of life’s ellipsis....more