The Birchmere presents...
1215 U Street NW
Washington, DC, 20009
Doors 6:30 PM
FIERCE MERCY is an epic, cinematic step forward from singer-songwriter Colin Hay, most beloved for his intimate, confessional live shows but most widely known for being an influential and celebrated frontman. The range of artists who have chosen to cite him as a muse or who have found themselves on stage with him in the past year spans the genre landscape from heavy metal, to Americana, to Cuban rhythms and beyond. His inclusion as a playlist favorite from the likes of Metallica to The Lumineers reflects his continuing relevance and broad appeal.
Recorded in both Los Angeles and Nashville and mixed by Vance Powell (Chris Stapleton, Jack White) and Gordon Hammond (Buddy Miller, Don Williams), FIERCE MERCY explores themes of love and loss, mortality, and even the odd UFO sighting, but always with the singular perspective and insightful wit that define Hay’s work. He has created a new classic in his impressive repertoire (this is his 13th solo release), using a palette of pop songcraft, Americana flourishes, and soundtrack-ready strings. FIERCE MERCY is animated by its pensive, honest, and impassioned lyrics, and, Hay adds, by a sense of urgency felt deeply in the song “The Last to Know,” which introduces the album’s title concept of “fierce mercy.”
“When you’re in your 20s, you think you’ve got all the time in the world,” Hay said. “You get older, and you go through a quickening. Everything seems to get faster.”
Using his gift for expressing struggle in a way that resonates with a wide variety of people, he compares this to the messages mankind is getting on a global level: “With the changing weather patterns, or the polar ice caps melting, we’re getting all of these warnings, and a lot of them are incredibly fierce. But they still feel somewhat merciful — they’re not destroying us totally. We’re all being told, ‘Listen, you can still maybe address this, and it won’t get to the point where I have to take you all out. You’ve still got a shot.’”
Ten of the album’s 13 stellar compositions were collaborations with Michael Georgiades, who contributed to Hay’s previous sets Next Year People (2015) Gathering Mercury (2011) and American Sunshine (2009). The pair co-wrote two of the album’s clear stand-outs, the pop vocal ballad “A Thousand Million Reasons” and the Americana leaning “Come Tumblin’ Down.” “Michael Georgiades is my secret weapon but I guess now with this album it’s not a secret anymore,” Hay jokes.
Some of the songs are deeply personal: “She Was the Love of Mine,” is an elegy for the singer’s mother, who died three years ago. Some are novelistic: “Frozen Fields of Snow” recounts the story of a war veteran returning to his childhood home after outliving the other members of his unhappy family. “Sometimes lyrical ideas will come into your head, so you follow them and see where they go,” Hay says.
Largely recorded in Topanga with Hay’s wife, Cecilia Noël and Hay’s regular accompanists — bassist Yosmel Montejo, drummer Charlie Paxson, keyboardists Fred Kron and Jeff Babko, and guitarist/tres player San Miguel Perez— FIERCE MERCY was completed in sessions at Compass Sound Studio in Nashville with Compass Records principal Garry West at the helm, who also contributed bass on a few cuts.
Hay says, “Garry is always trying to get me to Nashville to do some recording, to get me out of the comfort zone of my own studio — get me out of my lair! So I went to Nashville and we recorded the strings with a nine-piece section, and he introduced me to some players that he loves, who added another fantastic layer to the album.”
The Nashville players include guitarists Audley Freed (Sheryl Crow, the Black Crowes, the Dixie Chicks) and Doug Lancio (John Hiatt), pedal steel guitarist and organist Jim Hoke (Iris Dement, Don Henley, Darius Rucker) and Compass co-founder Alison Brown (banjo).
Though many music fans will be glad to see the end of 2016, it was something of a breakout year for this career artist that included a three-week run at the Edinburgh Fringe; performances on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and ABC’s Greatest Hits; sharing the stage with Of Monsters and Men, Milk Carton Kids, Choir Choir Choir!, Kings of Leon; being publicly cited as an influence by artists as distinct as James Hetfield of Metallica, Jeremiah Fraites of The Lumineers, Troy Sanders of Mastodon, and The Infamous Stringdusters; as well as the completion of a documentary film about his career entitled Waiting for My Real Life, named for one of his best known solo recordings. Now finding himself in the unprecedented place of having both ’80s fame and indie credibility, it’s possible that Hay has delivered the defining album of his solo career.
"Since the split of the Push Stars, one of Boston’s brightest pop bands of the past two decades, singer-songwriter Chris Trapper has developed into a prolific, captivating artist with a unique musical voice. His 10th solo record accentuates his unerring melodic instincts and thoughtful narrative skill. As the title suggests, the love songs here are postcards from the road, filled with yearning and devotion. The lyrics’ wounded soulfulness is grounded by the slightly weathered edge Trapper’s voice has acquired with age. The best songs (“Symphonies of Dirt & Dust”) are buoyed by his telling eye for details, wit, and subtly defined hooks." Ken Capobianco - The Boston Globe
CHRIS TRAPPER began his career as the front man for late-90’s alternative rock band THE PUSH STARS (Capitol Records). With four CD releases and several high profile national tours -- including a run with Matchbox Twenty -- The Push Stars served to establish Chris as an authentic talent.
As a singer /songwriter, Chris is most known for his original song THIS TIME, the #1 selling song on the Grammy nominated soundtrack for AUGUST RUSH (Robin Williams, Jonathan Rhys Meyers /Warner Bros Pictures). His music can best be described as lyrically driven roots-pop with a knack for telling everyday stories.
The New York Times has called his work “classic pop perfection.”
The new CD SYMPHONIES OF DIRT & DUST is a collection of 12 songs written and performed by Chris Trapper and Produced by Jason Meeker at Silver Top Studios, Boston, MA. Guest musicians include Dan McLoughlin of The Push Stars on bass and NYC singer/songwriter Amy Fairchild on harmonies.
"I have to mention Jason, the producer of Symphonies of Dirt & Dust. He is my old friend, who not only worked the clubs in rock bands but also worked for Geffen records in their heyday, so he has a good sense of the music business as a whole. What I love about Jason is that he is absolutely obsessed with his craft and getting songs right.
Every record tells a story. For me, much more than gimmicks, my albums are like diary entries, or truthful accounts of where I'm at in life. I suppose that might be the same for most songwriters, but in the spectrum of the music business, it's still an animal that's nearly extinct." Chris Trapper
Chris has toured North America and the UK with multi platinum songwriter COLIN HAY.
In the Spring of 2013 Chris performed a duet with his songwriting idol JOHN PRINE at the Portsmouth Songwriter Festival.
“It’s an incredibly rare musician, particularly in the world of popular music, who is able to forge a career based on quiet dignity and steadfast integrity.” The Buffalo News
A prolific songwriter, Chris can boast high profile film placements including There's Something About Mary (Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz), The Devil Wears Prada (Meryl Streep), Say It Isn’t So (Heather Graham) Gun Shy (Sandra Bullock, Liam Neeson) and most recently, Some Kind of Beautiful *Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek) as well as significant television placements including All My Children, Women's Murder Club, Malcolm In The Middle, a coveted placement in George Clooney's final episode of ER, the theme song for WB Networks dramedy Pepper Dennis and a cameo on-screen appearance with the show's star, Rebecca Romjin.
Chris has written 7 songs with/for Canadian band GREAT BIG SEA, including their #1 single "Sea Of No Cares" from the certified-platinum Sea Of No Cares CD. Great Big Sea covered Trapper's song "Everything Shines” and their version served as the debut single off their certified-gold Road Rage CD album. Chris’ songwriting collaborations with Great Big Sea earned him two prestigious SOCAN awards. Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty and Antigone Rising have performed other notable versions of Trapper's songs.
Trapper’s live show is a favorite among fans of alt–acoustic music. His on–stage persona is warm and inclusive, his organic understanding of classic pop melody, infectious. Audience members seem to particularly appreciate the lighthearted moments with the ukulele.
"His humble sense of humility is what makes Trapper’s songs so strong... He makes you feel like you are the person he’s singing about.” Popdose
Chris Trapper music can be purchased from iTunes or CDBaby
You can listen to the full Discography on Spotify
$45.00 - $59.50
Show starts at 8:00 PM