Painkillers Brian Fallon
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- 1A Wonderful Life03:11
- 3Among Other Foolish Things03:00
- 5Steve McQueen03:22
- 6Nobody Wins02:48
- 8Red Lights03:37
- 9Long Drives03:35
- 10Honey Magnolia03:29
- 11Mojo Hand03:30
- 12Open All Night03:37
Info for Painkillers
Bursting at its seams with huge hooks, big choruses, and enormous heart, PAINKILLERS marks the first solo album from Brian Fallon, known far and wide as singer/guitarist of the Gaslight Anthem, as well as such acclaimed outfits as The Horrible Crowes and Molly & The Zombies. Produced by studio superstar Butch Walker (Taylor Swift, Frank Turner, Keith Urban), richly textured songs like “Long Drives” and the addictive title track encompass the great rush and flow of American music, fusing sonic hits of heartland country and folk with hardcore punk energy and classic rock ‘n’ roll swagger. PAINKILLERS once again affirms the NJ-based rocker’s elemental gifts as a songwriter and storyteller, booming with insistent imagery, narrative craft, and the extraordinary emotional acuity that has informed his music since the very start.
“I’ve had this sound kicking around in my head for so long,” says Fallon, “but it took maturity to get it out.”
Fallon decided to begin work on PAINKILLERS immediately following the announcement of The Gaslight Anthem’s indefinite hiatus. Though his prior extracurricular projects were made under alternate band monikers, a dear friend suggested that this time perhaps he might think otherwise.
“She said I was limiting myself,” Fallon says. “’If you make a Horrible Crowes record, then you’ve got to make Horrible Crowes music. You have to float within those guidelines. But if you use your own name you can make any record, you can change throughout your career, work with different musicians, be whatever you want to be and then wrap it all together.’ That’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten.”
Solo or otherwise, Fallon knew he couldn’t make his record all alone. He considered a number of potential collaborators but again and again, Butch Walker’s name kept coming up as an ideal match. A meeting was arranged and the two musicians hit it off from the jump, tracking four demos in three days, including fleshed out versions of “Painkillers” and “Nobody Wins.”
“It was just like fast friends,” Fallon says. “All the sounds fell into place. There wasn’t any searching – it was all right there. We had a blueprint from the records we grew up on.”
Fallon set to work in September, spending three weeks at Nashville’s Taxidermy Studios backed by a crack outfit featuring Walker, Molly & The Zombies bassist Catherine Popper (Jack White, Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, Willie Nelson), and drummer Mark Stepro (Hayes Carll, Ben Kweller, Jackson Browne). Freed from any brand, Fallon felt more comfortable and confident than ever before, unrestrained and able to fully articulate himself in the studio.
“I felt like I was doing exactly what I should be doing, at exactly the moment I should be doing it,” he says. “There was a very nice feeling, like, you’ve been working towards this record your whole career and here you are getting to do it.
Fallon had spent much of the past decade pushing himself in different directions, challenging himself as a songwriter by trying on various guises and techniques. This being his solo debut, he decided to return to his initial path, cutting through the craft to simply write “couch songs” on his trusty acoustic guitar.
A singer and songwriter whose music fuses the urgency of punk rock with the passion and songcraft of heartland rock, Brian Fallon rose to fame as the leader of the band the Gaslight Anthem before moving on to a solo career. Brian Fallon was born in Red Bank, New Jersey on January 28, 1980. Fallon's mother had been a professional musician, performing with a folk group, but Brian's early musical efforts were as strongly informed by punk and alternative rock. Under the name No Release, Fallon recorded his first album in 1997, a 16-song cassette-only released titled The Coffeehouse Sessions. Not long after, Fallon joined a ska-punk band called Surrogate McKenzie, who dropped four self-released cassettes between 1998 and 2000. In 2001, Fallon launched a new band, the short-lived Amping Copper, who released a self-titled six-song EP before fading out. After producing a solo EP, Cincinnati Rail Tie, in 2004, Fallon founded a new group, This Charming Man, with Fallon on vocals and guitar along with Michael Volpe (lead guitar), Chris Clementi (bass), and Mike Leboeuf (drums). This lineup cut an EP, Every Little Secret, that was released in 2005, but the band soon began to splinter, and Clementi and Leboeuf left the group late that year, with bassist Alex Levine and drummer Benny Horowitz taking their places. When Volpe left This Charming Man in early 2006, guitarist Alex Rosamilia came aboard, and the group changed its name to the Gaslight Anthem. In May 2007, the Gaslight Anthem released their first album, Sink or Swim, and the group quickly developed an underground following that gave way to mainstream acceptance with the release of 2008's The '59 Sound. Bruce Springsteen, whose music was a major influence on the Gaslight Anthem, not only gave the band a spot on the bill at his 2009 Hyde Park concert in London, but at the Glastonbury Festival later the same year, Springsteen joined the Gaslight Anthem during their set and he brought Fallon onstage to join him for part of his headlining performance. In 2010, the Gaslight Anthem released their third album, American Slang, and the following year Fallon launched a side project, the Horrible Crowes, featuring himself and guitarist Ian Perkins, who worked as a guitar tech with the Gaslight Anthem; the first Horrible Crowes album, Elsie, arrived in September 2011. With 2012's Handwritten, the Gaslight Anthem rose to major-label status, signing a deal with Mercury Records, though a corporate reorganization would move the group to Island Records for 2014's Get Hurt, a song cycle informed by Fallon's divorce. During the downtime between the two albums, Fallon teamed up with guitarist and singer Brian McGee, bassist Catherine Popper, and drummer Randy Schrager for another side project, Molly and the Zombies; Fallon has said they intend to release no studio material, though the band made several live tracks available online. In July 2015, after the Gaslight Anthem completed a tour of Europe, the bandmembers issued a statement declaring they were on indefinite hiatus, and three months later, Fallon announced he would soon be entering the studio to record a solo album. "A Wonderful Life," the first single from Fallon's solo project, was unveiled in December 2015, and the full-length album, Painkillers, dropped in March 2016. (Mark Deming, AMG)
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