Exclusive Premiere: More Than Skies, ‘More Than Skies’
On March 24, Long Island’s Adam James -- under the moniker More Than Skies -- is celebrating the release of his brand new double-LP, More Than Skies. Packed with 24 tracks, the record delves into various sounds and atmospheres, all while staying rooted in James’ foundation of emotional and personal folk rock. Today (March 16), Diffuser is thrilled to debut the massive release in its entirety -- you can stream it in the audio player below.
"A little over a year ago when I told friends and family that I was going to record a double album, some looked at me like I had finally gone off the deep end. The truth is ... I already had, and the only way I foresaw getting back to steadier footing was to relinquish this enormous burden that's been on my heart for about eight years," James explains about More Than Skies. "I didn't just wake up and decide that I was going to do it. Rather, it snowballed over time, leading me here after losing what I considered to be my first true love."
He admits that might sound melodramatic, but says "it's nearly impossible to gauge how a particularly disappointing outcome will affect a person in the long run."
How did that affect this new album? "The songs kept coming, and I wrote fervently, as if eventually one of them would grant me a better understanding of it all," he says.
Much like his music, James' explanation of the album is prolific and heartfelt, impossible to confine in just one or two sentences. So, the singer-songwriter wrote us a letter about More Than Skies. You can read it below:
Although this all started out as a mere acoustic side project to provide homes for songs that didn't quite fit the mold of my other band of brothers, Sleep Bellum Sonno, it has since developed into a direct extension of myself. Fortunately, I stumbled into some likeminded musicians who have grown to become some of my dearest friends. I have had the pleasure of regularly playing and writing alongside David Saul, Chris Polzella, Darrell Cheng, Mike Rosner, Cody Paulsen, Emily Lazio and Matt Molesso. I owe them everything for believing in me.
So, what took so long? Life can be unpredictable, and things took a turn within another project a few of us shared called Wake Up O Sleeper. When that "disbanded,” I kind of just took the songs I accrued (which at this point had been structured enough to form a first draft of the 24 song tracklisting) and put them into hibernation. We wrote new songs, recorded some demos, and eventually released 'The Liar, The Puppet, The Fox' (2011) and 'I Am Only Above the Ground' (2012). Artwork and photography were handled by the talented Jeff Ramirez and Dawn Marie West. Now, while I was happy with what had come to fruition, I couldn't help but notice this nagging feeling inside of me. After some time, the rest of the band and I slowly parted ways, and I was right back where I started, just a guy with a guitar. It was time to face the demons I had locked up.
I spent two years in an incredibly talented band called the Vigilance Committee who are releasing an album called 'Exit a Hero' next month. If I hadn't taken the plunge with them, I don't think this double album would have ever become a reality. Through them I met Phil Corso who recorded drums for the entire effort, rather effortlessly I should add. Thus began the long arduous process of self recording another album. We tracked the drums in my grandparents' home while they were away. I handled the guitar, bass, piano and wacky instruments on the album, while Derek Smith from Rice Cultivation Society tracked some lead guitar, Darrell Cheng provided lap steel, Emily Lazio sang her heart out and Chris Polzella handled percussion duties, all in my meager basement studio, with the exception of piano/strings that were recorded in the church next door to my house. The icing on the cake, however, is the strings. They came from the unparalleled abilities of Jiliane Russo, who also plays in a band called Nest + Rest. She arranged all the strings and performed cello. Additionally, I was very thankful to have Dylan Ebrahimian of Gabriel the Marine on-board for violin as well. Phil Corso and I drove down to Smithfield, Va. to shoot the album art ourselves, while Marcus Nuccio of the Please and Thank-You's and Pet Symmetry handled all of the beautiful design work. As with our last couple of efforts, Bradley Cordaro of Sainthood Reps, brilliantly mixed this album. Dan Coutant at Sun Room Audio mastered it with a very careful pair of ears.
So there you have it, my heart on my sleeve, as well as all the blood and guts I've been able to muster up so far. I humbly thank everybody in advance for taking the time to listen, and Diffuser for giving me this opportunity. I'll be seeing you all soon!
More Than Skies hits the streets on March 24, and you can pre-order a very limited edition pink cassette tape (with full digital download) at the band's Bandcamp. James also has a handful of shows scheduled this spring; you can find his full itinerary -- and stay up-to-date with everything happening in the world of More Than Skies -- at his official website.