Andrew Victor’s new full-length Recovery finds the Pacific Northwest artist inscribing a new chapter in both his personal and creative lives. Coming home to the land of tall pines after seventeen years in New York and New England, the record is also a return to traditional songwriting following a series of ambient releases. Careful attention to negative space imbues the record with a sweet elegance, as Victor’s reverb-less falsetto dances a slow waltz under the late-summer stars. Spare and delicate, Recovery blushes bittersweet as it charts the finding of peace with the inevitability of change. It is Victor’s finest work in two decades of recording.
Today Victor has given listeners a sneak peek of Recovery, which is slated for release on November 4. Victor says on the album, “‘Recovery’ is a return to my folk roots in music and also a lifestyle. A nylon guitar, a short story, and a melody. There are a lot of ways to heal from trauma, for me I was fortunate to find it simply in nature. Change is constant in all arenas, and the world is obviously at a significant turning point. Being alone with nature, even for 20 minutes at a time, gave me enough peace and/or an answer to continue forth in everyday life and in my life’s work.”
Throughout his career, Victor has shared bills in the U.S. and Europe with Sharon Van Etten, Alela Diane, Marissa Nadler, Tomo Nakayama, and Damien Jurado. He has been a core part of local scenes in Brooklyn, Seattle, Joshua Tree, and Rhode Island. Settling in Rhode Island, he built a home studio and self-recording three ambient releases during the pandemic. The strain of isolation found Victor longing to collaborate with other creatives, and for a return to the sanctum of a proper recording studio. He purchased a nylon string guitar from a luthier in North Carolina and began to write.
Seeking space after a difficult divorce while the world began emerging from a pandemic, Victor wrote the songs that would become Recovery in rural North Carolina, small-town Washington, and coastal Rhode Island. The page turned when visiting family in Tacoma, Washington. “I heard an artist named Elena Loper on the radio,” explains Victor, “and knew I wanted to record wherever that was tracked.” Soon enough Victor found himself, along with a few old friends from Seattle, settling into Johnny Bregar’s Brickyard Studio on Bainbridge Island. In addition to Bregar (Lydia Ramsey) producing and playing bass, piano, and drums, the record features performances by Grant Burton (electric guitars) and Anthony Disparte (drums).
Thematically, Recovery serves as a reminder that even after the shared cultural turmoil of the last few years, we can find hope in the world if we take a moment to see it. “Listening to this record, I want folks to feel as though they walked out from a dinner party into a huge backyard, just manicured enough,” says Victor. “They remember a few moments that have happened in the past few years. They forget. They smell the lavender, the pine. They are able to see a few stars. They take the last sip of wine and return to their friends.”
Some moments stick with us forever, and some fade as stars at dawn. In between, we write our own stories, and Recovery is a ringing reminder that the time has arrived to heal.
Photo Courtesy: Anthony Disparte