In the hills of East Alabama, Willem Maker spent more than a decade honing his songwriting skills in virtual secrecy, but in 2007, he finally released Stars Fell On, a rock record of a debut which was recorded and mixed entirely at his own Foxhole studio on Turkey Heaven Mountain. Originally released by Makerworks, the disc was reissued by Big Legal Mess (Fat Possum) in 2008, in anticipation of a new full-length for the label entitled New Moon Hand.
The sessions for this sophomore effort pushed Maker far from the idyllic comforts of his secluded home studio, with adventurous collaborations taking place in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee. Along with four solo tracks from the infamous Foxhole, two were done with Mark Nevers at the Beech House, featuring members of Lambchop and Silver Jews, and six at Electraphonic Recording with co-producer Scott Bomar and a band that included Cedric Burnside, Jim Dickinson and Alvin Youngblood Hart. New Moon Hand was released in 2009, resulting in Maker’s first extensive US tour and a kind New York Times nod in their yearly best-of lists.
For his third
long-player, Agapao, released in 2011 as a lovely
Makerworks limited edition
CD, Willem played and recorded everything himself at the Foxhole,
but this is no simple, solo, lo-fi folksinger effort. Besides
being at times a heavily layered and orchestrated affair, the
record rocks in its own weird way when in the mood to do so, and
with mixing by Mark Nevers, mastering by Sarah Register and
artwork by Christoph Mueller, the result is a beautiful,
collectible disc of over an hour’s worth of music, completing
Maker’s debut trilogy with what could be considered his most
accomplished, optimistic and uplifting work to date!
THE EARTH IS ALL THAT LASTS
TEIATL was originally entitled Ain’t Dead Yet and envisioned as a stark acoustic EP in honor of Skip James and his infamously haunting cross-note tuning. Thus, Maker began the initial recordings with live acoustic guitar and vocals and no click track, intending to flesh things out with minimal, atmospheric overdubs and no percussion. Pleased with the live takes but ever dissatisfied with the attempts at overdubs, the second stop-and-start-again factor that slowed his progress was how to present the material, if at all. Thanks to the Malian djembe featured on Agapao, loads of full-on overdubs, some monstrous Ludwigs borrowed from a friend and a touch of digital studio wizardry to shore things up, something completely unexpected happened.
While TEIATL continues where Agapao left off as a one-man band affair, recorded by Maker entirely at the Foxhole and once again featuring mixing by Mark Nevers, mastering by Sarah Register and artwork by Christoph Mueller, the new release is a significant step forward sonically, and it’s a much more concise listening experience – unlike the sprawling Agapao, this album is designed to fit snugly on one slab of vinyl. TEIATL was released digitally on May 15, 2015, but Maker is still searching for another label to reissue it and Agapao on vinyl, if only in deluxe limited editions. Once again, thank you all for listening, hope all is well and please continue to spread the word!