This post isn't well-suited to social media, so I thank you in advance for bearing with me. This image is the artwork for Fresh Lies, Vol. I. It's 10 tracks long and I will release it on April 27. I'm excited to share it with you. I'm writing this post because I want to take a minute to explain what Fresh Lies is, because it's a little unusual.
Initially, I'd planned to release it as an album, but as time wore on, I realized that it's actually a much bigger project than that. For me, an album is a statement; its terms and scope are defined. Fresh Lies isn't an album; it's a song cycle -- it's a large collection of songs that are connected by a thematic and conceptual approach. The concept that joins them is that they are all love songs that use romantic interplay as a metaphor to explore my relationship, as a black man especially, with my country.
Themes of nationhood and identity and alienation are ones that I'll need decades to explore personally, let alone artistically -- I'm hardly equipped to make an album-sized statement about them right now. I want a place to work with those ideas, but I also want the freedom to put them down, imperfect and incomplete, to go chase other concepts.
That's why I decided to commit to making Fresh Lies a career-long work that I will expand for years to come. I plan to release one volume in the song cycle for each generation that has passed since my earliest ancestors were brought to this continent. Befitting the themes, I don't actually know what that number is, because genealogies for enslaved people can be very hard to reconstruct. That is a project that I'll be working on alongside the musical one.
As for the role of the audience in this project, I want to make a firm and ongoing connection with everyone who helps support me in making this art. To that end, anyone who purchases a copy of Fresh Lies, Vol. I on vinyl will receive free digital copies of every Fresh Lies song I make for the rest of my life (of course, I'll adjust the format as technologies evolve).
If you're interested in being a part of this ongoing story, I hope you'll consider preordering -- having funds now makes the upfront costs of buying hundreds of CDs, t-shirts, and vinyl records less burdensome. As a thank you to anyone who preorders between now and February 1, I'll be holding a special event after my free show at the South Congress Hotel that night. I'm going to bring my studio rig to a private lounge and have a listening party where I play the recordings on the system I used to make them and answer audience questions. Anyone who preorders before then will get access to a live video stream of the event. If you're in Austin and you're among the first to preorder vinyl or a bundle, you'll get 2 tickets to attend the event in person.
Thank you so much for your time and for your support of me as an artist. I don't take it for granted at all -- I feel I owe it to you to try big, ambitious things. Hopefully, we'll get there together.