LONG-AWAITED FOLLOW UP TO SONGS FOR SILVERMAN FEATURES RAUCOUS TRACKS, TRADEMARK HUMOR
Ben Folds At PianoEpic Records is proud to announce the release of the much-anticipated new album from Ben Folds, WAY TO NORMAL, on September 30, 2008. The album, Folds' third as a solo artist since the break up of the Ben Folds Five in 2000, was mostly recorded at his studio in Nashville and produced by Dennis Herring (Elvis Costello, Modest Mouse, The Hives). Featuring Folds on vocals and piano, Way to Normal also features long-time bassist Jared Reynolds and drummer Sam Smith as well as a guest vocal from indie pop heroine Regina Spektor on the album's first single, "You Don't Know Me."
Way to Normal is an exuberant, raucous, and sometimes profane mix of sure-fire crowd-pleasers ("Hiroshima," "Bitch Went Nuts," and the frenetically fuzzed-out "Dr. Yang"), cheerful snark-fests ("The Frown Song," "Brainwascht"), and thoughtful, moving ballads ("Cologne," "Kylie From Connecticut") that Folds wrote at the end of 2007 following the finalization of a two-year divorce.
But it should not be assumed that Way to Normal is Folds' version of Marvin Gaye's Here My Dear or Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks (though Folds says that in the early stages of recording he came close to calling the album "Blood on the Keyboard").
"The songs are not topical," Folds says. "I was not interested in making a record about the D-word. I got all that stuff out of my system on the last record [2005's pensive Songs for Silverman], which was deliberately stoic. This new album is really about me being free, which is why it feels cathartic and expressive. It's about me coming back to being myself." (Hence the title.) "I came out of the courthouse, kissed the ground, and walked straight into the studio. I felt like a bottle of champagne that had been shaken for 18 months and popped open in the studio. That's why this record has so much energy."
Folds has been going pretty much non-stop since the 2001 release of his debut solo album Rockin' the Suburbs. In short order, Folds has released a live album (2002's aptly titled Ben Folds Live) and a pioneering series of three Internet-only digital EPs: Speed Graphic, Sunny 16, and Super D in 2003-2004; co-wrote and produced William Shatner's 2004 solo album Has Been; released Songs for Silverman (which featured the Adult Top 40 hit "Landed"); contributed three original songs to the soundtrack for the 2006 film Over the Hedge; and produced a forthcoming solo album by Dresden Dolls frontwoman Amanda Palmer.
In 2006, Folds released Supersunnyspeedgraphic, The LP - a compilation of tracks from the Internet-only EP's and B-sides, including an inspired cover of Dr. Dre's "Bitches Ain't Shit." Along the way, there have been numerous tours, including a few with The Bens, a "supergroup" Folds formed with fellow singer-songwriters Ben Kweller and Ben Lee in 2003, as well tours with Rufus Wainwright and Guster in 2004, The Fray in 2005, and John Mayer in 2007. A classically trained percussionist whose musical chops could not be denied, Ben Folds also performs with orchestras, including a stint with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in Perth, which led to his DVD Ben Folds and WASO: Live at Perth as well as Baltimore, Boston Pops for their season opener in 2007 and a stint of residencies with all five major Australian symphonies in 2006: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide which set a number of ticket sales records for the esteemed Australian orchestras. In 2008, Folds will perform with the Nashville Symphony, opening their 2008-2009 season (September 7, 2008) and will also perform with the local symphonies in Philadelphia, Ft. Wayne, IN, and Louisville, KY.
Ben Folds has been performing at many summer festivals this year, and will continue to tour worldwide in support of Way To Normal throughout the fall and into 2009.