Only two dates into his Fall tour, singer-composer Duncan Sheik stopped by the Paste office to preview a few tracks off his upcoming album, Whisper House, due in late Jan. 2009. The songs, which were written by Sheik and librettist Kyle Jarrow, are the musical quotient for the Keith Powell-directed (that's 30 Rock's Toofer to you) production about a boy who comes to live with his aunt in a lighthouse in New England after his father dies in WWII, only to find that there are ghosts and spies around as well.
Sheik played three selections from Whisper House on acoustic guitar, cramming five other players onto Paste's small stage to provide backing with bass clarinet, french horn, cello, electric guitar and female vocals. The first song, "Solomon Snell," Sheik described as a cautionary tale told to the protagonist by the ghosts. "Earthbound, Starlight" was a "whimsically malevolent" ballad telling the boy "that death is a part of life" and will serve as a prequel to the rest of the Whisper House story. Sheik played it on 12-string guitar with french horn echoing the melody. Lastly was the closing number for both play and the album, "Take a Bow," an uptempo, self-aware number that featured jaunty horn calls and the refrain "we won't say anything / we are ghosts / we just sing!"
Despite a few mulligans—and (sadly, for our web editor's high school version of himself) not playing "Barely Breathing"—Sheik's performance was a pleasure for Paste. Check back for the video soon!