Premiering a new track that’s a blend of soulful, driving tunes with tinges of Southern influence, the Brooklyn group Alberta Cross; “Western State” evokes an image of cruising on a highway after a long nine-to-five, dreaming of the open air.
On their third album, Alberta Cross has gone the self-titled route. According to the band’s sole member, Petter Ericson Stakee, that’s because the nature of the album is much more intrinsic than before, as showcased by “Western State.”
“I wrote the song about the instability of life; about working in the grind and the struggle of trying to get by in society itself,” Stakee says. “I feel that pretty much on a daily basis as a musician; however, I actually wrote the song about a character working a 9-7 cubicle job (the average working soul if you will). Even though that might sound like a safer route, sometimes it might not be.”
The result of that process is a sweeping cascade of instruments and melodies that all seem to flow intuitively with each other. Recording in a church in a place called Dreamland, Stakee found new ways to experiment with different instruments and arrangements for every track.
“On this record, we have all these new colors,” Stakee says. “It felt pretty amazing. I wanted those late night jams to inspire the record. It was very loose, not a lot of structure. I wanted to keep that vibe—the looseness and the soul. Mandolin, violin, French horn, flugelhorn, trumpet—we put those on a lot of tracks. That was a new thing for me and very inspiring. This record seems so … pure to me.”
The record brings to mind elements of Neil Young and My Morning Jacket, merging rock with tinges of country, folk and blues. A giant melting pot of different influences, genres and arrangements, Stakee still keeps it personal and honest.
“This is soulful, untouched music coming purely from the artist,” he says. “They can love it or hate it, but at least they can’t complain that I’ve been changed by anyone. This is what I want to do. I made my record. No one told me to make it this way. I’m 100 percent responsible for it. Take it or leave it. But, I love you for listening to it.”
If you want to hear more of Stakee and Alberta Cross, you can pick up their third album Alberta Cross on Oct. 16, 2015.