Having spent much of his life in a supporting role for various musicians as a harmony singer and upright bass player, Alec Lytle began his solo music career at the urging of fellow musicians who convinced him that his personal songs deserved to be heard by an audience. Since then, he has played his nuanced acoustic music in clubs and bars from Los Angeles to San Francisco, in cafes in Thailand, public squares in Brazil and on any field or mountaintop where he can tell his stories to a few empathetic listeners or simply the wide open spaces… often with just his intimate voice, heartbreaking words, and the sound of his little Martin guitar.
Lytle also performs his music live with an ever-changing group of musicians known as Alec Lytle & Them Rounders featuring upright bass, mandolin, pedal steel guitar, percussion, and harmony vocals. Now, with his debut album The End of Ours due out this fall, his aim is to take listeners for an experience that can remind them of a simpler and calmer time. Americana influenced music that he strives to fill with a sense of place… the tall pines, rolling hills, and blankets of enveloping coastal fog that define his home, the rural coastal mountains of Northern California.
Lytle wrote most of the songs for The End of Ours over the four years he lived in a yurt he built in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Most nights were spent alone with the Pacific coastal fog collecting in the redwood trees overhead, dripping onto the canvas roof… Lytle often says that the tent structure was a great place to think and to write.
New Album "The End of Ours"
The End of Ours is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, CD and special edition 180-gram vinyl. Produced by Tony Berg (Michael Penn, Josh Radin, Blake Mills) and engineered/mixed by the legendary Bob Clearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie), the album features nine original songs and two covers including The Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place.”
Using the delicate interplay of his warm voice and acoustic instrumentation, Lytle’s original music harkens back to the 60’s and 70’s folk music his parents played while he was growing up in California’s Central Valley, with singable melodies, three-part vocal harmony and the honesty of acoustic instruments.
The End of Ours is also steeped in complicated emotion. During the recording of the album, Lytle’s mother passed and only months later, his first child was born. In Lytle’s debut, the songwriter has compiled a series of songs that document loss. From the end of relationships to the deaths of loved ones, Lytle angularly references some very sad events in his own life.
In the opening track “North, CA,” he gives the listener a snapshot of the golden rolling hills and long stretches of road that make up the last glimpse of life for a woman traveling north to California.
In “Train Long Gone” Lytle’s travis picked guitar sets a lonely backdrop of quietness to the heartbreaking resignation of a love that has ended. He then uses the inspiration of the Pacific Coast storms that spill over his mountain home to tell the story of washing away the wrongs of past lives in “Rain”… where swelling chords of pedal steel player Greg Leisz feel like the gathering clouds that then crash down with a cleansing torrent of drums, dobro and soaring harmonies by Lytle and Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith to wash away all sins.
A lonely and distant sound begins the song “Underground” where Lytle sings in hushed tones of unsuccessfully looking for a place where he and his father (who passed away years ago), can find each other again… only to collapse in a crash of emotion at the end, driven by powerful drums and bass along with the plaintive fiddle cry of The Punch Brother’s Gabe Witcher.
The End of Ours features a veritable who’s who of musicians making up “Alec Lytle & Them Rounders” including:
Alec Lytle - Lead Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
Val McCallum (Josh Radin, Lucinda Williams, Jackson Brown) - Acoustic Guitar
Greg Leisz (Beck, Wilco, Ray LaMontagne) - Pedal Steel, Lap Steel and Dobro
Matt Chamberlain (Fiona Apple, John Mayer, Nickel Creek) - Drums
Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing, Fiona Apple) - Bass
Patrick Warren (Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, Ray LaMontagne) - Pianos and Organs
Gabe Witcher (The Punch Brothers) - Fiddle
Dan Newitt - Mandolin and Harmony Vocals
Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes) and Z Berg (The Like, JJAMZ), Korey Dane, Jacob Snider - Harmony Vocals
Alec Lytle continues to tour through the western US and in select east coast cities both solo and as Alec Lytle & Them Rounders. Dates will also include a tour of Brazil in 2017.