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- Posted on Jun 1st 2010 4:00PM by Mike Ayers
Over the last year, Phosphorescent's profile has consistently elevated itself, most notably with last year's 'To Willie,' an ode to classic Willie Nelson tunes. The homage worked: Nelson invited Phosphorescent to Farm Aid last October, where the band joined the likes of Neil Young, Wilco, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews at St. Louis, Mo.'s Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. More recently, Houck logged time this spring as the opening act for David Gray, playing large theaters around the country.
Listeners will notice that the record starts off with a horn-infused, up-tempo country rock song called 'It's Hard to Be Humble (When You're From Alabama),' an ode to Houck's home state that he wrote while on tour in Switzerland. "There are bumper stickers and T-shirts that say 'it's hard to be humble when you're from X.' I'd written that song but I didn't really have that title until I saw that bumper sticker."
That said, more songs seem to be concerned with Los Angeles this time and not the Deep South. Case in point, 'The Mermaid Parade,' which features Houck ditching a plane ride to L.A. in favor of the oddities of New York. "When I was writing some of the songs, I was considering moving out there," he says. "I stayed there a little bit when I wasn't on tour. But in the end, New York just wins."
'Here's to Taking It Easy' marks a much fuller approach as far as arrangements go, especially when compared to the sparseness of 2007's 'Pride,' an album that was rich in naturalistic imagery. "On this one, I was playing with a more direct kind of writing, maybe not with metaphors quite as much," Houck says.
Phosphorescent is currently touring Europe and has recently announced a bevy of North American dates, starting July 8 at New York City's Pier 54. 'Here's To Taking It Easy' is out now on Dead Oceans.