Alex Berger

Unpacking the Grahams’ Mesmerizing Reimagined Record

Classic, but not aged, The Grahams have revitalized fan favorites and deep cuts from their catalog to celebrate not only themselves, but the music that has made them who they are today.

When an early streaming link came in my inbox for The Grahams, I jumped. New music from veteran musicians and Nashvillians-by-way-of-Jersey? I was ready, prepared, riveted. What was discovered was this: a record reeking in nostalgic anecdotes but seeped in modernity. It’s a win-win, really – longtime fans can dissect the revisited, redone tracks on this self-titled LP and new fans can use this as the gateway to an Americana catalog worth taking your time for. The duo, Doug and Alyssa, are kindred spirits. Their music is a reflection of the love they have and the lives they continue to lead. Summarizing that alongside their singer-songwriter harmonies is what The Grahams, out this Friday, is all about. Throughout the listening experience, and while reading our track-by-track conversation, you will find a beautiful, revitalized, familial recap and rootsy, energy-filled reflection. One could not help but jump on the chance to take a listen and then ask the musical couple about how these songs and this project came to be.

Running Out Of Time. 

“To be perfectly honest there wasn’t a lot to be done to this track. The original is exactly how we imagined it and between Richard Swift and Dan Molad’s production it was a stand out track on ‘Kids Like Us.’ However, when reimagining this song we couldn’t help but think of classics done by Otis Redding and The Righteous Brothers. There was a sense of drama that the original lacked and so we wanted to keep the integrity of the song, not change it too much but bring out some of the classic drama that it missed the first time around. The Lucius vocals really give it suspense and beauty beyond compare. The song now feels timeless and more romantic, I think.”

A Good Man

 “‘A Good Man’ was never a question for this project. I think people love it because it’s so honest. The reimagining plays up that naked honesty with a fresh layer of tenderness and playfulness – and less of its old twang.”

Painted Desert

“The new recording feels more rock and roll and less produced, channeling the lush, psychedelic backdrop of its Route 66 muse. This song has its own magic built in so this time we just rocked it a little more and analyzed it a little less.”

The Wild One

“’The Wild One’ is part biographical, part fiction, and part mantra – ‘Never let your heart grow old, never let your love grow cold. Don’t believe the lies they tell you, don’t you know they’ll buy and sell you.’ The original version served its purpose and was often our opening song at concerts to remind ourselves of what we’ve lived and what’s important. However, it also became somewhat of a caricature of itself adding drama to drama both musically and lyrically. When reimagining this song we wanted to focus on the lessons in a more light hearted and fun sonic arrangement and steer clear of the overdramatized story; after all, it’s just music and if we’ve learned anything over the past three decades together it’s to never let our hearts grow old and never let our love grow cold.” 

Lay Me Down (Featuring Lucius)

“After hearing the final version of this song, I cried. I immediately called Jess from Lucius and thanked her and Holly for their magical contribution. The song has always been very personal and Doug and I have always sang it in harmony as it is about our life together. In some ways, that always kept the song small. When Danny suggested Lucius do some of the heavy lifting on the harmonies and leave the guitar (call and response) to Doug, I was hesitant. I thought it would take away from our experience. It did the opposite. Jess and Holly’s vocals illuminated our experience and allowed us to just be – rather than just performing the song we now can step back and hear the song.  This reimagining took a very personal experience and made it universal. Those few moments when you hear the stagger in the vocals between voices it makes the song so real. This song is my favorite on the entire album. I can close my eyes and be in it.”

Glory Bound

“On ‘Glory Bound,’ what was once a bold, from-the-chest manifesto becomes a shimmering reflection on hope and regret, building around a subtle, hypnotizing riff. Listening back to my approach, originally and now, I’m a different person. You can hear it in my voice.”

Beyond The Palisades

“The original version of this song is very dreamy and mysterious. The production is lush and intricate. With this version I think we just wanted to simplify it, hence the solo guitar/vocal entrance. It’s a little more straight ahead and a little more classic rock. I feel like now it could apply to anywhere rather than the original California reference.” 

Sha La La

“This was a hard one. The original is so heavily produced and stylized we needed to make it small. We really love the original and feel it had to be part of this new collection but in order to reimagine it we needed to really strip it back. I sort of envisioned this as strumming an acoustic guitar on the beach maybe on Ipanema or something. We wanted to chill it out as the original is pure chaos. This is just a little quiet and simple.” 

Carrying The Torch

“This was a really fun challenge. I wasn’t sure about doing this track; I felt it was too steeped in swampy Americana and it would never break free. However, it was on everyone’s list for the project and we are so happy because now it’s bright and fun and more of a road tune. It just moves nicely and feels effortless and natural with the two of us singing.  It reminds me of the songs we used to put on mix tapes in the eighties and just drive.” 

One More Heartbreak

“This song is our ‘epic love song.’ It is different every time we perform it and it really didn’t need any reimagining because the original is just one version of it. We recorded it live in Abbey Road in London and it was quite different from the original. We knew if we got the band together at 3Sirens it would once again become something different and we were right. It’s a little more soul and a little more R&B. This song has its own life and it’s always naturally being reimagined.”