Years before Carl Broemel joined My Morning Jacket — the Grammy-nominated, globetrotting rock band featuring his guitar playing, saxophone solos, harmony singing, pedal steel riffs, and songwriting support — he wrote his very first songs in his Indiana bedroom.

From the start, he was a multi-instrumentalist with a singer's gift for melody. A sideman capable of handling a frontman's job. As his guitar-playing career blossomed, Broemel continued writing songs of his own, carving out a personal, introspective sound that reached beyond My Morning Jacket's sonic landscape. With his third solo album, Wished Out, he merges articulate, pensive songwriting — including ruminations about science, love, the passing of time, and the grind of the artistic struggle — with some of the most energetic, rock-inspired songs to date.

"I wanted to get things moving," says Broemel, who remembers playing shows in support of his 2016 solo release — the critically-acclaimed 4th of July, full of daydreaming guitar tones and soft dynamics — and hearing the quiet crash of glass whenever his fans tossed beer bottles into the clubs' trash cans. "My songwriting can be very mellow," he adds. "I love that mood, but I needed more balance this time around. I needed more energy! Wished Out is all about the yin and yang."

Broemel recorded Wished Out at his newly-constructed home studio in Nashville, tracking many of the instruments alone before reaching out to several friends — including Robbie Crowell (Deer Tick), Russ Pollard (Everest, Sebadoh), and My Morning Jacket bandmates Tom Blankenship and Bo Koster — for help. He worked in spurts, taking short breaks to drive his son to school and longer breaks to hit the road with My Morning Jacket. With sunlight filtering through the studio windows during his days at home, Broemel steadily whittled his new album into shape, pulling triple duty as Wished Out's producer, engineer, and frontman along the way.

From the harmonized guitar riffs and deep-seated grooves of the kickoff track, "Dark Matter," to the McCartney-worthy pop textures and densely-stacked vocals of "Out of Reach," Wished Out finds Broemel picking up the pace without sacrificing his love of melody. Hooks are everywhere, hidden in the dreamy, California folk-rock of "Malibu Shadow"; the percussive, psychedelic punch of "Starting from Scratch"; the stoned, stuttering rock & roll swagger of "Rain Check"; the show-stealing guitar solo that stretches itself throughout the second half of "Wished Out"; and beyond. A heavy reader, Broemel found inspiration in the scientific writings of Neil deGrasse Tyson, the work of evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, and the anthropological essays of Loren Eiseley. The result in an album whose melodies go down smooth, but whose lyrics unveil new layers with each listen. It's a thinking man's rock & roll record…or is it the other way around?

Songs like "Dark Matter" and "Out of Reach" take a turn for the metaphysical, with Broemel examining his own place within the cosmos. Meanwhile, "Second Fiddle" tips its hat to Ronnie Lane, George Harrison, Art Garfunkel, and other sidemen who've have balanced solo careers with their dedication to a larger, busier band. [For Broemel — an in-demand instrumentalist who's toured with Ray Lamontagne, recorded with country icon Wanda Jackson, and become an integral part of My Morning Jacket's engine over the last 14 years — a song like "Second Fiddle" feels particularly poignant, offering a first-hand perspective of rock & roll life in the passenger seat.]

Throughout the writing process, Broemel worked with drum loops and other programmed beats, looking to instill a strong sense of movement into his songs. He wrote at home. He wrote on tour. He wrote during an inspirational trip to Malibu, where he rented a quiet cabin above the Pacific Ocean and emerged several days later with "Malibu Shadow" and "Starting From Scratch." The result is a tracklist whose diversity reflects the many influences, instruments, and commitments of its own creator. With its mix of guitar muscle, rock & roll grit, left-field pop punch, and lyrical wit, Wished Out sheds new light on a team player who shines just as bright when he's calling his own shots.

It’s a short drive from Nashville, TN, to Muscle Shoals, AL: 125 miles, or about two hours if your foot’s on the leaden side, and you’ve left one musical Mecca for another. Thanks to Nashville instrumental duo Steelism, though, that gap is bridged in the time it takes to listen to a track. Comprised of guitarist Jeremy Fetzer, pedal steel player Spencer Cullum and backed by some of Nashville’s finest young musicians, Steelism blends an eclectic array of vintage and modern influences to create instrumental music that truly sounds like nothing else.
Though Steelism is new to the music scene, Cullum and Fetzer are not, having backed artists like Wanda Jackson, Johnny Fritz, Rayland Baxter and Andrew Combs. The two met while touring the U.K. with Nashville songstress Caitlin Rose, quickly bonding over their shared love for classic movie soundtrack composers like Ennio Morricone and ‘60s instrumental acts like Booker T. and the M.G.s, The Ventures and Pete Drake. Writing together between sound checks, the duo realized it was time for the sidemen to become frontmen, and Steelism was born.

“Steelism allows us to musically explore in our writing and take performance chances we couldn’t get away with in any other project,” Fetzer says.

Though the two grew up on different continents (Cullum hails from Essex, England; Fetzer from Canton, OH), Cullum and Fetzer were cut from the same musical cloth, as becomes immediately evident whenever they take the stage. Their debut EP The Intoxicating Sounds of Pedal Steel and Guitar was met with critical acclaim, with American Songwriter’s Sean Maloney calling Steelism “instantly recognizable – surf, country, blues, all steeped in soul and heavy on the grooves – but astoundingly outside the contemporary vernacular.”

“We’ve always been into the idea of playing a strong melody—something you can hum—rather than soloing,” Cullum explains.

The duo’s full-length debut 615 to FAME releases via Single Lock Records (founded by Ben Tanner of the Alabama Shakes, John Paul White of The Civil Wars and Will Trapp), with marketing and distribution from Thirty Tigers, on September 16, 2014. Half recorded at Muscle Shoals’ historic FAME Studios, where Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding all tracked hits, 615 to FAME was produced by Fetzer and Cullum with co-production from Ben Tanner, and contributions from longtime Nashville-based collaborators Jon Radford (drums) and Michael Rinne (bass). Featuring 10 original instrumentals and one cover, 615 to FAME announces Steelism as one of Nashville’s most exciting new acts.

Steelism’s compositions don’t need lyrics to tell stories. “Marfa Lights” is a krautrock-inspired instrumental influenced by German bands like Neu! and Can, with its title taken from the paranormal lights of the Marfa, TX sky. “Cat’s Eye Ring” is fit for a Spaghetti Western, named for a ring belonging to a mother protecting her children during the Battle of the Alamo. The album’s only cover track is the swirling, psychedelic Pete Drake number “The Spook,” which showcases Cullum’s faithful but updated homage to the late Nashville pedal steel legend and Fetzer’s heavier take on the track’s opening refrain.

As Ben Tanner explains, “Great instrumental rock and roll, sadly, has become a lost art, but Steelism is resurrecting that tradition and adding new chapters of its own, and while they may not have a singer, they certainly have great things to say.”

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