Call Redialed: Aaron David Gleason: "Wry Observer"
Aaron David GleasonIt's so great to catch up singer/songwriter Aaron David Gleason on the heels of his new album Wry Observer being released last month. I really enjoyed learning about the making of this album, why Aaron waited 12 years between albums, finding his place in this world, his favorite things to do in NYC, and remembering his grandfather, Monty Hall, co-creator of the hit game show Let's Make A Deal.
Aaron will be celebrating the release of his new album with a concert this Tuesday, November 14 at Rockwood Music Hall (169 Allen Street) at 7pm!Click here for tickets!
Wry Observer is available via iTunes!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer/singer/songwriter? David Bowie, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, The Beatles....and a million others....but Bowie and Rufus at that age when you really decide.
2. Last month you released, your second album, Wry Observer, 12 years after your second album. Why did you wait 12 years in between albums? I was waiting because my first album got crushed by the press and by the industry after that. That hurt. I also felt like I wasn't as good as I would like to be. I had to reevaluate and take inventory. I did that. I came to New York where I was dressed down immediately! That was painful but necessary. I'm grateful for the New York kiss, as it were. Is that a term? Nope, just made it up. But there is a term, "Glasgow Kiss," and it was figuratively similar.
3. How do you feel you have grown as a singer/songwriter in these 12 years? I feel like I'm naked now as a singer. I'm not hiding behind artifice. That took me a long time, since despite what it seems, I'm very shy.
4. On November 14 you are celebrating the release of Wry Observer with a concert at Rockwood Music Hall. What are you looking forward to most about this concert? What are you most nervous about premiering this new music? Most looking forward to sharing this excitement with a crowd and a crowd mostly of friends. I love my band, and time stands still when we perform, so it will be nice to stop the clock again. As far as performing 10 songs in a row for the first time, yeah...trying not to think about that haha....
5. Why did you name the album Wry Observer? I've always felt like a reporter. Maybe it was a protective shield. I'm a watcher. I'm fascinated by the human condition. But I also know very much that as much as I think I'm the watcher, there will always be someone watching me. So...who is the wry observer? I think Rashoman has an interesting answer to that question.
6. One of the songs on your new album is "Place in the World." How did making this album help you find your place in this world? I'm a songwriter. As much as I love acting, or performing music, my deepest passion is songwriter. I think about it like a puzzle and talk about it ad nauseum.
Aaron David Gleason7. Another song you recorded for Wry Observer is called "Brooklyn at Dawn," an ode to the clarity and introspection that only exists in the wee hours of the morning. What is something you learned or got clarity on at the wee hours in the morning? There is no bravado early in the morning. So anything I've ever done by sheer bravado, doesn't count. When I'm up that early, I see myself in the most brutal but purifying light. It's not fun, but like meditation, its ripple effect of good is very appreciated.
8. One more song on the album is "Nueva York." What are some of your favorite things to do in NYC? How do you like to spend the holidays in NYC? Oh I love The Village and part of me just adores the funkiness of Alphabet City, though I'm sure it's a much more sanitized, homogenized place than in 1979, say. But there is a pulse there, and it's undeniable. I lived in Greenpoint for 7 years--I'm so grateful for that time, it fed my soul a lot. Holidays? I live in Tarrytown now, it's pretty beautiful around that time.
Monty Hall, "Let's Make A Deal"9. In these 12 years between albums, what is the biggest change you made in your life that you feel allowed you to finally make new music? The biggest change has just been to incrementally follow the path to humanity instead of lusting after celebrity. I lust after humanity now and it's much more gratifying.
10. This past September your grandfather, Monty Hall (co-creator of the game show Let's Make A Deal) passed away. What is something you learned from your grandfather about the world of entertainment? What do you miss most about him? The world of entertainment is a mirage...a very beautifully crafted one. Life is family and good deeds and loyalty--he embodied that more than humanly possible at times. That education will never leave me. He always asked how my gigs went. I miss very much sharing victories with him. But it's my job now to be that to someone else. So Adam, tell me what's going on in YOUR life :)
Aaron David Gleason, Photo Credit: Alex TurshMore on Aaron:
Singer-songwriter Aaron David Gleason isn’t afraid to think outside of the box. His approach to creating his music is nothing less than inspired -- years in the making, his new album, Wry Observer, finally expresses exactly the things he’s needed to say.
Wry Observer was recorded over four days at Nashville’s Sputnik Sound with producer Brad Lindsay. Filled with mystery and humor, the album offers insight on what Aaron has learned about life in the past 15 years – after overcoming several obstacles both personally and professionally, he’s arrived at a place where his songs tell his stories the way he wants them to be told, with his unique wit weaved in.
During a nine-year hiatus from music, he moved from Los Angeles to New York City, embarked on an acting career and eventually started over from scratch with music. Now 38, with the aid of therapy and a new-found community of artist friends in New York and Nashville, he’s made another record – 12 years after his last.
Offering matured songwriting, a liberated vocal and experimentation with open tuning, the songs on the album dovetail into each other musically and thematically. "The Last To Die In Battle," written about England’s infamous 15th-century king Richard III, flows into the title track, which represents many things for Aaron. He’s felt like an observer for much of his life -- a journalist of sorts taking notes on the world around him -- though the song is ultimately about his wife and how she helped him heal. "Pops" then offers a tribute to The Staple Singers and how their music also helped Aaron through tough times, along with fragments of his own relationship with his father. "Nueva York," and its poetic take on New York’s persuasive powers are juxtaposed with "Brooklyn At Dawn," an ode to the clarity and introspection that only exists in the wee hours of the morning.
Aaron released In Flagrante Delicto when he was 22 with his then-band All Hours. With its collage of pointed lyrics and song fragments that only touched the surface of his ability to create quality songs. The band and their label eventually parted ways, and Aaron later self-produced a self-titled album. Both were lessons that he needed to experience to arrive at the music he’s making now – and Wry Observer is finally, genuinely, him.
Surrounded by music and entertainment for much of his life as the son of Tony Award-winning actress Joanna Gleason and the grandson of Let’s Make A Deal co-creator Monty Hall, Gleason released his first album when he was 22, and later self-produced a self-titled album. He eventually moved from Los Angeles to New York City, embarked on an acting career and now started over from scratch with music. Now 38, with the aid of therapy and a new-found community of artist friends in New York and Nashville, he’s made another record – 12 years after his last – an album that is finally, genuinely, him.