When I finished my last record, I knew I was ready to start the next one. The songs were already written and I had more or less sequenced the album by the end of 2018. I wanted to put the next album - which I knew would be called “Burden” - out by April or May of the following year. All I had to do was record it over the following three months.
Yet in my own classic fashion, March rolled around and I had not even begun. I meant to do much of the recording myself as I had done last time, but add some other people on instruments I don’t play as well. That’s when Annie Leeth offered for me to record with her at Chase Park Transduction.
Annie Leeth and Brad Hagin had been playing violin and drums respectively with me at shows throughout the fall of 2018. So when Annie offered to help me take care of recording drums, Brad was the obvious choice. In April, we had our first session at Chase Park where he played drums. In 2015, I was a Chase Park intern, so the space felt incredibly comfortable and the session went really well. We had scheduled a second session at Chase Park for the following week.
Because of an unforeseen setback, we had to move the session back a week and also to another studio. We finished drums and bass at Studio 1093. I then proceeded to record all the guitars and vocals at my house, just like I did the for the last record. Meanwhile, Annie recorded violin parts herself and Tyler Key agreed to record some pedal steel at his house. As tracking was wrapping up, I realized two of the songs desperately needed background vocals that weren’t mine. So my sister, Jessie Gerke, and Ian Morrison remotely recorded harmony vocals for me at his house.
In the end, this record was recorded in 2 different studios and 4 different houses. The result is a hivemind of beautifully disparate sounds that are perfectly haphazard. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that a record represented me personally so well. It’s stylistically varied, made up of a variety of influences, and unable to sit still for long. Yet when Annie and I mixed the record, she gave the entire thing a sonic cohesion that fosters a record of which I am incredibly proud. This record was a collaborative effort and is all the better for it.
In the way life and art imitate one another, in some ways this album did become a bit burdensome. I wanted to call it “Burden” as a legal joke. It’s a reference to the burden of proof, but these songs were also largely written during a very dark time in my life, when I was carrying a lot of mental burdens. Many of these songs contain biblical reference on a scale I haven’t really approached before, and I think that’s because I was going through a spiritual death of sorts at the time. Then as the deadline of releasing the record approached, I was taking finals and working at the same time, and there was constant stress to progress on all fronts. But I think this sense of desperation made the record better and represented the songs in their truest form.
So with that I have many thanks to give once again:
To my parents and my sister for their constant support and positive attitude during what has been a very winding road. To my friends, the “lunch bunch,” for being the best part of this whole process (again, thanks to Katie Phillips for letting me record much of this album in our house with no complaint whatsoever). To Rachel Gerald and her constant support of me. To the Rook and Pawn for providing the employment that funded this record. To the UGA MBUS program and the amazing people they have put me in touch with. This record could not have happened without my having been involved with them. To Tyler Key for playing steel and generously donating his time. To Annie Leeth for her continued patience and input and for providing her violin playing as well as engineering skills. To Brad Hagin for drumming on this album and on so many gigs. To Ian Morrison for mastering this record and playing bass with me on countless occasions. To Bryant Williamson at the Caledonia Lounge for always letting me have a place to play.
released May 17, 2019
Engineered and Mixed by Annie Leeth at Chase Park Transduction and Studio 1093
Mastered by Ian Morrison
Songs by Brad Gerke
Guitars/Bass/Vocals - Brad Gerke
Gang Vocals on "Casting Lots" and "Closing My Tab" - Jessie Gerke and Ian Morrison
Pedal Steel - Tyler Key
Violin - Annie Leeth
Drums - Brad Hagin