By GENE STOUT
Seattle singer-songwriter Carson Henley compares the marathon recording session for his newly released album to “pulling an all-nighter before the big test.”
With little more than a notepad, iPhone and piano, the 26-year-old musician recorded “100 Hours” nonstop in exactly that amount of time with Grammy-winning engineer Kory Kruckenberg at Seattle’s VU Recording Studios. (Henley’s first album was “Green Eyed Soul.”)
Henley’s challenge was to create 10 original songs on the spot and record them with musicians who had never heard them before, which goes without saying. Musical support came from Allen Stone, Spencer Doren, Henley’s extremely talented sister, Tess Henley; and James McCalister, who had worked with Brandi Carlile, Sufjan Stevens, and Ivan & Alyosha. Visit Tess Henley’s website here.
“This kind of constant pressure can produce diamonds, or it can just make dirt,” Henley says. “So it’s a big gamble for an indie artist to sink an entire life’s savings into a project like this.”
Another Grammy-winning engineer, Brian Lucey (who has worked with the The Shins and The Black Keys), was brought in to master the recording. And Seattle filmmaker Brian Nunes chronicled the feat in an a 48-minute documentary. (Watch the trailer here).
The resulting album is an impressive collection of riveting rock ‘n’ soul songs, which made their public debut at showcases at the SXSW Music Conference and Festival last March in Austin, Texas.
If you’re a fan of James Morrison, Gavin DeGraw, Maroon 5 or even Joe Cocker, you’ll love Henley’s music. The singer-songwriter grew up with parents who favored Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, James Taylor and Earth, Wind & Fire, and many of these influences show up in his music.
Henley’s resume includes performing the National Anthem at a Seahawks game and singing lead vocals with the Seattle Rock Orchestra at a Stevie Wonder Tribute.
Release party for “100 Hours” is at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 7, at the Columbia City Theater, 4916 Rainier Ave. S. Sharing the bill are musical guests Sarah Jackson-Holman and James Redfern.
Henley’s band features Henley on lead vocals and piano, Jon Dong on guitar, Jon Robinson on bass and Colin Carter on drums.
Tickets are $12 in advance at Brown Paper Tickets.
Follow this link to the Columbia City Theater website.
Finally, here’s the video for “Fire,” which is featured on “100 Hours”: