Birmingham, Alabama-based singer-songwriter Joel Madison Blount is set to release his new album, Our New Moon, on September 29th. Merging the influence of Southern literary authors with a musical response to the rhythm and melody of life, Blount writes songs about the human experience that are meant to inspire and offer hope.
The songs appearing on Our New Moon were written in response to the birth of Blount's first child and represent a new beginning for his family, and a new phase of life for Blount and his artistic career. “A new moon marks the start of the first phase of Earth’s moon during the course of the lunar cycle,” says Blount, “and it also alludes to the mystery surrounding what we will encounter on our journey ahead, as neither are visible from our perspective.” Themes on the album, which was produced by Brian T. Murphy, wind their way through a time of sorrow and brokenness, but ultimately lead the listener to witness redemption and an outpouring of grace.
Today, TDC is extremely pleased to share one of the album's tracks, "Arms Open Wide," a spacious, beautifully serene and incredibly sincere ode to his son. Blount discusses the song's origins, "I wrote this song not long after my wife and I found out we were going to be parents. I initially wanted to communicate some important life lessons to my son, but as it evolved, I felt it was best to focus on a simple, clear message - I’ll always be here for you. I never really intended for the song to be widely shared, but my band played it at a few shows and people seemed to connect with the music and the lyrics - so, it stuck. The song also ended up being one of the first written for my new album “Our New Moon,” which, in many ways, was inspired by experiences I’ve had over the past few years trying to learn how to be a father."
An intensely poignant song for anyone with, or expecting, a child, Blount says it does indeed make him emotional when he performs it, The first few times I played it live, my wife was still pregnant. I don’t know how much a baby can hear in the womb, but I hope he’ll always feel comforted by the song and it’ll be a reminder that he is loved no matter what."
Blount notes further that his son is fond of the tune as well, "He loves it and we sing together all the time. He loves to “play” the drums and I’m sure we’ll have our own family band in a few years."
"An ordinary man chosen as a part of the plan
To love and raise you up stand by when times get tough
With shelter and protection some advice, a little direction
I hope one day you’ll see you are the best part of me
And I’ll be here for you yes, I'll be here for you
With arms open wide"
With lyrics that are honest, touching, and relatable, Blount says his favorite lyric is from the song's second verse, "I like “life can be a hard lesson, or a joyful progression” because our experience in life depends so much on how we choose to respond to difficult situations. I’ve struggled with being a father - it has forced me to realize how selfish I really am. I’m still learning how to “joyfully” sacrifice my own desires for the benefit of my wife and our family. I know that we’re better off as a family when I’m present, but as a musician I feel drawn to be out sharing my songs with others. I hope the choices I make will allow my kids to know me because I’m present in their lives and see me passionately pursuing my dreams as a musician, but it’s a hard line to walk."
Joined in the studio by guitarist Josh Vigneulle, bassist Will Weir, and drummer Alex Hinson, production in the studio was intentionally limited to a four-piece band in order to ensure the songs were presented in a simple, yet elegant manner. However, there were light moments. Joel shares,
"During rehearsals, the guys in my band couldn’t keep the song titles straight, and my guitar player Josh kept calling this one “With Arms Wide Open” - which was a hit for Creed. I’m still not exactly sure why I never changed my own song title, and now, every time we play this one live, it’s hard to shake the thought of Scott Stapp propping his foot up on a stage monitor to sing for my son. Thanks, Josh."
Just for fun, Blount was asked if an album of covers of his songs was being put together, who would he choose to record them? He replied that his choice would be Bill Withers because "There’s something comforting and true in the way he sings."
And those qualities are ones that you will find present on Our New Moon as well. Of the personal collection of lovingly crafted tunes, Joel says, "This is who I am."
For more information visit his official website
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Pre-order Our New Moon: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/joelmadisonblount