Five years can be an eternity in the music business. Yet, for The Herbert Bail Orchestra’s Anthony Frattolillo, whose songs often confront the illusory nature of time, a rushed follow-up to his collective’s acclaimed 2013 debut, The Future’s In The Past, was never in the cards.
2013’s The Future’s In The Past saw the band praised at LA Weekly, Nowness, The Huffington Post and more. But with the new record, Frattolillo was interested in confounding the expectations of anyone who might try to classify his group based on their earlier sound. Like Pink Floyd before them, there is no Herbert Bail in the Herbert Bail Orchestra—the group’s moniker is actually an homage to a whimsical figure in Frattolillo’s life. “Herbert Bail was my grandfather’s real name,” he says, “though I grew up knowing him as Grandpa Jack. At the end of his life, we found out he was born by another name, and had another wife and a whole other family we never knew about. So the name Herbert Bail Orchestra is an homage to this idea that we all lead many lives and there are no single truths.”
On History’s Made At Night, which is out on September 28, Frattolillo – who’s also a filmmaker – dives deep into these concepts of identity, as well as the aesthetic of his grandfather’s alter-ego. “Herbert Bail was classy,” Frattolillo says. “He was always in a suit, wearing a fedora. He ran underground gambling rings. His was a Horatio Alger story—he didn’t come from a lot, but he played his cards well and made something out of his life. I think this album lives up to that.”
Herbert Bail Orchestra’s new set of songs also broadens the collective’s sonic palette, instrumentation-wise, and—as befitting an album inspired in part by Frattolillo’s travels across America—has a distinct heartland sound. That’s not to say History’s Made At Night completely eschews the more exotic sounds of the band’s debut. It’s impressive how all these songs written over such a long period of time, and recorded in three different California studios by producers Seth Olansky (Best Coast) and Chris Rondinella (Levon Helm, Shelby Lynne, Sara Watkins) lock together so seamlessly. Perhaps it’s because Frattolillo hones in on certain lyrical themes throughout: the deceptive nature of memory and time, the weariness and wonder of the road, the redemptive power of love and friendship.
Today Glide is excited to premiere “Cherokee”, one of the songs that leans in more of a country style. Opening with a Neil Young-meets-outlaw-country harmonica hook, the song has the feel of a sparse Western ballad as Frattolillo sings about a mysterious siren who proves elusive and alluring to the main character. The combination of piano, harmonica, and the heavy twang of a guitar make this song feel like a soundtrack for wandering and whiskey-induced nostalgia. With “Cherokee” we get Frattolillo at his storytelling finest as he takes us on a mysterious journey.
The Herbert Bail Orchestra’s History’s Made at Night is out September 28. For more music and info visit herbertbail.com.
Photo by Brian Barnicle