VER LA LUZ, Scott Tournet’s first solo album since 2006’s Everyone You Meet Is Fighting A Hard Battle, will hit streets on May 14. . The self-produced and independently released effort was recorded and engineered by Mike Kamoo (The Stereotypes, The Loons, Lights On), who engineered and mixed VER LA LUZ at his Earthling Studios in San Diego.
The sound on VER LA LUZ is unpretentiously sophisticated, a seamless fusion of the homespun and the experimental; the songs are earthy, heartfelt; and Tournet’s vocals have an aching vulnerability and natural humanity. “I made the record because I needed to make it,” says Tournet with the same candor that characterizes the album. “The songs and the writing of the songs consumed me for weeks and months at a time.” These 11 songs of struggle, abiding hope and hard-earned acceptance—each resolving into a memorable chorus resolution—chart an internal world that is deeply personal yet universally relatable. The result is a musically invigorating and emotionally powerful piece of work. If ever an album deserved to be singled out as a sleeper, VER LA LUZ is it.
VER LA LUZ features contributions from drummer Austin Beede (formerly of Alberta Cross); fellow Vermont natives Lowell Thompson and Kelly Ravin, who blended their voices with Tournet’s for some soaring harmonies; and Scott’s band mate Grace Potter, who co-wrote “Treasure” and “The Longing,” dueting with her longtime band mate on the latter. Apart from the drums, Scott played all the instruments except for Ravin’s acoustic on “The Longing.” He and Kamoo started tracking in the spring of 2012, calling on Beede to handle the drum parts.
“That’s really when the process opened up,” Scott recalls. “I would play guitar, bass or keyboards along with Austin on drums, and we would record what we did to tape. We did eight or nine songs that way, and then he headed home to Santa Barbara. Over the next couple weeks, Mike and I tackled a song a day and I overdubbed all the other necessary instruments/sounds as we saw fit. Once we got the music where we wanted it, Lowell and Kelly flew in from Vermont and laid down harmony vocals. Kelly and I also tracked ‘The Longing’ on acoustics.”
Using a portable rig, Scott recorded his vocals in hotel rooms and on the bus while on tour with Grace Potter & The Nocturnals as the opening act on a stadium tour. “We recorded Grace’s vocal for ‘The Longing’ in a football stadium locker room,” he recalls. Throughout the summer, Tournet engaged in a long-distance dialogue with Kamoo back in his San Diego studio.” I would send vocal tracks digitally to Mike and he would piece them together for me. It was amazing and cool in the way that technology was allowing us to work on album together while being in different parts of the country. I never could have completed the record otherwise.”
VER LA LUZ, which translates from the Spanish as to see the light, is not only the album’s title but also its theme. “The record is about getting your ass kicked, getting the wind knocked out of you, waking up in the morning and not being able to get up—being paralyzed by life,” Tournet explains. “But really, it’s about those first moments where you can see something beyond the despair and ugliness—like eating a saltine cracker after having the stomach flu for two days; that glorious and delicious first bite. Or like being in the ocean and getting caught under a wave—then you finally find up and you gasp in that first breath of air. This album resides within that moment. It comes from darkness, pain and ugliness, but the songs themselves are the light that contrasts with all of that.”
Scott Tournet’s upcoming solo tour dates are as follows:
Thursday, May 16 Higher Ground Burlington, VT
Friday, May 17 Brighton Music Hall Boston, MA
Saturday, May 18 Brooklyn Bowl Brooklyn, NY
Sunday, May 19 8×10 Club Baltimore, MD