Chris Funk, best known as the talented multi-instrumentalist of The Decemberists, recently released his instrumental solo album The Painted Porch on Bandcamp via Jealous Butcher Records. On June 19th he will follow it up with a vinyl release. Currently, all profits from Bandcamp sales of the album will be donated to the COVID-19 Oregon Musicians’ Relief Fund through the Jeremy Wilson Foundation.
Back in December of 2018, Funk captured some personal thoughts on the process behind this album:
This album was created in the studio, “on the fly” as they say. I set aside three days, just before Christmas, while my daughter was out of town. It was the end of a somewhat stressful year of touring with my band, and had been a particularly hard fall. In the span of a few weeks, I lost three people who were central to my musical world, including my friend and studio partner, who built the space I was recording in. There was lots more awfulness, too–all of it swelling into an almost comedic level of tragedy, upending my life. Someone once told me that we’re all “just patching it all up after 40” — tying off the loose ends, managing our inevitable decline. I refuse to believe it, but came close to buying into the idea during the latter half of 2018.
Some of these songs are definitely a reaction those events: all the misfortune that was out of my control but squarely in my orbit. So, forgive me: this music probably isn’t soothing to you, but it was to me… I’m not sure it goes well Sunday morning coffee and crosswords. I challenged myself to open up and let music pour out with literally no plan, then step back in the control room and listen to what “had happened,” accept it, and add to it quickly. Sketches or polished finished product—what’s the difference?
Music has always been and will always been my constant: the soundtrack to my daughter’s birth and rise, whether she likes it or not; the worn path to all of my friendships; background noise sitting in the cracks. It’s graciously filled my bank account for years now, but leaves again with no guarantees or warning and drains it just as quickly as it arrived. It’s omnipresent for me, in some form: as a touring musician or producer, community event organizer or one-off collaborator at a festival, mentoring kids or friends in distress, the latter all the more common the longer I exist. I’m forced to admit my addiction to it. Still, I’m lucky to have three days to explore it on my own, and on my own terms, every now and again.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the music video for the lead-in track on The Painted Porch, “Knifey Vellocet,” which was directed by Kyle Craft. Psychedelic and twangy with shimmering strings and ominous synths, the song is brought to life with trippy, mind-bending visuals that are also strangely soothing. With a range of instruments, Funk proves adept at crafting rich, atmospheric soundtracks that would feel right at home as the score of a dark and dramatic film. While the song swells and stretches into a wash of orchestration, Funk also keeps drums in the mix as well as electric guitar to remind us that even while he composes these Brian Eno with a touch of Daniel Lanois arrangements, he is still a rocker at heart.
Photo credit: Jason Quigley