Life Our Own Way is the full-length solo debut from David Heatley, better known to the public at large for his work as a cartoonist and animation director. The album was recorded at Piety Street Recording in Henderson, Louisiana with additional recording done at Marigny Studios and House of 1,000hz in New Orleans, produced, arranged, and mixed by Mark Bingham (John Scofield, Glenn Branca, Rebirth Brass Band…). Contributing musicians include members of Lost Bayou Ramblers and Givers, plus Julie Odell, Sarah Quintana, Lilli Lewis and Tony Award-winner Michael Cerveris. Life Our Own Way will be available on all streaming and digital platforms February 11th from Dream Puppy Records.
Life Our Own Way contains fifteen songs, each telling a unique story in a unique musical style. Each started as a melody or lyric fragment hazily remembered from songs that were playing in Heatley’s dreams. During the initial lockdown of 2020, David felt a torrent of pent-up creative energy and wound up finishing a dozen of these dream songs, creating multi-screen video demos that he would post to his friends on Instagram and Facebook. When he sent these to Mark Bingham in 2021, along with a fan letter about the work Mark had done with legendary oddball musician Peter Stampfel, a correspondence began. Before long, Bingham invited him down to Louisiana to work together in his studio. Mark did some musical arrangement and assembled a fitting group of players, tailored to each particular track. Over the course of two weeks, the album was recorded and a couple months later, it was mastered and ready for release.
Heatley’s illustrations and drawings have appeared on the cover of The New Yorker, in every section of The New York Times, and in numerous other publications, including Nickelodeon, McSweeney’s, and Best American Comics (cover artist 2007). He’s the author of My Brain is Hanging Upside Down (Pantheon, 2008), AMY (Desert Island, 2019), and Qualification (Pantheon, 2019). His work has been translated and published in Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, France and Spain. A television adaptation of his graphic memoir Qualification, co-created with Adam Resnick (Letterman, Get a Life, Larry Sanders Show) and produced by Gaspin Media, is currently in development.
Today Glide is excited to premiere Heatley’s new album in its entirety. Propulsive, jagged, with hints of New Wave and plenty of indie rock flourishes, the album finds Heatley manifesting what may be considered a signature blend of indie and Louisiana music. There are elements of 70s pop, garage rock, psych-rock, and power pop. What makes it interesting is the way these influences are blended with soul, R&B, and even Cajun music. In Wilco-esque fashion, Heatley and his team of musicians layer a melange of different instruments and experimental effects – including some especially cool vocals – to make for a sound that could lazily be classified as Americana-rock but actually branches out into something far more fascinating. Fans of the progressive Cajun outfit the Lost Bayou Ramblers will recognize their distinctive touch all over this record, which adds an element of unpredictability. What makes the album so cool is the way Heatley lends a unique musical style to each track while also inserting the same color creativity of his illustration work into the lyrics.
Heatley describes the inspiration behind the album:
“Life Our Own Way is an American melting pot record that could only have been made in Louisiana, celebrating the power of young lovers and how heroic it is to be an artist in a world that is constantly trying to grind us down. The songs came to me as fragments of lyrics and melodies in my dreams and my new friends down south helped me put the pieces together, make them whole, and hurl them out into the real world to walk among the living.”