Texas singer Barton Stanley David’s new album Crest out April 22nd, 2022 on Kenshire Recorda is a study in shifting definitions of adulthood, class, community, spirituality, and ultimately, shared perseverance.
Anchored by BSD’s arresting, melodic voice and widescreen mixes by Grammy-winning engineer Dave Schiffman (Tom Petty, Adele, The Killers), Crest has an organic grandeur that was easier to come by in the ‘90s. But the songs and the remarkable story of the album itself (below) are very much a current affair.
Glide is premiering the wistful title track “Crest” (below) a hypnotically folk-inducing mood tune, stirring with a vocally rhythmic grace reminiscent of Damien Rice and Glen Hansard.
“Crest’ gets into the existential territory, but it’s ultimately about friendship. We all have friends who are mirrors and measuring sticks throughout life. So long as they are doing well, we feel like the good guys are winning. I wrote the song for my best friend, who fills that role for me. More broadly, I think everyone feels, especially the past few years, that we are at the crest of a societal, technological, and spiritual wave that is about to break and are all learning how to ride it alongside one another,” says BSD.
In 2017, after nearly a decade of recording and performing in New York City, where he worked with legendary producer John Agnello on his debut Blue For East Broadway, BSD, who is a fifth-generation Texan, decided it was time to go home. Then he met Marketa, a Czech immigrant living in the Bronx. A romance ensued, and the singer quickly found himself torn between a person and a place.
“The city’s made of promises” he sings on visceral opener “Cicada,” “but I’m too old to wait.”
After moving back to Dallas where he met co-producer Jeff Saenz (Leon Bridges, Paul Cauthen), Marketa and their growing relationship eventually brought him back to New York. The couple moved in together in Brooklyn in 2018. Still, Texas kept calling.
The pair relocated to Dallas the following year. In October of 2020, they married in a private backyard ceremony, a New York wedding canceled, as were many, by the pandemic.
With live music also lost to the pandemic, BSD formed Kenshire Records with executive producer Shane Stein and began recording remotely with Schiffman mixing from Los Angeles. Studio sessions finally began in January of 2021 with Jeff Saenz at Modern Electric in Dallas.
Tragedy struck six months into recording when Saenz lost both arms following a freak accident with a downed power line in his front yard. With Saenz still hospitalized and the Dallas community rallying around the widely beloved producer, Barton eventually turned to Scarlett Deering, a young engineer and violinist (The Eagles) managing the late Charley Pride’s studio to complete the album.
Remarkably, Jeff Saenz has since returned to producing at Modern Electric, which he owns, and his story has been featured in Rolling Stone and The Dallas Morning News.
Other notable contributors to Crest include legendary mastering engineer Howie Weinberg (Nirvana, Jeff Buckley), and additional mixers Matt Pence (Jason Isbell, Elle King) and Roman Klun (Sarah MacLachlan).
Drummer Matt Young (White Denim) turns in a break-out performance, along with bassist Chris Anderson (Martin Sexton), pianist Ben Fisher, and BSD playing many of the instruments himself.
Thematically, Crest is a heavy but hopeful ride: the soaring alt rock conviction of “All Ways”, chamber pop showstopper “Evelyn”, reincarnation themed closer “And The Crowd Goes Wild Again”, even ‘90s-tinged break up ballad “If I Didn’t Tell You First” rings with a certain triumph.
Still, at the album’s heart, there’s a bracing.
“Collectively, I think there is a feeling that we are at the crest of a societal and spiritual wave that is about to break,” the Texas songwriter says.