Everything’s Easy by Girlyman

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Who doesn’t know that Girlyman is our favorite group yet? Come on, raise your hand.

With the production of their new CD, Everything’s Easy, Girlyman tried something different: asking their fans to help them buy a top-notch microphone for their vocals. We joined many other Girlyfans and pitched in to get them that mic!

So, can you buy this CD yet? No. It will be available in late August, 2009. Do I have a copy yet? Yes. Am I special? No. You too could have had it, especially if you follow me on Twitter, where I urged people to pre-order a copy.

The pre-order was at a premium price, but came with a lovingly signed copy of the CD, and helped the band directly, so fans should have been happy to pay a bit more, to get it early, and support the band.

According to Ty’s blog post last week, over 1,000 fans pre-ordered, which is music to my ears!

I have had my hands on the CD for nearly a week. I have listened to it eight times. I didn’t want anything that I wrote here to be based on a single first impression listen.

One word to describe the new CD: Gorgeous!

Lois’ needed to one up me, so she decided to double the number of words she used to describe the CD: Soulful…Intimate!

There are so many dimensions to personally grade a song and/or a CD, and I’ll cover a few of them here. First, when it’s an artist you are a fan of, you can ask yourself if it’s similar or different from their previous work.

Neither is inherently good or bad. If it’s similar, some fans will be bored, others will be over the moon. If it’s different, some fans will be angry, others will be over the moon. Of course, if it’s too different, it’s not inconceivable to lose a majority of your fans, but possibly pick up another whole group who like the new genre.

So, how do I grade this CD in that respect? Similar: Yes. In a number of ways (especially the important ones). Amazing harmonies, brilliant lyrics, wonderful melodies, superb production.

Different: Yes. In a number of ways (mostly good). First, there are studio versions of three songs that were actually debuted on their last CD, Somewhere Different Now (a Live CD). There is a song called Hudson, where Ty sings without Doris and Nate.

Perhaps the biggest difference (to me) is the mood of the CD. On all of the previous efforts (four, not including the many CDs we have from their live performances, which are priceless to me!) there is a wide mix of songs. Ballads sit side-by-side with very up-beat numbers (causing people to label them as Folk/Pop, since without the Pop, it’s hard for some to peg them as just Folk).

The only song on this CD that truly qualifies as perky (to me) is My Eyes Get Misty (a song we have loved for over ninth months, having seen them perform it many times!). True Enough is a very happy song, but still retains a relatively mellow sound.

Even the title song, Everything’s Easy, which is a happier song, with a little bit of an up-tempo feel on the Live CD, has been slowed down dramatically on this studio version.

It’s nearly one minute longer, due entirely to the pace. It’s gorgeous, but if you’re used to other version (and what fan wouldn’t be?), then it might take some getting used to (which is why I wanted to listen many times before writing this!).

Another dimension: new vs familiar. If you’ve never seen Girlyman live, and never heard one of their recent concert CDs (not counting Somewhere Different Now Live), then only the three songs from that Live CD will be familiar. Everything else is brand-spanking-new material.

Of course, if you’re like us, and follow them around like puppy dogs, then you will have heard some of the songs in one show or another. For us, here’s the count:

Total number of songs on the CD: 15.

Number released on a previous CD: 3 (Everything’s Easy, Somewhere Different Now and Storms Were Mine).

Number we’ve heard in concert: 9 (several were debuted at the recent Highline Ballroom show, so even if you’ve seen them before, the odds of you having heard nine of the songs isn’t likely).

Number we never heard before: 3 (whew, the math happened to work out!).

There isn’t a weak song on this CD. But, you better be in the mood to be moved! To repeat Lois’ characterization above, it’s a very Soulful, Intimate CD, both lyrics and sound, with a lush feel.

I’d describe this CD as making you feel Swept Away rather than Swept Up. The music and lyrics drape and carry you with them, to another place.

If you are a Girlyman fan, I’ll be shocked if you don’t love the CD. If you’re a newbie, it will depend on what brought you to this one.

Personally, I am thrilled to have my name associated with Everything’s Easy. Well done Girlyman! 🙂

Disclaimer: We are listed as Executive Producers (EP) on this CD but had nothing to do with the creative part of the CD, nor were we EPs in the sense of helping with the business (distribution, etc.). But, in our small way, we helped get it made.

We participated in the production of this CD in the form of a donation, and we have zero financial relationship with Girlyman. We don’t derive any money from sales of the CDs.