Jeff Pitcher's newest CD reviewed on NPR's All Things Considered

Jeff Pitcher's newest CD reviewed on NPR's All Things Considered

Date posted: 2008-10-15 10:40:00

Link to NPR review and sound clip: 

Jeff Pitcher and two other musicians wrote music about all of the
American Presidents.  Pritcher then curated artists to make a visual piece
about each president (including both Mike Bullock and Bart Woodstrup)
and the result is a 3 cd set, with a 106 page book.  It is available
through the record label at:



And independent record stores across the US and Europe.

About the project:

On September 9, 2008, Standard Recording Company released the release
of a triple CD Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S.
Presidencies, a collection penned by songwriters J. Matthew Gerken (of
Nice Monster), Christian Kiefer, and Jefferson Pitcher (formerly of
Above the Orange Trees). The set features a slew of special studio
guests including Califone, Rosie Thomas, Bill Callahan (Smog), Alan
Sparhawk (Low), Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon), Marla
Hansen (Sufjan Stevens), Steve Dawson (Dolly Varden), Vince DiFiore
(Cake), Monahans, James Jackson Toth (Wooden Wand), and Tom Carter

This project initially came about as part of "February Album Writing
Month," a website ( that challenges songwriters to write
14 songs in 28 days. The three songwriters wrote and recorded rough
demos of the first 42 songs in February 2006 (leaving only George W.
Bush for later). "It was an amazing challenge to get that many songs
written, even split three ways," notes Kiefer. "Blasting the first
four or five is easy and then you've used up all the ideas that have
been floating around and have to come up with new ones. And you have
to come up with those new ideas right now."

It was decided soon after that the project was too interesting to
leave in the demo stage and so the recording process began anew with
guests coming into the fray as time and schedules allowed. The project
is now in its final phases. "It's a walk through American history and
an inquiry into what makes us Americans as filtered through the lens
of our highest public office. There's heartbreak and beauty and
criticism and revelation. We're trying to make it work like a big
beautiful historical novel."

The released project includes a 100+ page book featuring individual
images of the Presidents by 43 different artists, all hand-selected by
art curator Pitcher to be included in the project.  To quote from
Kiefer's song about President Tyler: "Oh!  Hell yes!"

Kiefer's album Dogs & Donkeys (Undertow) appeared to favorable reviews
last year and featured guests Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker (Low),
Nels Cline (Wilco, The Geraldine Fibbers, etc.), and Garth Hudson (The
Band). Kiefer and Jefferson Pitcher also saw the release of their
collaboration To All Dead Sailors via Australia's Camera Obscura
earlier this year, a project recorded in the midst of the Presidential
madness. Pitcher's recent concept album I am not in Spain was also
released this year on Mudita Records. Gerken's acoustic indie-math
rock quartet Nice Monster is also in the studio recording a follow-up
EP to their full-length Good Times + Sharp Knives (Grayscale).

Link to NPR review and sound clip: 

“What is Democracy?” with Filmmaker Astra Taylor
April 24, 2019 7:00 PM
Studio Beta @ EMPAC and The Sanctuary for Independent Media, 3361 6th Ave., Troy, NY

Coming at a moment of profound political and social crisis, What is Democracy reflects on a word we often take for granted.  Join Filmmaker Astra Taylor for a media and activism workshop from 4:00 to 5:30 PM on Studio Beta at EMPAC, and screen the film later that evening at the Sanctuary for Indepndent Media in Troy.