The title track made its way onto the show Grey’s Anatomy, while critics and live audiences alike extolled the band’s exquisite brand of melancholy. In the intervening years, music has been Asay’s refuge through dark times… He’s gained insight into both his family’s struggles and his heart’s way of perpetually tripping him up. The making of Coeur d’Alene became Asay’s lifeline; the end result will prove similarly significant for those who give it a true listen. Few songwriters possess the poetic dial-up of Asay. With Coeur d’Alene, he communicates a new maturity and generosity of spirit.
The album takes its name from the Coeur d’Alene mountain pass, a place that Asay considers transcendent. He first encountered the Coeur d’Alene pass when driving from Billings, Montana to Portland, Oregon—writing bad checks all along the way. The last check anyone accepted on that journey was in Missola, Montana, and as he journeyed from there to Spokane, he came upon Coeur d’Alene. “I was so full of excitement,” Asay recalls.
“It was spectacular and the sun was setting… It was my great escape.” The album’s first track, “Aaman Crane,” explores the longing Asay felt for his first love… a love he admits has impacted all other romances since. (“I have been chasing that love my entire life,” Asay says, “thinking it could be replicated. Now I realize that the reason that it felt so sweet was because it was forbidden and new. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that some things cannot be recreated or made new again.”) “Lonely is a Place” is a hang-onto-your-heart anthem, while “Nebraska, Nebraska” and “The Perfect of Days” pay exquisite homage to his mother and the brother he lost.
“Coeur d’Alene looks back at my family and their hardships,” Asay reveals. “As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize—as I think we all do—that life is difficult. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to be a single mother raising three kids in the middle of nowhere with no resources. I’ve gained immense sympathy of sorts for my parents, given how hard it is just to take care of myself.” Recorded over the course of a week at by Jim Bentley at The Fort Brooklyn in Bushwick.
Coeur d’Alene features appearances by NYC artists Amy Bezunartea (Kiam Records), pianist Jamie Cowperthwait, singer/accordian player Jim Andralis, drummer Sam Lazzara, singer/ukelele player Larry Krone, flutist Tracy Pratt, violinist Pinky Weitzman, and Mason Brown on banjo. Coeur d’Alene is the first offering from Asay Girl Records, Asay’s own label. (“Asay Girl” was Clint’s nickname as a kid in Wyoming… the only boy on his school’s gymnastics team.) Clint Michigan’s first album, Hawthorne to Hennepin, was released on Kiam Records, the label belonging to singer-songwriter Jennifer O’Connor. Visit clintmichigan.com Read more on Last.fm.
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