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The eighth full-length from singer/songwriter Jason Eady, To The Passage Of Time first took shape in a frenetic burst of creativity back in the doldrums of quarantine. Over the course of a three-day period last August, the Fort Worth, Texas-based musician wrote more than half of the album, locking himself in his bedroom and emerging only when he felt completely burnt out. “I went in thinking I was going to write just one song—but then the songs kept coming, and I didn’t want to break the spell,” he recalls. “I’d go to sleep with the guitar by the bed, pick it back up when I woke up the next morning, and do it all again. I’d never really experienced anything like that before.”
With its nuanced exploration of aging and loss and the fragility of life, To The Passage Of Time arrives as the Mississippi-bred artist’s most lyrically complex and compelling work to date. As Eady reveals, the album’s understated power stems in part from the intentionality of the recording process, which involved enlisting Band of Heathens’ Gordy Quist as producer and gathering many of Eady’s favorite musicians he’s played with over the years (including Noah Jeffries on mandolin and fiddle, Mark Williams on upright bass and cello, and Geoff Queen on Dobro, pedal steel, and lap steel). “I really love egoless players—people who know how to serve the song,” notes Eady, who recorded at The Finishing School in Austin and made ample use of the studio’s goldmine of vintage gear. “We started every song with just me on guitar, and if someone felt like they had a part to add, they had to come forward and say what they heard there. Everything was built from the ground up, and because of that there’s no filler—nobody playing to show off or take up space.”
The follow-up to 2018’s I Travel On—an album that “overflows with enough spontaneous energy to power a fleet of Ford pickups,” according to NPR’s glowing review—To The Passage Of Time shows the full force of that approach on the hard-driving lead single “Back to Normal.” Like all of the album, “Back to Normal” was recorded live with no overdubs, bringing gritty guitar work and galloping rhythms to an urgent meditation on the inevitability of change. “I wanted to write about how, when things get disrupted, you can never really return to the way they were before,” says Eady. “No matter how big or small that disruption is, you have to accept that change is a fundamental part of life, and just keep moving forward.” The result: an immediately catchy track that’s pragmatic but hopeful, proving Eady’s gift for turning uncomfortable truths into songs with a potent impact.
On the album’s exquisite centerpiece “French Summer Sun”—a devastating epic astoundingly captured in the very first take—Eady shares one of his most riveting pieces of storytelling yet. “My grandfather fought at Battle of Anzio in Italy in World War II, and a few years ago on tour I went to visit the beach where the battle took place,” says Eady. “I was struck by how small the beach was—…