Walter Martin Shares Two New Songs From Forthcoming Album
Renowned songwriter and Walkmen co-founder Walter Martin will release his new album The World At Night on January 31st via Ile Flottante Music. Produced by multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman (The National, Hiss Golden Messenger, The War On Drugs), the album is Martin's most richly orchestrated and grandly cinematic collection to date, as well as his most poignant. Today he shared two new songs from The World At Night: "The Soldier," a vivid character portrait sung from the perspective of his 96-year-old grandfather-in-law, and "That's All I Need," a burst of humor and celebration about familial love.
"'The Soldier' definitely looks back, but it's also about the present," Walter told Flood Magazine. "I wanted to put forward the long story of a life well-lived and my impression of what it might feel like to look back on such a life from present-day. There's a lot of stuff jammed into this song: war, family tragedy, faith, hope, love. I guess I'm really looking at what it all adds up to."
He continued about "That's All I Need," stating "I guess I just wanted a moment of pure joy on the album. I think it adds depth to the whole album. In my mind it's more about familial love and not really romantic love - more like about a longing to be loved and to be with the people you love."
With sweeping strings and lavish horns fleshing out his spare, understated vocal delivery, The World At Night calls to mind everything from Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits to Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson. Dedicated to his dear friend and late Jonathan Fire*Eater bandmate Stewart Lupton, it balances soul-baring intimacy with sophisticated arrangements as they walk a delicate tightrope between despair and hope, faith and doubt, security and uncertainty. In addition to Kaufman, the album features an all-star cast of musicians including Sam Kassirer and Zach Hickman (Josh Ritter), Stuart Bogie (Arcade Fire, The Hold Steady), Rob Moose (Bon Iver, The National), and pianist Thomas Bartlett (Glen Hansard, Norah Jones).
Lupton's memory looms large on this record and his spirit informs the music in ways both explicit and implicit. Album opener "October" sets the tone from the outset, pairing exuberant music and ominous lyrics about fate and mortality as Martin sings, "The trees have gone bald / Guess the world is getting older / October is here." It's followed by the title track "The World At Night (For Stew)" which grapples with the confusion of loss and draws much of its imagery from a collage that Stewart made that now hangs above Walter's writing desk. In a recent interview with Billboard, he stated, "I'm not really a religious person, but I do believe in ghosts and in magic and in plenty of beautiful stuff that I can't see. Writing this album - and especially this song - was an effort to get closer to that stuff. And to Stew."
The World At Night is Walter's fifth solo effort and follows the release of 2018's Reminisce Bar & Grill which he first unveiled during a performance at NPR Music's Tiny Desk. Since then, he has remained busy as an award-winning songwriter and composer. Last month, he co-wrote the song "Walking on a String" with The National's Matt Berninger for Zach Galifianakis' Netflix film Between Two Ferns. Martin also has a cameo in the film alongside Berninger and Phoebe Bridgers. He wrote the main theme song for the recent children's favorite movie Missing Link as well, and landed both a Clio Award and a Bronze Award at Cannes for his role scoring a series of four music videos for Cheerios designed to help foster conversations with kids about inclusion, diversity, and kindness.
Listen to "The Soldier" below!
02) The World at Night (for Stew)
03) Little Summer Fly
04) To The Moon
05) Hey Joe
06) That's All I Need
07) First Thing I Remember
09) The Soldier
10) Banana Boat
Photo Credit: Melissa Martin