The “it” in the modernist slogan “make it new,” other people smarter than me have observed, is the old. Fitting, then, that Christopher Owens is using an album titled The New Testament to revisit the roots of American music. Due out September 30 in North America and a day earlier everywhere else via Turnstile, the follow-up to the former Girls guy’s 2013 solo debut, Lysandre, is, Owens says in a statement on his website, “a testament to honest, earnest, simple songwriting—’three chords and the truth,’ songs inspired by the fundamentals of American music—Gospel, Country, R&B.”
Touches of updated gospel and Americana already run across the two songs Owens has previously shared from the album, “It Comes Back to You” and “Stephen.” But fresh evidence of the country influence emerges with today’s announcement: First, there are the cowboy hats on the album cover, which you can see lower on the page. And then there’s the guitar twang to go with the gospel-powered backing vocals on “Nothing More Than Everything to Me,” a wonderful, doe-eyed love song that arrives today with a Max Minghella-directed video centering on young love at a school dance. Owens, naturally, is wearing a Western-style suit.
Christopher Owens, A New Testament (Turnstile, September 30)
1. My Troubled Heart
2. Nothing More Than Everything To Me
3. It Comes Back To You
5. Oh My Love
6. Nobody’s Business
7. A Heart Akin The Wind
8. Key To My Heart
9. Over And Above Myself
10. Never Wanna See That Look Again
11. Overcoming Me
12. I Just Can’t Live Without You (But I’m Still Alive)
Every new album is a new testament.
It’s a testament to honest, earnest, simple songwriting—”three chords and the truth”, songs inspired by the fundamentals of American music—Gospel, Country, R&B, picking the songs for this record was exciting enough for me, because they’re some of the ones that speak to me the most, of my memories, real life experiences, my battles, my victories. But hearing the record actually take form and come to life was even more exciting than I imagined. The new ground we worked towards—playing with Ed Efira on pedal steel for the first time, all of it was an amazing experience.
This album is nothing if not a testament to the power of music, and to the musicians that made it—John Anderson, Darren Weiss, Makeda—who all helped make Father Son Holy Ghost what it is, Danny Eisenberg—who was introduced to me during the sessions for Broken Dreams Club and played again on Father Son Holy Ghost, this is now our third record together, and I think that’s what shows.
It’s also my third record with Doug Boehm, who’s always made me feel I had the help I needed when I needed it, and the support I needed when I felt strongly about sticking to an idea.
I could go on and on about all these people—David Sutton, who I met recording Lysandre, just watching him play is such a pleasure. It’s the intensity with which all these musicians approach the songs that makes me so excited and proud to play with them again and again.
And the excitement, the joy, the sincerity, the craftsmanship, it’s all captured on this record.
A new testament.