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Exclusive: Tommy Alexander Makes Heartache Sound Fun On His Jangling Title Track, “Old News”

Tommy Alexander by Luke Buckley
Tommy Alexander by Luke Buckley

Making it as a musician today can require a heavy helping of DIY spirit, and Tommy Alexander has that in spades. It carried the Santa Barbara born musician all the way to Burlington, Vermont, where he founded Jenke Arts, a nonprofit artists’ collective and record label, and eventually all the way back west, where he found a new artistic home (at least for the moment) in Portland.

Once in Portland, Alexander connected with producer Mike Coykendall, who has worked with a slew of indie darlings, including M. Ward, She and Him and Blitzen Trapper, and is now set to release his latest record, Old News, on March 23rd.

Today, Elmore is premiering the title track from his upcoming release, “Old News.”  Alexander skillfully juxtaposes the upbeat playfulness of jangling, honky-tonk leaning instrumentals with lyrics that ring of the sadness of a fading romance, “I got three and she wants four/I’m not in love with you no more.” Alexander’s vocals recall the earnest warble of Conor Oberst, but expand into a unique, infectious indie rock style all his own.

He talks about the track’s spontaneous inception, recalling, “My friend and I were stuck in small town southern Oregon for a couple days waiting to get the car fixed, and I wrote this tune in a Motel 6. It just came out onto my tape recorder, and it felt so, so good to play. The beginning of the end.”

Alexander will soon head out on tour, including a hometown stop in Santa Barbara on March 5th opening for Michael McDonald. Below, you can give the track a listen via SoundCloud, and also check out footage from an in-studio recording. Stay on the lookout for some of Alexander’s A-list pals who helped out with the record, including Rob Burger of Iron and Wine on piano​ and Jay Cobb Anderson of Fruition on guitar.


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