Throughout his 25 years as a singer/songwriter, Peter Mulvey has most often chosen the less traveled path. Whether recording in the Boston subway system, busking on the streets of Dublin, dabbling in spoken word or touring by bicycle, he’s defined himself by a singular undefinability. But it’s just that path that led him to Ani DiFranco, who invited him to her Big Blue Studio in New Orleans to record his latest album, Are You Listening?
DiFranco, who served as producer, gushes about the album, calling it “organic and real and unaffected by the whims of fashion.” With the help of DiFranco’s touring band on backing instrumentals, Are You Listening? debuted March 24th on Righteous Babe Records.
Today, Elmore is premiering Mulvey’s live performance video for “The Other Morning Over Coffee,” a track from the new release. “It took seven years to write this song.” Mulvey shares. “The chorus at the end came first (“I’m only swimming upstream… just like you… for the life of me….”) and from there the job was to answer the question: who would say that, and why? It took a long time, and a lot of soul-searching conversations with my dearest friends, to answer that question. Plus it took JT Nero, from Birds of Chicago, to write the verse melody, which unlocked the tone of the whole thing.”
The result is a song that’s both a little silly and a little sad, a nostalgic but life affirming ode to an old friend who has a penchant for making grandiose statements– on love, art, or his new and improved self– and quickly contradicting them.
The simplicity of the black and white video and the recording heightens the intimate feel of the song. Plucking gently on his acoustic guitar, Mulvey glances into the camera in conversation, as he shares intimate moments of friendship in a raspy croon. When he hits the chorus and floats on the perfectly placed high notes, you’ll be hard pressed not to feel a true camaraderie with Mulvey, and recall those larger-than-life friends of your own.