“SERENE AS LOU REED, HALE PERFORMS HIS SONGS WITH A LIGHTNESS LIKE CALEXICO AND THE MELANCHOLY OF HOWE YELLOW” – OX-FANZINE
Lyrics By, Music By, Performer, Recorded By, Mixed By – Terry Lee Hale, Matt Brown
Bound, Chained, Fettered
Flowers for Claudia
Can’t Get Back ( Just Like That )
Signed Blue Angel
WATCH & LISTEN
The songs on “Bound, Chained, Fettered” are life lessons, true stories carried by Hale’s emotional voice that has overcome obstacles and acquired wisdom. It is an album that takes stock; an album that tries to explore the complexities of our present: “The fragile ties that bind, the heavy chains that hold us in place” – according to Terry Lee main source of inspiration for his new album. The sparse, but still detailed production, reinforces this reflective mood. But, what is revealed in the songs is ultimately positive and human. Hale is concerned with depth, not mere repetition or light entertainment.
To record “Bound, Chained, Fettered”, Terry Lee traveled to northern Italy to work with producer Antonio Gramentieri (Hugo Race, Dan Stuart), best known for his work with Sacri Cuori: “Antonio is a fantastic arranger, guitarist and lap steel player. It’s been years since I’ve worked with another guitarist, and the timing for this new recording really felt right” – says Terry Lee.
Hale recorded all parts live with Gramentieri in his studio. In this way, the two managed to create a free, informal mood. Matt Emerson Brown (Soft Hills, Trespassers Williams, The Walkabouts) was responsible for the mix. “I think this record is much more intimate and emotionally engaging than (my previous album) The Long Draw. Before I was the spectator, now I am the character,” says Terry Lee.
The sound has also changed a lot compared to the previous album “The Long Draw”. Many of the songs are subject to light percussion and atmospheric noise. A subtle mix of piano, a Hammond organ, subtle synthesizer use, a bass clarinet, a baritone sax, a mellotron and of course Gramentieri’s 6-string textures forms the basis for Hale’s thoughtful stories.
Terry Lee Hale has been releasing his songs and albums for more than three decades. He was born in Texas, is widely considered one of the godfathers of the Seattle scene (including being the only singer-songwriter on the seminal ’80s compilation Sub Pop 200), and currently resides in Marseille. His œuvre is not merely Americana, roots music or rock and roll. It encompasses all of these, of course, but Hale’s work cannot be pigeonholed, is – like himself – a true original.
“Bound, Chained, Fettered” is a collection of nine musical vignettes. With each song, Hale delves deeper into the mysteries and stories of daily life: The title track is a sad look at the album’s main character and the stresses that affect him. “The Lowdown” is a little nudge and confirmation that even “digital” relationships can last. “Signed Blue Angel” is a poem about death written by the eight-year-old daughter of Terry Lee’s best friend, with a fearlessness that can only be described by a child. With “Reminiscent” and the album’s final lyric lines, Hale asks us, “…why are you so damn hard to find?”.
“Bound, Chained, Fettered” shows Hale deeply rooted in the strengths of his voice and songs. As always, he’s not afraid to explore emotional and musical boundaries. Hale presents with “Bound, Chained, Fettered” an elegant, captivating and probably his best album to date.