Narnack Records Signs Bay Area Alt Folk Rock Artist Garrett Pierce
Narnack Records is thrilled to announce that it has signed Bay Area alt/folk/rock/ artist Garrett Pierce. His passionate and poignant debut full-length for the label, City of Sand, will be released later this year.
“Garrett was introduced to me through a mutual friend, Payam Bavafa,” says Narnack Records founder Shahin Ewalt. “I listened to a demo of City of Sand while on a road trip. The album really took a hold of me as I drove through the desert. It’s full of beautiful sounds and rich storytelling that compels you listen to the record from start to finish. It says a lot when you can actually listen to a whole record these days and love it, as opposed to trying to find certain tracks. City of Sand stands by itself as a whole. Garrett’s music fits the diversity of the label and we welcome him to the Narnack family.”
“After meeting with Shahin over a Guinness around the holidays, I realized that he really understood the album and saw the potential in my music,” says Pierce. “For me it was a perfect fit. I never felt comfortable being lumped in with the folkies – City of Sand is more diverse than that. It has moments of louder electric guitars, horns, country-slide-guitar, all rotating in and out of the lyric-oriented acoustic ballads. Narnack was the kind of label that wouldn’t pigeon-hole me, and would bring me to the kind of audience I wanted – one that listens to Lee “Scratch” Perry, The Fall and Langhorne Slim at the same time. That’s what I listen too: punk, dub, country, and, above all, real songwriters regardless of genre.
“I always surround myself with musicians who care about the lyrics as much as the compositions – and I need that in my label too. When Shahin started asking me about certain lines in my songs, I can tell he really listened. Most people don’t find the time to sit down and really let the prose reveal itself. He did, and that’s why I’m so excited to be working with a label as committed to content as Narnack.”
Garrett Pierce pens songs that peek into that same dark, yet optimistic place that Henry Miller and Leonard Cohen tapped into. His voice seems to soar alongside acoustic ballads or dirgey rock songs with the emotional confidence of someone who has found his path after years of yearning.
Born and raised in the Los Angeles area, Garrett spent the last decade in San Francisco and Davis, CA where he delivered two full-length albums on Crossbill Records. The first, Like A Moth, was culled from stripped down sessions in basements, closets and the occasional studio. His second record, All Masks, was musically and technically more accomplished. Featuring lush strings, and cast of 10 musicians, it showcased his talents as both a composer and lyricist.
There is no doubt that Garrett is special among the newer generation of songwriters. His dedication toward his craft, and his confessional and honest storytelling, make him among the great young talents in the Bay Area right now. His new record, City of Sand, will be released later this year on Narnack Records, and is his most concise and striking work to date.
City of Sand was recorded with the help of producer/musician Eric Ruud, Tim Wright, and others in the January hills of Bennet Valley, a small wooded hamlet just up from Santa Rosa, CA. There is a confidence and calm that occurs in the record that can only have happened in such a place. The greens of those winter mountains helped Garrett and his team assemble songs that perfectly encapsulate the stories that flow through City of Sand. Stories that were inspired by Garrett’s real life experiences in the jungles of Guatemala, the streets of San Francisco, and the unending fields of California’s flatlands.
There will always be a juxtaposition in Garrett’s work that balances between the sweet and soaring melodic world and his stark biting lyrical commentary. There is purpose to this formula. He wants to draw you in with a radio-friendly tune, but challenge you with lyrics that explore that shadowy, hidden side of yourself.
City of Sand accomplishes that very goal. The album begins with the catchy number “Everybody Breaks,” a song which bends a pop melody into something very different. The album then evolves through genres from alt-country, straight-forward rock, and back to minimal folk ballads.
We end with a man searching for a lost love after he’s taken a plane to the other side of the world. A sojourn from your daily grind, City of Sand is an album that deserves to be devoured whole. To serve it best, sit down – alone – libretto in hand, and allow yourself to be drawn back to a time when lyrics were at the center of it all.
See/Hear Garrett Pierce Live:
Feb 18th at The Deva Cafe in Modesto
Feb 22nd at The Hub in Sacramento
Mar 2nd at Silverlake Lounge in L.A. (8 PM sharp!)
Photos: Peter Ellenby.