Transition often ignites new forms of inspiration and exploration, particularly in song. Following the departure of Alberta Cross co-founder, bassist and dear friend Terry Wolfers in 2013 after nearly a decade, only frontman Petter Stakee remained as the sole permanent member. Determined to continue down the path they’d cut through three albums and a handful of releases, he soldiered on with support from the band’s devoted following.
Stakee built the new songs for what would become last year’s tremendously good self-titled effort in casual late-night jam sessions with friends, at various bars around lower Manhattan. Ready to fire, he recorded the tracks in Woodstock, N.Y., at Dreamland, an old cathedral church converted into a recording studio. The solitary venture inspired Petter to try new musicial elements and direction for the Alberta Cross LP, layering horn sections through out the 12 track collection and embracing a much stronger early Neil Young bend than on previous releases. Co-produced by Stakee and Claudius Mittendorfer (Temples, Interpol, Johnny Marr), the offering is a fluid expansion of experimentation and instrumentation under Stakee’s pondering, weary vocal a stone’s throw from Ben Bridwell in Band of Horses.
Ample evidence is found in “Isolation,” the first song Stakee completed for the album. The track is a poignant reflection through a gently somber vocal, a gorgeous reminder of the value of connectivity between heart and craft. Watch Petter perform a hypnotizing rendition of “Isolation” for CraveOnstage, his first Artist of The Month installment: