Alberta Cross has become a one-man army following the amicable departure of co-founder, bassist and dear friend Terry Wolfers in 2013 after nearly a decade, leaving frontman Petter Stakee 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 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 a lovely stripped version of “Isolation,” his first Artist of The Month installment for Crave Onstage. Today he continues with the yearning folk beauty of “Western State”:
“I wrote the song about the instability of life; about working in the grind and the struggle of trying to get by in society itself,” Stakee told Paste back in October. “I feel that pretty much on a daily basis as a musician; however, I actually wrote the song about a character working a 9-7 cubicle job (the average working soul if you will). Even though that might sound like a safer route, sometimes it might not be.”