The “gripping tunes delivered with Corley’s dramatic drawl” (Irish Times) on Zero Moon are a refracted reflection of his surreal experience of dying, on stage, in the Netherlands 2015, coming out of that, somehow alive but not unscathed. David says, “Making this record was a true odyssey, personally. I thought I wasn't long for the world, I wanted to record as many songs as I could in order to document my life.”
Buy CD from Wolfe Island Records, or visit Bandcamp, iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, or Spotify at the links below.
The fact that Indiana-born-and-bred David Corley had an “overnight” success with his debut album, Available Light, released on November 18, 2014, when he was 53 years of age, just may indicate that Corley took a more jagged road onto the roots-rock scene in 2014. Thankfully, the rave reviews made this “shrewd strategy” pay off, much of them pouring in from across the USA & Europe, comparing Corley’s vocals, music and lyrics to Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. Continental Record Services (CRS) took notice and then distributed Available Light throughout Europe in 2015, where Corley’s “striking new voice” (Uncut) was resonating deeply with sold-out audiences in Italy, Ireland, the UK, and the Netherlands and he had to acclimate to being in sudden demand for live performances.
Corley didn’t have a hell of a lot of time to bask in the glow of Available Light, however, let alone his first major tour. At the end of a riveting set at the Take Root Festival in Groningen, Netherlands, David said to the audience: ‘my heart goes out to all of you’ and his producer and multi-instrumentalist Hugh Christopher Brown recalls: “David turned to me to count the song in, looked me in the eye and collapsed on stage, just down on a knee, then folded back with his guitar on top of him. And that was it. He had a major heart attack.”
The “gripping tunes delivered with Corley’s dramatic drawl” (Irish Times) on Zero Moon, recorded and produced by Brown, are a refracted reflection of his surreal experience of dying, on stage, in the Netherlands 2015, coming out of that, somehow alive but not unscathed. David says, “Making this record was a true odyssey, personally. I thought I wasn’t long for the world, I wanted to record as many songs as I could in order to document my life. Just to get songs out. I threw out 20 or 25 songs to Chris, unconsciously. Old songs, new songs, just what came out. There was no plan. We sifted through them and eventually came up with Lights Out ( a limited release 2016 EP ), and Zero Moon. Some of the songs do deal with life and death, but it just worked out that way.”
The opening tracks: “A Vision/Vision Pilgrim” seem to set off from the flat-line, and almost previews the album’s journey to come: “Oh, I remember, I remember everything….”
David was fortunate enough to dodge his own wake, but in “Never Say Your Name”, he found a fortune of inspiration at “Finnegan’s Wake.” He says: “I’ve studied Joyce’s novel, off and on for about 25 years. It’s a lexicon, a magical book to me. Had this little piano bit hanging around for about a decade, but never wrote the song. It’s really just a love song, a personal lament, – but also some sort of amalgamation of the last 20 or 30 pages of the novel, which are so beautiful….. the River, flowing along in the dream, telling a magical tale of life, and love and loss, and going on.”
At the album’s dead center is “Zero Moon”, the majestic title track, where Corley invites the listener into…
…”a past-midnight tune, and it’s past-midnight too
it’s a zero moon
a zero moon
and time, – it isn’t happenin’
and time, time, – it could be a thousand
I think maybe I’ll leave my life…in the hands of a friend
Many more illuminating songs revolve around Zero Moon and Corley brings his unique sense of humor (and wordplay) to the celebration of life and death in spades. On “Down With The Universe” there’s a mix of fun with a pun that David says “makes the song sound upside down until you listen to the words.” And on the album’s penultimate bittersweet ode to love and loss, Corley lingers in evocative memories of “A Lifetime of Mornings”:
“but the last thing I remember
is your face in the darkness
sweet milk and honey
soft magic sorceress
a lifetime of mornings
your breath on my pillow
we’re sliding through doorways
suddenly you’re just not here.”
Available on CD and digital download from Bandcamp, on iTunes, and streaming on Apple Music and Spotify.
Zero Moon was released by CRS in Europe in May 2017 to coincide with David’s spring tour and in the USA and Canada on November 18, 2017.
All music and lyrics by David Corley
Produced by Hugh Christopher Brown