The eighth full-length from singer/songwriter Jason Eady,To The Passage Of Time first took shape ina frenetic burst of creativity back in the doldrums of quarantine. Over the course of a three-day period last August, the Fort Worth, Texas-based musician wrote more than half of the album, locking himself in his bedroom and emerging only when he felt completely burnt out. “I went inthinking I was going to write just one song—but then the songs kept coming, and I didn’t want tobreak the spell,” he recalls. “I’d go to sleep with the guitar by the bed, pick it back up when I wokeup thenext morning, and do it all again. I’d never really experienced anything like that before.” With its nuanced exploration of aging and loss and the fragility of life,To The Passage Of Time arrives as the Mississippi-bred artist’s most lyrically complex andcompelling work to date. As Eady reveals,the album’s understated power stems in part from the intentionality of the recording process, which involved enlisting Band of Heathens’ Gordy Quist as producer and gathering many of Eady’sfavorite musicians he’splayed with over the years (including Noah Jeffries on mandolin and fiddle,Mark Williams on upright bass and cello, and Geoff Queen on Dobro, pedal steel, and lap steel). “I really love egoless players—people who know how to serve the song,” notes Eady,who recorded at The Finishing School in Austin and made ample use of the studio’s goldmine of vintage gear. “Westarted every song with just me on guitar, and if someone felt like they had a part to add, they had tocome forward and say what they heard there. Everything was built from the ground up, and becauseof that there’s no filler—nobody playing to show off or take up space.”
On the album’s exquisite centerpiece “French Summer Sun”—a devastating epic astoundinglycaptured in the very first take—Eady shares one of his most riveting pieces of storytelling yet. “Mygrandfather fought at Battle of Anzio in Italy in World War II, and a few years ago on tour I went tovisit the beach where the battle took place,” says Eady. “I was struck by how small the beach was—Irealized that if my grandfather had made one wrong move he would’ve been killed, and I wouldn’tbe standing there thinking those thoughts. I ended up writing this song about how when someonedies in war, it isn’t just killing that person: it’s killing the generations of people who would havecome from them.” Building to a shattering plot twist in its final moments, “French Summer Sun”drifts between its somberly sung chorus and spoken-word verses, attaining an unlikely transcendenceas Eady sheds equally poignant light on the horror of war and the ephemeral beauty of everyday life.
Looking back on the making of To The Passage Of Time, Eady points to such unexpected moments asthe recording of the album-opening “Nothing On You.” “Apart from my guitar, the only twoinstruments on that song are cello and steel guitar—which is a combination I’d never heard before,and gave it a whole new character that took my breath away,” he says. But for the most part, Eadyachieved a rare outcome in the album’s production: a direct expression of his deep-rooted andhighly specific vision. “I write my songs on acoustic guitar, so sometimes in the studio things takedifferent turns and end up not really matching with what you had in your head,” says Eady. “Butbecauseof the approach we took with this album, there’s hardly anything that came out differentfrom what I’d envisioned. This is 100 percent the album I hoped I would make.”
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