“What came before you is why you’re here now,” declares the man born Eric Brandon Pulido. “So embrace both the past and the present.” The frontman of Texan legends Midlake embraces both past and present times for his glorious debut solo album To Each His Own, under his new enigmatic alias E.B. The Younger, released Friday, March 8 on Bella Union via [PIAS]. E.B The Younger has shared an amusing and nostalgic video for lead track 'Used to Be' starring Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl).
Of the track and video Pulido says: “The tune ‘Used To Be’ is an acquiescence towards an imminent coming-of-age and the subsequent peace found in it's acceptance. In short, this is 40 and I'm OK with it. It's human nature to get stuck looking backwards and lamenting the passing of a romanticized time or place. Since we tend to appreciate things more now than when we do in the moment, my battle cry of sorts here is to champion the ‘now’ and carry on with a renewed spirit. And what better way for this mantra to manifest itself than for a bunch of guys playing dress up, cracking open some beers and partaking in America's favorite pastime!? The teams in the video were mainly made up of the guys who played on the record, and although it was a near miracle to get us all there together, it really made the experience that much more special and memorable to say the least. The cherry on top was pulling my longtime friend Jason Lee from his current acting hiatus to play the coach. He hasn't missed a beat and had us all rolling in laughter and feeling like kids again. I'm so thankful we pulled this off and I hope it brings as much of a smile to everyone's face that watches as creating it did mine.”
To Each His Own is a deeply personal record rooted in Pulido’s love of warm, glowing rock, folk and country hues that came of age in the 1970s woven with contemporary recalibrations: guitars ripple, sigh and sizzle alongside gliding keyboards over crisp, choppy and becalmed rhythms. Pulido’s lyrics equally look back and forth, philosophising about his place in the world, the choices he’s made, and where they have taken him. Or, as he describes To Each His Own, “an eleven-song journey through the life and times of a wayward Midlaker seeking to find purpose in an uncharted land. Will he find his way? Listen, and ye shall find.”
Pulido’s “wayward” phase began in 2014 with a break from Midlake, “to invest time in kids and musical projects less physically demanding”, he says. His first project was the transatlantic collective BNQT, a self-described ‘poor man’s Travelling Wilburys’ featuring Pulido, Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), Fran Healy (Travis), Jason Lytle (Granddaddy) and Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand) who recorded the 2017 album BNQT – Volume 1. But To Each His Own is all Pulido – or rather, E.B. The Younger.
“It’s an antiquated way of naming a younger member of a family,” he explains. “I’m expressing, simply, that something greater came before me. It’s countering the idea in today’s culture that everything revolves around ourselves, that we’re the most important thing in the world. I feel that humility is a lost virtue – you only have to look at America’s current leader to see just how lost - which I want this record to represent. Honesty, empathy, love.”
In this case, honesty begins at home. Solo debutantes typically distance themselves from their musical past, but Pulido freely acknowledges Midlake’s presence on To Each His Own, from the three Midlakers in his backing band to an album title that stems from his memories of band discussions. Says Pulido: “It’s very common in bands to have artistic differences, and we were no exception. Saying ‘To each his own’ was almost a way to collectively acquiesce and move forward when differences would arise. It’s OK that we feel differently, because both opinions are valid. The phrase is also about me doing something on my own, a statement that it’s OK to define who you are outside of what has defined you before.”
With Pulido on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, he drafted in Midlakers (and BNQT contributors) Joey McClellan (electric guitar), McKenzie Smith (drums) and Jesse Chandler (flute), who dovetail with Scott Lee (bass), Daniel Creamer (keyboards) and Beau Bedford (keyboards) from local country-funksters The Texas Gentlemen to form an emphatic ‘alt. Wrecking Crew’ of session players. Bedford is also the album’s principal producer, while studio engineer and Centro-matic drummer Matt Pence acted as the overarching producer, alongside Pulido, as well as adding percussion and occasional drums.
E.B. The Younger will be on tour in the UK with Bella Union label mate John Grant in January and February next year before returning for three UK headline shows in April.
Preorder album and listen to 'Used To Be' here.
Photo Credit: Erin Rambo