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Walter Martin • The Bear

  From HOLLAND 

Walter Martin  • The Bear

On March 25 th , beloved songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and The Walkmen co-founder Walter Martin released his new album The Bear through his imprint Ile Flottante Music. His sixth studio album since embarking on his acclaimed solo journey just under a decade ago, The Bear is a poignant collection of autobiographical story-songs that Martin described as "the kind of album I've been building towards for my entire career."

Alongside the album, Martin released the official video for "Hunters In The Snow." The album opener sets the stage for The Bear, with Martin drifting from scene to scene as if strolling past a series of paintings in a museum gallery. Of the video, Martin stated, " 'Hunters In The Snow' takes place in the snowy northern landscapes of my dreams. A city boy's pastoral fantasy of hunters and horses, death and decay, getting lost in the storm, and longing for home."

Written during last year's cold, bleak winter in an old 1800s schoolhouse in upstate New York that Martin converted into a studio, The Bear is an unexpectedly warm and inviting collection, one focused on growth and family and the power of human connection. The songs are gentle and engaging, with spacious arrangements often centered around fingerpicked electric guitars and romantic piano flourishes from Oscar-nominated Minari composer Emile Mosseri. Martin's idiosyncratic vocals are similarly amiable, delivered with the loose, casual demeanor of an old friend who's pleased as punch you decided to stop by.

Like much of Martin's catalog, The Bear is chock full of delightfully vivid imagery and fueled by an infectious love of language, but this time around the lyrics leave more to the imagination, stepping away from explicit narrative forms in favor of more abstract and intuitive streams of consciousness. What ultimately emerges is a lifetime's worth of deeply personal snapshots and reflections all jumbled together, a family photo album dumped out on the floor and gathered back up into a swirl of moments and memories that manage to tell a million different stories all at once.

In addition to Mosseri, The Bear features an all-star cast of musicians including guitarist Harrison Whitford (Phoebe Bridgers, Matt Berninger), drummer Josh Adams (Beck, Devendra Banhart), Eric D. Johnson (Bonny Light Horseman), frequent collaborator Josh Kaufman (Bonny Light Horseman, Hiss Golden Messenger, The National), and keyboardist/producer Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter, Craig Finn) who also mixed the album. The resulting songs walk an artful line between folk intimacy and classical sophistication as they contemplate life, death, and everything in between. "I don't think I've had the nerve to be this honest, this autobiographical before," continued Martin. "But more than anything I've ever written, these songs explain who I am and why I make this stuff."

Album highlights include the lead single and title track "The Bear," which tells a story about the past, the present, and the future brought to life with humor and real-life detail. It was featured by Brooklyn VeganUnder The Radar, and Stereogum who stated "Ever since the Walkmen embarked on their hiatus, several of the band's members have had prolific solo careers. But none of them have churned out music at quite the pace as Walter Martin."

Other standouts include: "Easter," a somber and uneasy song that Flood Magazine called "a melancholy reflection on the past"; "Baseball Diamonds," the first song written for The Bear; and "Hiram Hollow," a waltzing tune that toys with American folk traditions as it wrestles with the pain of saying goodbye to a loved one.

 Walter Martin Releases New Album The Bear

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Album Art Created by Hollis Heichemer

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Track Listing:

01) Hunters in the Snow
02) First Voices
03) New Green
04) Baseball Diamonds
05) The Bear
06) Hiram Hollow
07) Easter
08) Not My Mother
09) The Crow Symbolizes Love
10) The Song is Never Done

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DIFFUSION APRIL, 9, 2022


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