He’s making a new album full of new music.
He just started a new Kickstarter campaign to help fund that album.
And he’s moving into a new home in Madison, Tennessee, just a few miles north of Nashville.
Still, sometimes he misses writing songs in his wife’s old closet.
The singer, songwriter and guitarist, who will be performing Saturday March 9, 2013 on the Straight to Ale stage as part of the brewery’s Folk Mission series, took a break from installing ceiling fans and cleaning up at the new place late last week to explain.
“There wasn’t really a place in the old house where I could get away to write,” he said. “Then we knocked out a wall and built a sloping walk-in closet for Annie. It wasn’t very big, but I had a little desk in the back, beside her dresser. So I would write songs in there.”
There was barely room for Hecht to move in the closet. One wrong turn and his guitar banged against the dresser. Push back too far in his chair and he suddenly had dresses draped in his face. But Hecht says the confined space helped him focus on writing songs like “Thirty” and “The Hard Way” for his last album, Last of the Long Days.
“I just remember the moments of writing those songs and being excited about them in the closet.”
He is just as enthusiastic about the 12 songs being recording for the as-yet-untitled new album, many of which he will be performing Saturday night in Huntsville.
Hecht’s music weaves together tight, accessible melodies, a soulful singing voice and intimate, storytelling lyrics.
The stories are not are not always from his own life, but they are always real.
“I used to write stuff that was based on my own emotions and I think when you can not do that, you kind of grow up as a songwriter,” Hecht says. “I was an English major in college and, on some level, it’s kind of like reality-based fiction. I try to write about somebody else’s perspective from seeing them in their lives. I think that’s more interesting than just trying to express myself all the time.”
The new album will take on more of an Americana sound and include some heavier material than 2008’s Late Last Night and 2011’s Last of the Long Days. He also brought in co-writers for the first time, collaborating with Wyatt Easterling on two songs and Amy Speace on another.
“That was an interesting process and it makes it a little different than what I’ve been doing,” Hecht said. “I got out of my head a little bit and had a chance to talk about it as we went through the songs.”
Some recording for the album has already been done with a band that includes Will Kimbrough on guitar, Marco Giovino on drums and Daniel Clarke on keyboards. Vocal tracks, mixing and other production work remains.
“How much we’re able to do with it will be somewhat dictated by how much money we’re able to raise,” Hecht says.
With fewer record companies willing to invest in artists that are not already established, an increasing number of projects are being funded by fans through sites such as Kickstarter.com.
“A lot of the labels are playing it safe now because it’s harder to sell albums and recoup their investment,” Hecht said. “So it’s up to us to come up with the money. The concept of a presale is the logical extension of that. People buy the albums ahead of time so you’re able to make the album with that money.”
To help sell his new album, Hecht is making his own brand of chin music with a playful video featuring a character he calls Bobe Hectik.
Hectik even comes with his own backstory: He’s a sassy southerner who was a minor celebrity in the past and is making his first appearance after a long time away from the spotlight.
“Annie made him up a couple years ago,” Hecht said, laughing. “We did a little music video of Bobe Hectik singing Long Black Veil. And a few people would ask from time to time, ‘When’s the next Bobe Hectik video.’ I don’t remember who it was, but somebody asked me that question right when I was working on a concept for the Kickstarter video. And it clicked.”
Annie wrote most of the script and friend Korby Lenker, also a Nashville-based singer/songwriter, handled the video production.
“Bobe is evolving,” he said. “I’ll be releasing some outtakes at some point during the campaign. We have some good ones.”
Bobe Hectik, however, will not be making an appearance at Straight to Ale on Saturday. It will be Hecht, his guitar and a slew of new songs.
After his Huntsville show, Hecht plans to keep driving south – all the way to the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. In late March and early April, he’ll make appearances in Birmingham, Knoxville, Chattanooga and a handful of North Carolina cities.
“It will be fun to make this run with new music and try it out in front of people as much as I can.”
After all, Hecht would like to add one more item to his list of new things: Listeners.
Date: Saturday, March 9th
Location: Straight to Ale Brewery
Tickets: Purchase tickets online or folkmission.org or by calling 256-714-2416
About the Author
Since beginning his career as a military journalist, Paul Wallen has worked as a writer, editor and designer at newspapers such as The Baltimore Sun, San Diego Union Tribune and Huntsville Times. He relocated from Huntsville to St. Petersburg, Florida, in 2012 to become a Senior Designer at the Tampa Bay Times and Creative Director of Bay, a glossy magazine featuring Tampa Bay’s social scene, luxury estates, fashions, cuisine and travel. Paul enjoys listening to and writing about music in his spare time. His other interests include art, books, travel, movies, sports, his dog Latte, vanilla lattes and giant pandas.