The Men I Love began its journey at a meeting in New York where someone asked me to name a new collection and I said without thinking -The Men I Love- and thought, I know, this is the songbook I sing, the New American Songbook, the great songs that bear re-interpretation from the great writers that emerged during and post rock ‘n’ roll and everything that followed it. The songbook I grew up with.
Subsequently I was asked to appear at The Café Carlyle in New York, and I met up with Simon Wallace, who was a collaborator of old, and with whom I’d made some of my best work in the past. We hadn’t played together for several years, and working together again, with all that had happened in the meantime, was a joy. I had a very clear idea of the repertoire for The Men I love, and being a minimalist, my desired accompaniment requires a great deal of re-arranging. Simon was more than up for it, and we found the journey of each song over several months, and the collection began to have its own life. The New York trip was a blast, and on returning we decided to record this as my next album.
It’s taken longer to make than anything I’ve done before, in large part because I wanted to get as close as possible to the spirit of live performances but still make a record in the traditional sense. Simon and I laid down each song live, over and over, until the voice and piano performances came as close to that feeling you get when the song is singing itself as it does live.
Then we added everything else, and then took it nearly all away again. Then that process repeated itself with the photos and the cover design. All along the way people who shared this vision have been towers of support and strength, so that all in all, this has been a long, but revealing labour of love.