The new Reincarnated, coming out just a day shy of the original's one-year anniversary, is indeed stripped down from its fully fleshed out predecessor. "The acoustic guitar was no longer the lead voice (on Karma), which had always been the case on my records previously," Tasjan acknowledges. Recorded in Nashville with producer and multi-instrumentalist Patrick Damphier, Reincarnated's arrangements have more space and atmosphere, especially for Tasjan's vocal performances. "It's kind of like inviting people to sort of watch me sing to myself," Tasjan explains, "and rediscover in a very personal way the power of music. Music is such a powerful thing because it's one of the times people will really let their guard down and open themselves up to an experience."
Tasjan wrote the elegiac, piano-led "My Whole Life" for the original Karma For Cheap but "never quite got the right version down." It resurfaced as he and Damphier were working on Reincarnated, and the latter encouraged Tasjan to see if it would work in a quieter sonic setting. "I wanted to do something new for people to come back to," Tasjan notes. "I didn't want to just put out the same track list again. I knew right away I was singing something that was very personal, and it seems like in a lot of ways our culture has shifted, particularly in the past few years, to a place where people are interested in hearing somebody's original experience again. It felt like the right time to put out a song like this."
Calling "My Whole Life" "a song about perspective," Tasjan says he and director Michael Kessler worked to create a series of surreal images to create a Groundhog's Day-style scenario of recurring, though slightly different, events -- and also show off a seriously large and flamboyant shoe collection that Tasjan admits almost all belongs to him.
"It was a little bit of a task," Tasjan says of the clip. "A little bit of the message of that song is we come to those times where we just feel this is kind of...the end, y'know? Surely it must be the end, and about those moments that are creating space for new beginnings and for other interesting things to happen. We found ourselves getting stuck when we tried to get too specific in (the video), so having these more meta, very surreal visual adaptations of what that phrase could mean just felt like a better fit. The multiple styles of visually representing that just felt like a good way to get that feeling across."
Tasjan will celebrate Reincarnated's release with an Aug. 31 show in Nashville, then set out on a six-week solo tour on which he'll be playing multiple instruments. Tasjan has also started his next recording project, with 16 songs recorded and five that he considers finished, and he's already seeing the impact of the more intimate direction he took with Reincarnated.
"It's much more of a personal record than anything I’ve made before," Tasjan says of the new material. "My songs tend to be observational, but this one feels pretty direct in many ways. There's a real, true, honest part of myself in every song I've finished so far. And it's been the return to a real simplicity of production, acoustic (guitar), drums, bass and piano. It's a very simple record, but I think there's some new complexities, musically, that I’m going for. It's just feeling really right to let those things speak without too much overhanging in terms of production."
August 31st - Nashville, TN Live On The Green (Karma For Cheap: Reincarnated Release Show)
September 6th - Sisters, OR Sisters Folk Festival
September 12th - Nashville, TN Americanafest
September 14th - St. Petersburg, FL The Coliseum (WMNF’s 40th Birthday Party)
September 15th - St. Augustine, FL Sing Out Loud Fest w/ Saint Paul & The Broken Bones
September 27th - Johnson City, TN The Down Home
September 28th - Roseland, VA Devils Backbone Hoopla
October 8th - Seattle, WA Columbia City Theater
October 9th - Portland, OR The Old Church
October 11th - Novato, CA Hopmonk Tavern
October 12th - San Francisco, CA Cafe Du Nord
October 13th - Felton, CA Felton Music Hall
October 15th - Los Angeles, CA Bootleg Theater
October 17th - Austin, TX Cactus Cafe
October 18th - Houston, TX Mucky Duck
October 19th - Dallas, TX Wild Detectives
October 20th - Little Rock, AR White Water Tavern
November 29th - Louisville, KY Headliners w/ Todd Snider
November 30th - Lexington, KY Manchester Music Hall w/ Todd Snider