After issuing a handful of tour-only EPs in recent years, Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy is readying his first proper live album, “Colin Meloy Sings Live,” for an April 8 release via Kill Rock Stars.
The material was culled from multiple nights of Meloy’s brief tour in 2006 and features stripped-down Decemberists tunes, as well as interjected verses of songs from R.E.M., Fleetwood Mac and the Smiths, among others.
Over the years, listeners have gravitated towards the Decemberists’ progressive style of songwriting, but Meloy says their catalog really has sprung from this type of sparse presentation. “All I’m really doing is playing the song how it was initially written, with me in a room with just a guitar. Then we later build around it,” Meloy tells Billboard.com. “There is a quality to them that is nice to get back to, in how they were initially written.”
He continues, “I’m just following some of my idols — Robyn Hitchcock and Grant Lee Phillips, who have never let their songs exist in just one arrangement, whether it’s with a band or solo.”
Meloy says he wanted a much more “intimate” feeling for the live record, something that would reflect his earlier days. “The first solo tour I did, we were purposely going into really small rooms just because, for myself doing a solo tour, it was an opportunity to get back to the kind of shows I was doing before the Decemberists started,” he explains. “The next solo tour moved to bigger venues, and I did whatever I could do retain that feeling.”
April will see Meloy back on the road for another U.S. solo tour, playing mid-sized clubs and theaters. Another tour EP is slated, comprised of Sam Cooke covers. But before that gets rolling, he’s heading into the studio next month to lay the groundwork for the next Decemberists record.
“We’re going into the studio for about 10 days, to knock out some stuff that we don’t know what we’re going to do with,” he says. “But we also have a couple months blocked out in the summer to work on the next proper record.” Fans can expect to hear some of that material during those April shows. “There’s a whole slew of new material for the next Decemberists project that I’ll be toying around with here and there,” he promises.
Here are Colin Meloy’s tour dates:
April 7: Austin, Texas (La Zona Rosa)
April 8: Dallas (Granada Theatre)
April 10: Atlanta (Variety Playhouse)
April 11: Asheville, N.C. (Orange Peel)
April 12: Charlottesville, Va. (Satellite Ballroom)
April 13: Washington D.C. (930 Club)
April 15: Somerville, Mass. (Somerville Theatre)
April 16-17: Brooklyn, N.Y. (Music Hall of Williamsburg)
April 18: Buffalo, N.Y. (The Tralf)
April 19: Toronto (Phoenix Concert Theatre)
April 21: Chicago (Park West)
April 22: Milwaukee, Wis. (Pabst Theater)
April 23: Madison, Wis. (Barrymore Theater)
April 25: Lawrence, Kan. (Liberty Hall)
April 26: Boulder, Colo. (Fox Theatre)
April 28: Los Angeles (Henry Fonda Theatre)
April: 29: Santa Cruz, Calif. (Rio Theatre)
April 30: San Francisco (Fillmore)
May 2: Seattle (Showbox)
May 3: Portland, Ore. (Wonder Ballroom)