Sunset Avenue Sessions is something of an accident for singer-songwriters Lizanne Knott, Jesse Terry and Michael Logen.
The project — whose Logen original “Already Home” and cover of Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers” are premiering exclusively below — came out of a late summer session to record “a few songs” to promote U.K. dates the trio was performing during October. Gathering at Knott’s home studio outside of Philadelphia they spent five hours recording and wound up with 11 songs of originals and covers — including Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and P!nk’s “Try” — with Dar Williams dropping in to sing on Terry’s “Stargazer.” “Everybody who heard it loved it and were like ‘Oh, wow, this sounds really good,'” Knott tells Billboard. “We thought we might as well do a little record and release it, although that’s not what the thought process was when we started it.”
Nevertheless, Sunset Avenue Sessions — coming out Nov. 30 on Transoceanic Records — gave the three old friends a chance to collaborate on record. “We’ve often talked about doing stuff together,” Knott notes. “We used to do shows at the Bluebird (in Nashville), at the Living Room in New York, places like that. And we always used to say ‘One day we’ll…’ and then go our separate ways. This just…happened, which is probably the only way it could. And it was so much fun, ’cause we’re such good friends. We just laughed the whole time.”
The album’s title, meanwhile, refers to Sunset Avenue, where Knott’s Morning Star Studios is located. “We’re all solo artists, but we couldn’t decide if we wanted to have a trio name or what we were going to call this,” says Knott, who’s working on her next solo album, Bones & Gravity, for release in 2019. “There’s already something called Morning Star Sessions, so we got creative. Plus we did the recording in the middle of the night, after sunset, so that seemed to work, too.”