File Peter More’s new EP Shoulder — including the track “Shoulder,” premiering exclusively below — under there’s, well, more where that came from.
The three tracks on the EP hail from sessions produced by Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen for More’s 2018 album Beautiful Disrepair. “When we recorded the album we worked on about 15 tracks, and then we held three of them back and we felt that these three sat together really well,” More tells Billboard. “Shoulder,” in fact, was recorded during the same session as “What We Used to Be,” while the third track — “Marlene,” which features Amy Helm — was done during sessions in Fagen’s home base of Woodstock, N.Y.
The upbeat, bouncy “Shoulder,” according to More, was written in Fort Worth and then bulked up when he and his Austin, Texas-based band got ahold of it. “I had sort of written it acoustically and then we changed the vibe of it with that four on the floor beat and the bigger harmonies and stuff,” he recalls. “It’s sort of about the pursuit of trying to find that constant through life, which isn’t so easy. When you’re little you think things are gonna be all hunky dory, and then you realize it’s actually wonderful and rare if you can find that shoulder (to lean on) through time that would bring you some peace of mind or have someone to go through things with — it could be a friend, it could be family. It’s not necessarily like a hunky dory love song, by any means.”
More than seven months since Beautiful Disrepair’s release, More is still pinching himself over making an album with Fagen, whom he met when Fagen and his wife Libby Titus came into an art gallery where More was playing in San Miguel, Mexico, where he also resides. They talked about music and agreed to stay in touch. Titus invited More to attend the Midnight Ramble in Woodstock that the late Levon Helm participated in and, after that, Fagen offered to produce Beautiful Disrepair.
“He’s amazing to work with,” More says. “He really thrives being in the studio and getting the most out of each guy in the room. He’s such a fun person to work with ’cause he’s so bright and he’s so tasteful — and he’s really fun. He’s really detailed and his ears are picking up on all sorts so stuff that sometimes you’re not hearing at first — anything from how he mic’d the drums or the amps to doing harmonies. But there’s a certainly sort of ease to it because everybody’s having a good time. It was sort of like a crash course in recording music for us.”
More says he’d “love” to repeat the experience of working with Fagen, who’s become a close friend. The singer-songwriter is already working on new material, some of which he’s recorded already with Connor Kennedy, guitarist for Fagen’s solo band the Nightflyers. “(Kennedy) was playing some live shows with us in January we said, ‘Let’s try to go in a studio and do some stuff,'” More says. “So we might do some more with him, and I would love to work with Donald again, but he’s got a lot of Steely Dan stuff coming up. So we’ll see; Whatever happens, we learned so much from working with him that it will help us however we do the next stuff.”