Fans of Australia’s Ziggy Alberts will certainly recognize the sound of his upcoming fifth studio album, Laps Around the Sun. But Alberts tried a few different things on the 10-song set, premiering exclusively below, which he hopes they’ll notice.
“This is the first time I looked at a whole catalog of songs and picked ones I felt told a story,” Alberts tells Billboard. “I didn’t want to limit myself to folk music. This album draws on different genres; It’s primarily singer-songwriter, but I pushed my songwriting so hard.” And while Alberts’ acoustic guitar is still the main focus on Laps Around the Sun, which comes out Nov. 9, he also brought piano into the mix for tracks such as “Best Friend” and “3 Degrees South,” and banjo on “Worn Out” and “Yu (a Song for Koda).” “I wanted to do what suited the song, what was right for the songs,” Alberts says. “It felt like the same way as when you’re recording with your guitar as your main instrument for the first time, that same feeling of, ‘This isn’t my best craft or my best work, but I’m giving it a real swing…'”
As far as Laps Around the Sun‘s lyrics, Alberts says that, “It’s a story of moving through one relationship into the other, about discovery and meeting the right person. That’s the sentiment of a lot of the songs. It’s about doing that internally, having a healthy internal conversation.”
Alberts admits that bringing some of these new sounds into the world is “nerve-wracking for me,” and he certainly understands the dynamics of testing an audience he’s built over the course of his first four albums. “People get attached to somebody’s first work, and it’s hard for them to step away from that,” he explains. “You always wonder if people will become attached to this new work, too. That’s the question that will be forefront for the next months as the album gets released and I get ready for a world tour.”
That trek stars during December and will run deep into 2019, with Australia, New Zealand, Europe, South Africa and South America on tap. He’ll also be returning to North America, where he toured for the first time earlier this year. And Alberts estimates that he also has “probably two albums’ worth of stuff that’s unreleased,” so he has more than a head start on whatever will follow Laps Around the Sun.
“Basically I just write and write and I keep (the songs) in places they can’t get lost,” Alberts says. “There may be EPs or singles. I have them, and whenever it’s time to release them I will. I’m pretty patient with all that. As long as I’m writing and the songs keep coming, I’m happy.”