Released on January 17 this year, ‘Head Above Tide’ is New York City artist Jason Vitelli’s third full length album. The album blends dramatic arrangements, folk sentiment, and strong high fidelity production values, and has a vibe similar to that of Elvis Costello, and David Bowie, particularly in his ‘Hunky Dory’ era.
Describing his style as “cinematic rock”, Jason Vitelli says of the 14 track album,
“These songs coalesced around the idea of facing adversity and overcoming obstacles. Over the years I’ve resolved my angst and became more sympathetic.”
Jason finds his inspiration in characters in different circumstances to his own, yet at the same time sharing a common vein of humility. The song, ‘Laybrinthine’ evokes in its lyricism the protagonist in William Styron’s novel, ‘Sophie’s Choice’. Musically, driving string lines, and thundering rhythms urge her towards certain doom.
The Elvis Costello sound is very evident in this track, Vitelli half singing, half speaking the lyrics. The music is fast paced and strident while the drums pulling the whole song together.
‘The Persecuted’ takes its inspiration from when the New York State Supreme Court validated marriage equality. Jason says,
“When you are going through a difficult moment, it helps to realise that persecuted people, even in the throes of despair, have found ways to overcome their struggles.”
The lyric video for the track celebrates the victory, making use of imagery such as rainbows and the New York City skyline. There’s a feeling of joy, while the music takes on a jazzy style.
Jason Vitelli has found New York City providing him with a bounty of opportunities to perform in venues such as The Bitter End, Café Wha? and Kenny’s Castaways. He self-produced his debut full length album, ‘No Photographs’ came out back in 2009, and released second album ‘Confluence’ two years later, for which Jason used a combination of traditional overdubbing techniques and live stereo tracking.
“I want the musicians reacting to each other in real time as much as possible,” he says. “Often the interaction is what makes something distinctive and alive.”
‘Head Above Tide’ confirms Jason’s commitment to telling through song the story of the human condition.
“The reason that we love film and art is that they bring us out of ourselves, show us someone else’s reality, and in doing so, allow us to understand ourselves more through the process,” he says. “It is my goal to help people open their eyes to a broader horizon. As hard as life can be, grace and compassion will always keep our heads above the rising tide.”