Faster than a baseball game. Stronger than most 12 year-olds. Able to keep people wondering what he's talking about. Look! Up on the movie screen! It's Beaver Nelson! This summer marks the release of Austin songwriter Beaver Nelson's 7th and most adventurous recording yet, Macro/Micro. Macro/Micro is a flowing –jarring album with one song melting into the next, yet with each song holding its own distinctive tone. But wait, that's not all! There is also an accompanying album-length film. Beaver will be touring in support of Macro/Micro with a projector and a screen and several guitars, performing the entire affair, start to finish.
Macro/Micro is the first album self-produced by Beaver. " Because the band wasn't playing together very often during that time, I was writing in a vacuum, and wrote a majority of it on piano, not my primary instrument. This necessarily slowed down the process, but brought out so many elements that writing on guitar would not have, " Nelson states. "It was all in my head, and it demanded to come out. It took a little while." Working with known commodities Scrappy Jud Newcomb (guitar), Mark Patterson (drums and percussion), Stephen Belans (drums and percussion), Matt Eskey (bass), Nick Connolly (keys), and John Harvey and Mary Podio (Top Hat Studio), helped Nelson take things in this new direction.
The sprawling nature of the recording presented a bit of a challenge in how best to present these songs live. It was just not going to be possible to go out and play these songs as a solo act in the way that he had toured for the last decade. "I was writing songs that I could not play. I had removed all the self-imposed restrictions I had previously worked under, removing the acoustic guitar from the primary position, and allowing other sounds to be essential to the songs. Great, but how do I perform this stuff?"
The band talked a lot about this during studio downtime. These conversations eventually led Beaver to call Stephen Henderson, a filmmaker that he had met a year and a half earlier. Nelson and Henderson then started work on the video side. They used a limited amount of video to create a kickstarter campaign, and raised enough money to complete the film, manufacture CDs/DVDs, tour, and promote the whole project.
What they came up with is an album-length film that can be watched on DVD, and an instrumental version of the soundtrack that Beaver can perform with at shows while the movie is being projected on a large screen.
At times the film is a point-of-view piece, deep in imagery. At other times Nelson is prominent. One song in particular, "Natural Man Does Not Exist", recreates 15 years' worth of album covers and a pair of goggles to tell the story. His daughter's dollhouse is the lead in the opening piece, moving from the inside out, and then into the world – just like we all do. Confused? Purr-fect.
This summer and fall will find Nelson touring with his film, performing along with it. "I can't wait to see where this thing is going to take me," he says. "I'm very proud of this work and I hope it finds its audience. It's always kind of had a life of its own. I'm just along for the ride."
Press: Traci Thomas / Thirty Tigers / 615.664.1167 / email@example.com
Click on the images to download headshots.
A Few of Beaver's Favorite Quotes:
"There are reasons Nelson is not a star" –Jeff McCord/Texas Monthly
"Beaver Nelson is cosmic and comic" –Tony Peyser/Santa Monica Mirror
"Like a river, he moves forward, and he writes songs" –Andrew Dansby/Texas Music Magazine
"...pop moves that fell flat" –Jim Caligiuri/No Depression
"...teenage songwriting prodigy" –David Fricke/Rolling Stone
"...this diaper needs changing." –Darcy Stevens/Austin Chronicle
Festival history includes:
SXSW, CMJ, Blue Highways/Netherlands, Moulin Blues/Holland, Bumbershoot, Taste of Cincinnati,
Spittlefest, Austin City Limits Festival, SummerTyne, Americana Festival/England.
laura at comboplatebooking dot com
LoneStarMusic.com Macro/Micro Review
By Greg Ellis, LoneStarMusic.com, August 2012
It's the reach and ambition of the project, combined with Nelson's songwriting gifts and the stellar playing from Newcomb and all the others, that makes Macro/Micro such a success. At a time when his contemporaries search for a way to squeeze pennies out of the Internet one song at a time, Nelson has delivered a sprawling masterpiece that demands to be taken as a whole, a true contract between artist and listener. Do yourself a favor and jump on for the ride. Read more.
jambands.com, Macro/Micro Review
By Brian Robbins, jambands.com, August 2012
...And you will lug it around: there are bits and pieces of Macro/Micro that'll stick with you – hooks and riffs and words and phrases that'll be triggered by what happens later today and tonight and tomorrow. Life's like that. And Macro/Micro is a weird and wonderful slice of life. Read more.
Beaver Nelson—Things Come Together
The Texas songwriter returns and releases a multidimensional masterpiece.
By Gabe Vodicka, Flagpole, Wednesday, July 11, 2012
The man knows growth and change. Behind Macro/Micro and its accompanying live show is a shamanistic mission to uncover the unavoidable hypocrisy endemic to humankind and a call that we all strive for clearer focus. Read more.
Texas Platters, Macro/Micro Review
By Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle, July 6, 2012
Beaver Nelson tries the multimedia approach and succeeds wildly. Macro/Micro is available both as a CD and DVD, and as such can be one long suite of songs or a nearly hour-long music video. Either way, it's Nelson's most daring work, retaining his trademark roots jangle, but also gathering moments of psychedelic intensity and chilling isolation. 4 stars. Read more.
YNN Video: Backstage Pass: Beaver Nelson releases new CD-film project
By Andy Langer, Your News Now (YNN) Austin, June 22, 2012
Learn more about the creative process that went into the album in this edition of "Backstage Pass."
Review: 'Macro/Micro,' Beaver Nelson
By Jim Beal Jr., San Antonio Express News, June 2012
Though there's a lot going on in most of the songs, all penned by Nelson, the words still rule the project. Songs such as "We'll Be Here When You Need Us," "Natural Man Does Not Exist," "Your Subconscious Does the Dirty Work" and "Love for the Pain" are driven as much by the lyrics as by the music. And those lyrics are clever, the kind that might challenge, but never bore, careful listeners. Read more.
Review: Beaver Nelson, Macro/Micro (Freedom)
By William Michael Smith, Houston Press Blog, June 2012
Beaver has always been all over the place, and this is a beautiful 18-track mess of an album, more of a rocker than expected. Nelson has always been one of the coolest creatives hanging around the fringes of the Austin scene, and his freak flag is really flying on this one. Read more.
Beaver Nelson: The big and the small of it
Andrew Dansby, © Houston Chronicle, May, 2012e
For nearly two decades, Beaver Nelson went about his work as a singer-songwriter is wont to do: He'd write songs, put together about a dozen of them, then make a record and play some shows. His new project is "Macro/Micro," which arrives five years after his previous record. "Macro/Micro" isn't exactly a new set of a dozen songs. It's a sprawling, philosophical, funny and rocking thing, a concept album minus spaceships with an accompanying video that runs the length of the recording. Nelson's longtime guitarist Scrappy Jud Newcomb likely came up with the best description for the album: It sounds like "Quadrophenia" as written by Townes Van Zandt. Read more.
Singer-songwriter presents new album, film with tour
By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
Beaver Nelson hits both stage and screen
Lindsay Marshall, www.fsunews.com, July 2012
Beaver Nelson's Exciting Opportunity CD Review
Jeff McCord, Texas Monthly, June 2007
Beaver Nelson is a singer/songwriter/house painter
Making music may not be Beaver Nelson's only job, but he's committed to it full time
Andrew Dansby, © 2007 Houston Chronicle
Beaver Nelson's Exciting Opportunity: Interview
Blog by Nick Zaino, The Optimistic Curmudgeon, 2007
Beaver Nelson's Exciting Opportunity CD Review
Rick Cornell, No Depression, #70 July 2007
No Depression Archives for Beaver Nelson
Photos by Stephen Henderson