Love loss inspires Wolf's latest album
Love loss inspires Wolf's latest album
The cover of Jim Wolf's recently released CD shows a beautiful girl lying on a bed, looking away, as a cool-looking dude with trendy hair and stylish, long side burns stares outward, at the presumed audience. His brown eyes are pensive and a bit sad, as if he is reflecting on a question that he already has the answer to, albeit not the one he wants.
The initial inspiration for the songs penned on Wolf's new album Sleeping with Strangers was, in fact, a love affair that went sour and the emotions he felt as he grappled with the loss.
A native of Fairfield, Wolf will debut the concept album in New York City at the Bitter End on Aug. 2, at 9 p.m., and at the Bowery Electric on Tuesday, Aug. 10, at 8 p.m.
The Connecticut release party will take place at Bridgeport's Two Boots on Saturday, Aug. 28, at 8 p.m. Ticket information is available at his website, www.jimwolf.com.
Brian Borelli, a fellow musician who worked on the album's horn and string arrangements and orchestration, also has ties to Fairfield. He is a band director in the town's schools. Other musicians and vocalists featured on Sleeping with Strangers are Rob Maresca, Pat McCarthy, Mike Knox, Jeff Sullivan, John Britto, Eric Heath, Pete Taylor, Dylan Teed, William Domelka, Edward Storck, Jason Lehberger and Meghan Wright Starry Tiberio.
During the upcoming shows in Connecticut and New York, Wolf plans on calling some of these performers to the stage to jam together once again.
Beginning in 2006, Wolf started recording tracks for the album at various studios in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. Working with multi-platinum and Grammy-nominated producer Anthony "Rocky" Gallo, Wolf recorded at the Cutting Room in New York. He finished the album in Buffalo, N.Y. with Mike "Bling" Brylinski, an in-house producer of the Goo Goo Dolls.
Its lead track "House of Cards" was recognized by VH1's Save the Music Songwriting competition last December.
After getting to know some key industry professionals at VH1, Wolf was then asked to participate in "Break'N Through," a web and television based reality show on the popular television network. Sponsored by the Save the Music Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes music education in young people, Wolf is slated to perform for industry executives, musicians and fans at the Red Bull Stage on Sunday, Aug. 11. The struggles experienced by creative musicians as they relentlessly attempt to "make it" in the music world is portrayed in "Break'N Through."
Obviously looking forward to next month's gig, Wolf was also excited about the on-camera interview he had with the event's organizers. He admitted, though, that he was surprised that they already knew a great deal about him and his music. "That was awesome," Wolf noted.
With this month's CD release and his upcoming concerts, Wolf feels like his music career is definitely heading in an upward direction. He is quick to point out, though, that he appreciates the fan base he has steadily built in the past couple of years by touring and playing venues in New England while working on the album's recording.
Influenced by the sounds of John Mayer (another musician with ties to Fairfield), Thom Yorke, Elliott Smith and Stevie Wonder, one of his favorite all-time albums is Radiohead's The Bend. In fact, Wolf feels that listening to these tracks changed his overall sound.
"It made me see that rock songs can be emotional and not cheesy," Wolf said. "It had a British feel to it. It was still '90's rock, though."
Hands down, though, the musical event that critically changed the way Wolf viewed music was the motion picture about the life of legendary rock and roll star, Jerry Lee Lewis, Great Balls of Fire.
"I was pretty obsessed with this movie for awhile," Wolf admitted, chuckling. "As a kid, this was my first exposure to rock 'n roll and the blues. It was something with more soul than I was used to hearing. It was really cool and inspiring."
Prior to listening to Lewis' distinct style, Wolf had only been exposed to more mainstream, pop music. However, after watching Lewis in action, over and over again, Wolf wanted to take music lessons. In elementary school, Wolf studied the guitar, piano and viola. In middle school, he sang in the town-wide chorus. However, it was when Wolf was about 15, when he started to play acoustic and electric guitars in his brother's rock band, that the seeds for pursuing music as a career were planted.
Wolf graduated from Fairfield High School and went on to study communications and music in college at Eastern Connecticut State University. Although he now lives in Brooklyn, in an enclave inhabited by several artists and musicians, Wolf's parents, Carol and Richard, continue to reside in Fairfield.
"I'll be stopping by soon to visit them," he said.
For more information about Jim Wolf and Sleeping with Strangers, visit www.jimwolf.com.