Time for the best to face off in quest of a ring and Wheaties box, and time for the Baseball Project to announce that they're in the final stages of adding yet another compelling batch of timeless (or at least 'timely') songs to their sporty cannon. Yes, another record of original songs about baseball. Nothing less and a little bit more, in fact.
This time around we managed to corral our longtime pal and bandmate Mike Mills to join us for recording, filling out our roster at 5 starters - Steve Wynn, Scott McCaughey, Linda Pitmon, Peter Buck, and Mike Mills. Once again we utilized the top notch recording facilities at The Type Foundry in the bike-friendly hamlet of Portland, OR., and teamed up as usual with studio engineer and fellow baseball junkie, Adam Selzer.
You're going to have to wait until Spring Training to hear this latest batch of goodness (available on Yep Roc Records March 30, 2014), but in the meantime you should root around this site and listen to all the old favorites from "Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails" and "High and Inside". You could also watch video of us singing the National Anthem at Fenway or playing on Letterman, and maybe purchase a t-shirt and look at pictures of us eating glorious diner food and getting stuck in the desert on our way to Spring Training in 2011.
We look forward to unveiling Volume 3 - you will laugh, you will cry, you will make some bad moves on your Fantasy Teams...this we can guarantee. In the meantime, we are glued to our televisions, computers, and radios (in some cases, all at once) as we watch this year's October drama unfold. Pass the peanuts and grab a PBR.....this one's gonna get good!
In related news, Scott's adventure with the multi-national conglomerate Tired Pony continues.
Read all about it at the new website:
The Baseball Project has written another chapter and are busy putting the finishing touches on Volume 3 while simultaneously trying to catch every inning of the League Championship Series - no small feat! The new album from Steve Wynn, Scott McCaughey, Linda Pitmon, Mike Mills and Peter Buck is sure to be another winning collection of songs about the game’s greats that will be pleasing to those who love America’s pastime — and fans of intelligent, melodic and fun rock.
In the years since their debut in 2008, the Baseball Project has sung the National Anthem at Fenway Park before a Red Sox vs. Yankees game, appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and This Week in Baseball, and toured the U.S. extensively as well as playing several festivals in europe. They even sprung themselves on Spring Training in 2011 by playing for the hardcore baseball fans at the parks in Arizona. Best of all was a show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC as a part of the much ballyhooed "Spectrum" series, playing after a panel discussion that included Dale Murphy (Atlanta first baseman and two-time NL MVP), and author Sharon Robinson (daughter of Jackie Robinson).
When the first Baseball Project album, Volume One: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails, was released in 2008 Wynn, McCaughey, Pitmon and Buck had yet to play one note as a unit in front of an audience, but the band’s debut was a run-scoring hit with both music and baseball fans. After playing throughout the U.S. in 2009 the quartet were — as McCaughey jokes — “a well-oiled touring machine,” which allowed the band to complete the basics for High and Inside in just two days.
Their success and critical acclaim has opened up new opportunities that these veteran musicians never imagined. McCaughey is still amazed they appeared on the long-running weekly Major League Baseball program This Week in Baseball. “I can’t say I ever thought I’d hear or see myself on TWIB — that was awesome,” McCaughey exclaims. “As a kid I dreamed of it, but I would have been making a diving catch in the outfield instead of bashing on an electric guitar.” The band also struck up a relationship with ESPN that saw them launch The Broadside Ballads series. Wynn and McCaughey took it upon themselves to write and record a song per month for the 2010 season that were available as free downloads at ESPN.com. Wynn says, “It’s very exhilarating and also exhausting to come up with tunes based on the calendar rather than the muse, especially since we were all busy and on the move with our own projects throughout 2010 but that made it even more fun. I loved that songs would begin in Virginia, for example, get shuttled off to Berlin, back to New York and then over to Portland all within a few weeks.”
In 2011 the band followed up with Volume Two: High and Inside, which deftly mixed witty lyrics about baseball players past and present with a sharp melodic sensibility and engaging choruses. The opener “1976″ is an absurdly catchy song about Tigers phenom pitcher Mark “The Bird” Fidrych, and was recently a clue on Jeopardy! “Ichiro Goes to the Moon” is a manic punk-pop track that marvels at his ability to eat large quantities of food, build rockets, and yes, play baseball. High and Inside also explores more musical avenues than the first Baseball Project outing. “Pete Rose Way” is a slice of alt-country that echoes one of McCaughey’s and Buck’s other projects, Tired Pony. And closer “Here Lies Carl Mays” takes the story of the only pitcher to throw a ball that killed another player and turns it into a haunting ballad sung from beyond the grave.
“Fair Weather Fans” describes the band’s widespread allegiances to the teams that they've followed even as they moved from town to town, growing up and then striking out on their own. McCaughey imagines a world where Bill Buckner’s legacy wasn’t tarnished by a groundball in “Buckner’s Bolero.” Wynn sings of a different tarnished legacy in “Twilight of My Career,” which explores the glorious but sordid post-Sox career of Cy Young award-winning pitcher Roger Clemens. And “Tony (Boston’s Chosen Son)” is a violin-driven piece that recalls Bob Dylan’s Desire as it honors late beloved Boston player and announcer Tony Conigliaro. Wynn admits, “It’s weird that a Yankee fan like me would end up writing more about the Red Sox, but tragedy just makes for better songs and stories than a litany of successes.”
The quartet invited a lot of their friends to help out on Volume 2 - from Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard (who adds backing vocals to “Ichiro Goes to the Moon”), Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin, The Decemberists’ Chris Funk and John Moen, Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan and The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn, who supplies lyrics and the lead vocal on the Minnesota Twins anthem “Please Don’t Call Them Twinkies.”
Twins fan Pitmon had bonded with Finn over the team when the Minnesota natives reconnected in New York. And Pitmon says she was thrilled when Finn accepted the job of writing lyrics about their favorite team. She explains, “I think Craig perfectly captured the feelings that a lot of us Twins fans have for our team of humble, hardworking guys that seem to beat the odds more often than not, and Steve really nailed the mood of the lyrics when he wrote the anthemic tune we set it to.” Finn says, “The Twins don’t win every year, or even every decade. They don’t normally compete in the off-season arms race — they develop talent. Thus, when they do win I get to feel elation and bliss, and not just relief. In some way, it’s like music; many of my all-time favorite bands aren’t that great every night, but when it comes together it feels even sweeter.
The Baseball Project was born out of McCaughey and Wynn discussing their love of the game over dinner and drinks a few years ago. “It finally took flight at the R.E.M. pre-Hall of Fame induction party in New York,” Wynn remembers. “Everyone was happy. The wine was flowing, the food was incredible and spring training had just started. Scott and I talked baseball until most of the party guests had cleared out. And we actually remembered it the next day.”
Both Wynn and McCaughey’s love of baseball and its legendary players made its way sporadically into songs during their distinguished careers. The Young Fresh Fellows named-checked Seattle Mariners slugger Gorman Thomas on “Aurora Bridge” from 1986′s Refreshments, while Wynn tipped his cap to Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Stan Musial in his 1990 solo hit “Kerosene Man.”
3/4 sleeve 100% cotton raglan in tan with brown sleeves + collar and baseball logo on front.
100% cotton, short sleeve tee in grey with Baseball Skull design on front.
Available on CD and LP
Available on CD and LP
Available on CD