Song of the Day: Martin Courtney – Northern Highway

photo by Shawn Brackbill

photo by Shawn Brackbill

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Northern Highway” by Martin Courtney from his 2015 album, Many Moons, on Domino Recording Company.

Martin Courtney – Northern Highway (MP3)

Of all the members of Jersey-bred band Real Estate, frontman Martin Courtney has been the last to release a solo album. (Guitarist Matt Mondanile records under the name Ducktails, and bassist Alex Bleeker leads the side project Alex Bleeker and the Freaks.) In fact, his debut full-length, Many Moons, wasn’t even planned.

As he explains on Tumblr, “Almost two years ago, I started recording some of my songs with Jarvis Taveniere [of the band Woods] producing and playing bass. The idea at the time was really just to do a couple tunes, and maybe put out a 7″ or something. We ended up having fun working on those songs, so I kept writing, and we kept recording whenever we could between tours with our other bands.” Many Moons shares the pastoral folk-pop sound of his main project, adding orchestral flourishes reminiscent of ’60s singer/songwriter Nick Drake.

Real Estate itself will return with a new album eventually, but it remains to be seen whether there will be more Courtney solo releases. As he told DIY Magazine, “I feel like it depends on if the time feels right at a certain moment. If I have some extra material, or if I have some time to work on it, why not? I could also see this as the only time I do this.”

Courtney has a few West Coast dates planned for January, but nothing in Seattle (yet?). Until then, you can keep up with Courtney on Twitter, and watch him perform around upstate New York in this video co-directed by Rob Hatch-Miller and Puloma Basu.

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