I first heard Peyton Tochterman play when he opened for Ellis Paul just over a year ago. His quirky style, sincere lyrics, and great guitar playing made me a fan immediately. Not long after, Peyton did an interview with me, and I was so honored. Today, I’m honored to have him share his own thoughts about his new record A New World, which is being released tonight (see details below).
I began writing this record just after recovering from neck surgery. Kenny Gâ€™s grand piano had fallen on my head. Surgery and therapy was significant and I wasnâ€™t in a great frame of mind about anything . Couple that with a large amount of pain medication and you have the start to a truly happy group of songs. This was early 2009, and I really only had five songs or so, and the idea of a full length record wasnâ€™t even on the radar. But the few songs I had had some promise. A little dark, but promising.
Anyway, Sam Wilson (guitarist for Sons of Bill) and I went into the studio to record an EP in the late summer of the same year. We spent about twenty hours at Haunted Hollow with Rob Evans recording those five songs: “Red Angel,” “Flat Line Lullaby,” “Town Crier,” “Carolina Wind,” and “Cracked.” As you can tell just by the titles, there was a dark tone that was prevalent in the material. But we went with it. Darrel Muller on bass, Brian Jones on Drums, Sam on most of the electrics, and me on most of the acoustics and vox. It turned out great for a day’s work, and we were happy.
But the EP just kind of sat there, and I wasnâ€™t sure what to do with it. So, in the fall/winter/spring, for no other reason than itâ€™s what I do, I started writing again. And that batch of songs came out remarkably different. They were positive. They were very narrative. I was writing so honestly, and writing so close to me that it was kind of uncomfortable. I was in a new place, in many ways. But, I couldnâ€™t stop and think about it. The songs just came. “Sure Thing.” “Blue Eyes.” “These Lives Eternal.” “Johnsburg.” “Mortal Planet” (I know it might seem a little dark, but the end sentiment is still about absolute love). “Need Me Or Not.” “A New World.” The songs came out one after another. It wasnâ€™t effortless. Songwriting isnâ€™t effortless. Iâ€™m not saying that. Itâ€™s hard. But I felt a sense of calm come over me while writing these. The songs were healthy. I felt health. The songs were emotional. I felt emotion. For the first time, my songwriting was mirroring my everyday life. I was cured.
Right around this time I meant renowned singer/songwriter Ellis Paul who happened to walk in on one of my gigs. He heard these songs and asked me when I was going to record them. I told him I wasnâ€™t planning on recording them. Then he said simply, â€œYou have to.â€
I called Sam and asked him if he would produce the record. He jumped at the chance to get back in and finish what we started 2 years before. Before Sam and I went in and started recording in early 2011, I met with my new friend “>Ellis Paul about five times or so at his house. We went through the songs and edited some of them a good bit. The editing process with Ellis proved to be a very valuable lesson, but I would need another 500 words at the very least to talk about that. After editing, the songs did come out more refined and ready to go. So go we did, and we ended up with A NEW WORLD.
Tonight at 8pm, Peyton will officially release A New World at The Southern in Charlottesville, VA with opening singer-songwriter Carl Anderson. I plan to be there, and I hope you can make it, too. If not, Peyton is touring with Ellis Paul for the next 18 months, so keep your eyes open for that great show. Many thanks, Peyton, for sharing your process with me.