Famed songwriter Jack Tempchin is known for penning some of the most durable tunes in American music for a variety of artists that includes the Eagles, George Jones, Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner, Glen Campbell, Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood and many others. He’s also co-written with a who’s who of American roots, rock and r’n’b composers that embraces Tom Waits, JD Souther, Bobby Whitlock, Jim Lauderdale and Beth Nielsen Chapman. Now Tempchin steps into the spotlight with two new solo releases, the EP ”Room To Run” that’s just been released, and the 11-song album ”Learning To Dance” out on August 21st, 2015, from Blue Élan Records.
Both discs span Tempchin’s breadth as a writer and performer, showcasing his flexible tenor voice, warm and intimate on the ballad “Living This Love”, soaring with unbridled joy on “Learning To Dance” and gracefully reflective in “Room To Run”, plus his powerful arranging skills and musicianship, which are strengthened by more than four decades of experience.
Despite his storied musical history, Tempchin says, “I’m looking at myself as a new artist. These are all new songs and I’d like to be accepted based on them. I don’t believe in living in the past. I have millions of songs rushing through my head today, and a real passion for recording them and playing them live”.
Tempchin’s also interested in sharing that passion with other songwriters and is simultaneously unveiling his new songwriter video series called Go Write One. “In these videos I talk about the spiritual and magical aspects of songwriting, not the techniques, because I’m trying to get people excited to ‘go write one’”, he explains. “For me, even after writing thousands of songs, that excitement has never gone away”.
In fact, it crackles throughout ”Learning To Dance” and ”Room To Run”. Both discs were produced by Joel Piper, whose experience as a musician and engineer extends from pop to punk to metal to electronic dance music. But Piper’s work as a video director initially brought him together with Tempchin, to collaborate on Go Write One. After Tempchin signed with Blue Élan, Piper expressed interest in producing his music, as well. Their combined perspectives give Tempchin’s new collections of songs a distinctive sound that balances the virtues of timeless narrative storytelling with the benefits of contemporary recording technology. Both men played all the instruments on the two sets’ 15 songs except for Jerry Peterson’s sinuous, soaring saxophone on “Learning To Dance”, which Piper transferred from an earlier demo recording of the song.
The numbers on ”Learning To Dance” all share the themes of love and romance, and weave a lush spell with their blend of electric and acoustic instruments wrapped around a spine of Tempchin’s guitar and Piper’s piano. From the giddy limerence of the title track to the heartbreak of “Love’s First Lesson”, to the warmly wistful “You Can Go Home” to the gentle conclusion, “Finally Found Me”, ”Learning To Dance” speaks volumes about the experiences of the heart.
The ”Room To Run” EP was sparked by the acerbically funny “The High Cost of Hate”, with features the refrain, “Since I’m a cheating bastard, and you’re a selfish bitch, let’s call it quits, and make some lawyers rich”.