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Michael Nau Climbs Mountains With Breathtakingly Quiet Acoustics on ‘While You Stand’

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Appalachian singer-songwriter Michael Nau didn’t intend to make an album by himself. Recorded piecemeal on various back porches and down back roads in Burlington, Vermont, Nashville, and his home base of Cumberland, Maryland, his debut solo LP Mowing (out February 19 via Suicide Squeeze Records) came together in quiet moments of downtime between polishing earnest jangle-pop gems with his wife as Cotton Jones. “While You Stand,” the album opener, has a similarly homespun texture without the sepia-toned production; it’s just Nau harmonizing with himself, hitting a reedy and resonant hum — surprisingly indelible for such a wisp of a song — that stays lodged in your ear long after its two minutes end. Of “While You Stand,” Nau says:

I used to write songs by recording them — recording the instruments first, then piecing the rest of it together. I’ve spent a lot of years jamming with myself, with headphones on…
Playing the songs live always felt better. The recordings have worked as a vehicle to get there, and change it — to play music with people…
This is a record of songs stretched across a few years — the more recent songs were done live in a room, and the ones that’ve been around a while were done elsewhere along the way.
As for this song… it’s from in between. I recorded a demo for a session we were going to do in Burlington. We didn’t record it there, but when things were being picked for this group, the demo nudged its way in.

Listen here, and pre-order Mowing at Suicide Squeeze’s official site.