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  • X Ambassadors Releases New Album “Townie”

  • American pop-rock band X Ambassadors, consisting of Sam Nelson Harris (lead vocals/guitar), Casey Harris (keyboards), Adam Levin (drums) and Russ Flynn (guitar), released the fourth studio album “Townie” on April 5, 2024.

    It is their first album in three years since the 2021 album “The Beautiful Liar”.
    The band wrote and recorded the album for two weeks in the Catskills.
    The album comprises a 12-track, produced by X Ambassadors. It is their first ever self-produced record.

    The band frontman Sam Nelson Harris told THE LINE of BEST FIT, “I think the longer we've been together, the more we're able to take a step back and think about it and focus and follow our instincts. That's why this record is the first one we've self-produced, and really curated the whole thing ourselves.”

    The band returned to their upstate New York roots and draws their hometown and surrounding community with acoustic guitar mainly. It is a tribute to their hometown.
    Also, the album was inspired by their old friend, mentor and school teacher Todd Peterson, who passed away in 2021.

    Sam Nelson Harris said, “A gas station glows in the night, two miles from the Tompkins County line. It cuts through the bleak, winter night like a grotesque, twenty-first century lighthouse. To the east- the college town of Ithaca, NY. To the west, everything else. The air is cold and unforgiving. The landscape every shade of grey and brown on the color-wheel. A couple of teenagers loiter in the parking lot, plotting their escape. Most of them know they won't ever leave this town, so tonight their escape is a temporary one. Rollies and half-drank liters of Mountain Dew. Grapefruit blunts and chapped lips. Their baggy clothes full of restlessness and longing. This is Townie.”
  • “Casey and I are from a small college-town in central New York called Ithaca. We grew up restless, both fighting to be seen and heard. A place like Ithaca sometimes felt like it wanted you to disappear,” Sam Nelson Harris explained about the album. “Casey and I made music together in our basement and in our friend's garages or sheds, and our teenage logic had us convinced that would be our ticket out. Somehow-in some crazy combination of ignorance, determination, and sheer luck-we we've found ourselves where we are today, very far away from our lives in Ithaca. But for some reason my mind keeps wandering back to this place that I so desperately sought to free myself from.”

    He continued, “Here I am: 35 years old, and I still feel like that insecure teenager with a prematurely-receding hairline and the weight of the world on his shoulders, who's still scared of being left behind. Writing this album was me asking myself 'why?' Here's what I came up with: I am a Townie. I will always be a Townie. To deny that, is to deny everything that I am. And yes my town was small, but the people I grew up with never let me think that the world wasn't big and exciting and out there for the taking. In my town I was loved, I was encouraged, I was accepted, I was challenged, I was knocked down and picked back up again a million times. It might not have been the cultural Mecca I dreamed about, but we had a pretty sick independent movie theater and more than one good coffee shop. The guys at the music store knew my mom, so they let me spend hours in there 'testing out' guitars and pedals and recording equipment like I was actually ever going to have the money to buy anything. No one ever made me feel like an idiot for having dreams, or that my dreams couldn't come true- only that they'd welcome me home with open arms if they didn't.”

    He added, “I'm so lucky to have grown up where and how I did, and so it feels like a very appropriate that, 18 years later, we'd be putting out an album that's a love letter to Ithaca, to Upstate New York, and all the people in it. This is TOWNIE. For our town and yours. For the Townies in all of us.”

  • Sam Nelson Harris explained about some tracks for the album.

    “Sunoco” via THE LINE of BEST FIT
    “I was like, how can I describe what a night with my friends in the middle of winter felt like? I was obsessed with this image of a gas station in the middle of nowhere. That's so much a part of my childhood. I so badly wanted to leave and that gas station was this symbol of how transient a place Ithaca felt, and a lot of upstate New York feels. It was either your destination or the place you're going to send off from. A point of departure or a reminder that you're not leaving.”

    “Smoke On the Highway” via THE LINE of BEST FIT
    “You're at a beautiful waterfall and someone's left a six pack and there's a shopping cart that's flipped over. There's that irreverence that I wanted to capture. There's some images that are pulled from real things. There's one part in particular, a friend of ours used to steal steaks from grocery stores and he'd stuff them in his pants. I wanted to create this character whose friends would all laugh at him when he'd come out with his paints stained with blood from the bloody steaks. I think Upstate New York is so known for its beauty, but there's so much darkness there too. It's funny and sad, which is my favourite combo.”

    “Your Town”
    “This song is dedicated to my teacher, mentor, and friend Todd Peterson who passed away in 2021. I owe so much of who I am to Todd. He was the first person to ever get me up on a stage to sing in front of a crowd of people. I was 9 years old, a microphone clutched in my trembling hands, singing “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” (a song meant for someone well beyond my years and experience to sing) and the whole time he was there, side-stage, giving me his signature I-told-you-so look. He knew I could do it before I could. He taught me how to carry myself with confidence, encouraged me to be big when I felt small, pushed me to be vulnerable when I was a steel-trap of adolescent inscrutability. And my story is not unique: Todd had a similarly profound impact on so many of us and was a pillar of the Ithaca community.
    After I left town, he would often bug me about not calling or texting him more, or not responding to his comments online, or wanting me to come back home for Belle Sherman kickball tournaments. I would laugh it off and roll my eyes, but underneath it I think I felt a creeping sense of guilt. So I started avoiding his attempts to reach out. I screened his calls, left his texts on read.”

    “'Half-Life' is a song that celebrates our friends, lovers, partners, spouses, pets, children—the ones who open up new passages in your heart. New valves and capillaries, new corners you didn't even know existed before. On a personal note—I've been with my wife, Tess, for almost 13 years now, married for 5 of them. But we also grew up together in Ithaca. I've known her since I was 17 and I'm 35 now, so that is quite literally half of my life. So, I'll be selfish for a moment and dedicate this song to her.”

    “Follow the Sound of My Voice”
    “I was terrified to write this song. When I first started thinking about 'Townie', I had an idea to write a song about every member of the band. I was going to write one for Adam, one for Russ, and then I realized that I would have to write a song about my brother, Casey. My stomach instantly went into knots. It scared me so much— not only because distilling our entire relationship into a single song seemed so daunting, but also because knew that I'd have to talk very candidly about a pretty big elephant in the room.”
    “Casey is blind. He was born blind due to a genetic disorder called Senior-Løken syndrome. It's public knowledge but I still get uncomfortable talking about Casey's disability because I don't want it to seem like that's the only defining thing about him or about our relationship. But it would be dishonest to act like it isn't. I've helped my brother navigate through the world my whole life. He uses a cane, and I'm often also guiding him by the shoulder. But I can't tell you the number of times I've had both of my arms full of guitars and amps, Casey's got a keyboard strapped to his back, another keyboard in one hand and his cane in the other; and I've had to guide him through a dark dingy venue simply by yelling at him- 'A little to the right- stop! Just to the left- no, your other left- Okay, over here, I'm right here.' Just a voice in the dark, reaching out.
    Casey is a fiercely independent person. He hates having to rely on anyone. But he is often forced to. I absolutely love being able to help and to heroically set my needs aside for anyone... So as you can imagine this dynamic has created some tension. But as far as co-dependent relationships go (lol), I think ours has blossomed into a pretty healthy one. When I finally sat down to write this song, it ended up being very easy. Because despite how complicated it is in my own mind, objectively it's very simple: we love each other a lot.
    Casey- being your brother has been the greatest gift I could've ever asked for. And for all the times I've used you to skip to the front of the line at the airport, I'll love you forever.”

    “No Strings”
    “Ithaca is so isolated, and growing up there like Casey and I did we did whatever we could to give ourselves little ways to escape: riding around town aimlessly on our bikes, on city busses, or in our parents cars; getting lost in the woods, getting into whatever trouble we could find, dangling our feet off the edges of waterfalls with our friends, making out with high school crushes on the cold winter night, snot dribbling into each other's mouths… ways that make you feel like the world is bigger, and like there's nothing holding you back from getting out there.
    As a grown man, I've fallen back in love with upstate NY, and I oddly feel blessed to have had something to rally so hard against/fight to escape from as a kid. You can't hide who you are, and who you are is where you're from. 'No Strings' is an anthem for the lost and hungry—in forgotten cities and towns and townships all over the world—whose restlessness will always burn, and keep the fire in their bellies fed.”
  • source : Apple Music
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