Alternative folk singer Curtis “C.K.” Flach is two years removed from his first solo project and is back with another album, this time a collaborative effort with The Rising Tide.
The ten-track album titled “American Romance” dropped as a digital release in May; however, the group is throwing a release party to unveil the physical product at Savoy Taproom on Saturday, June 30, at 9 p.m.
Flach said the unusual gap between digital and physical release was so as not to compete with this year’s MOVE Festival. The one-day music festival, in which C.K. and The Rising Tide performed, was within days of the record’s digital release.
Flach has been pushed into the forefront of the local music scene since performing solo at last year’s MOVE Festival. That’s when he shared the same billing as Sawyer Fredericks, and Jocelyn and Chris Arndt — two bands with burgeoning pull on the national scene — at Cohoes Music Hall. He commands the stage as a master wordsmith with a vocal range akin to the late Lou Reed. He does so, also, as a versatile musician. He played every instrument in his 2016 release “Empty Mansions.”
Flach was still putting hammer to anvil last year while performing in support of that album. When we spoke with him last July, he hinted he was working with a few musicians on another album. Those musicians were The Rising Tide.
Flach’s folk style and resemblance to Reed would seem to fit somewhere in New York City’s Greenwich Village. A place to sit down to clean delivery of music and lyrics that tell stories of personal struggle and current events. Flach said hosting the release party in Albany’s own Village neighborhood only worked out because the band practiced within a few steps of the bar. Flach said he’d never walked into the Savoy Taproom before. Once he stepped in, he said it was perfect.
Turning the creative switch back from solo to collaborative was an adjustment, Flach said, adding that he likes to write songs by himself.
“There were creative differences that arose,” said Flach. “Differences makes it sound a little bit negative. There was just other input. Input coming from different places as we went. Some songs took totally different avenues than I had planned.”
The differences between band members sprung creative epiphanies Flach said he would not have been able to develop on his own. With “Desire,” he said he walked into the studio with an idea and then was presented another by the band’s bass player, Chris Brant.
“When we were recording the song ‘Desire,’ I had one idea for the song,” said Flach. “Then, our bass player comes in with this bassline that’s like this bluegrass back-and-forth bassline. I just never thought of something like that. I liked it right away, it’s just I’m not a bass player. I never would have thought to go there.”
Flach said there was another instance when Danny Boudreau, the band’s keyboardist, introduced a piano melody for “Contraband.” The group loved the sound, as did Flach, who already wrote the words for the song. However, his rhythm wasn’t matching with the melody. He scraped the lyrics and wrote a new one. Flach said everyone walked into the studio with an open mind.
“The beautiful thing about recording is that you can always change it,” said Flach.
The end result is a patchwork quilt of personal themes. The poet said he won’t name any of the ten songs as a favorite, as it changes with his mood. However, people who approach him about the album each share the name of a different track as their favorite song; something he said is indicative of a well-balanced piece of work.
“They’ll all tell me that they [each] like a different song,” said Flach. “And, to me, it’s a good thing. I’m happy to hear that, because that means each song is doing something for somebody, and that’s kinda what my hope was across the board.”