Album Premiere and Interview: Anthony Garcia “Acres of Diamonds”

Album Premieres Listen & Watch

Americana Highways Anthony Garcia Acres of Diamonds, available this Friday July 17. Acres of Diamonds is Anthony Garcia on guitars and vocals; Megan Berson on violins, viola, and cello; Ileana Nina on fiddle on “Fire Song”; Jeremy Fowler on bass; Charles Godfrey on drums. The album was produced by Transient Mic; engineered by Jeremy Fowler; mixed by Charles Godfrey (Scary American Studios) and Jeremy Fowler; and mastered by Steven Berson (Total Sonic Media).

You can hear the mournful Southwestern winds blow all through Acres of Diamonds, Anthony Garcia’s genre-blending new album. We had a chance to ask him some questions about his new hard drivin’ Americana-meld album. Listen below, after the ordering information. .

Americana Highways: Talk us through how you put this album together.  What made you decide to go into the studio and start recording?

Anthony Garcia: This album contains songs that have been with me for many years, through many performances, band incarnations, and some were even previously recorded. The longer a song has been around, the more it morphs and takes on a different life and character, and you finally become more familiar with it and learn to sing and interpret it over time as a performer. It was these songs, that had not only survived the test of time and my personal and artistic scrutiny, that I felt were the survivors and deserved some extra polishing up – a facelift if you will; they deserved to be updated and given their due, and I felt I also owed it to myself to properly document these glimpses into my life as an artist. Some of the songs are newer ones that have never been recorded or performed live at all, but I nevertheless felt a kinship towards them and felt they held something intrinsically special.

I say all of this because, as artists, we can be our own worst critics and can be generally more apt to discard something of our own creation. The lesson we hopefully learn is to have enough patience in the end to allow time to show us the beauty in what we’ve actually created. This album is special to me in that way.

AH: How did the album song selections come together?

AG: Four of the songs on the album have been around for a long time, five of them are newer, relatively speaking. With a total of nine songs being on the album, I decided to choose three that were guitar-heavy, three that were somewhat string-heavy, and three that were more ethereal. But the main criteria was to have songs that found the balance between representing me as an artist based on songs I’d written long ago and what I feel I am today.

AH: Did you have more you were considering that didn’t make it onto the album? 

AG: I did. And that is the next album (which is already completed in my mind) that I will soon be recording and releasing in the hopefully not-too-distant future after this. Again, songs that have stood the test of time in my mind, but previously recorded and unrecorded; songs that fit together in a collection aesthetically, songs that I feel are good songs, but that will delve even deeper into each of the highlighted aspects of this current album: cinema; hard guitars and strings; the song.

AH: How long of a “writing phase” is covered by the songs on the album?

AG: The oldest song reaches back fourteen years, and the most recent song is two years. There was a point in time where I would’ve been superbly embarrassed to have admitted the truth in that last sentence. There is an aspect of the “songwriting” community that prides itself on the prolificity of songwriting evident via “30 Day Songwriting Challenges,” or “A Song a Day for X amount of Days Challenges.” I used to put pressure on myself to emulate this sort of productiveness and hail it as the true example of songwriting. I tried to write like a “songwriter” was supposed to write: short, succinct songs with lyrics that could be easily grasped and understood upon first listen and could easily be performed at a song circle or some similar type of gathering.

After many years of tormenting myself in this way I’ve finally learned that it’s ok to create and write the way I do. And the way I write is not contrived, but is just the way it comes out, and that’s ok. I realized that I have been my own obstacle in some ways and that if a song takes me a year, two years, 10 years to write, or even to just feel ok with, that’s acceptable to me. I am not putting down the “songwriter” challenges and other tools such as creative prompts and co-writing techniques, etc. I’ve simply found that none of that works for me.

In short, I am more comfortable in my own skin now and actually proud that I’ve allowed myself to really take time on these songs to make sure they’re absolutely perfect. I guess you could say I’m playing the long game here. But the result is that I’m happy and proud of what I’ve created. This album has been sort of therapeutic for me in this way, and many other ways. It’s allowed me to accept myself as an artist, something that might be hard to understand from the outside looking in, but being an artist is a journey of honest introspection and self-evaluation. This album has given me the chance to explore this.

AH: How was the recording process for the album?  What was the studio vibe like?  Any great stories from the studio or nuggets to share about the creative process overall?

AG: For me, the recording process is something that has generally had some anxiety attached to it. So, I was fortunate enough to work with friends who played on and produced the album who created a very supportive and positive environment in the studio, not on my behalf, but just because that is who they are as people (Jeremy Fowler,; violinist, And having those people in the studio leant itself to some great banter between takes, taking breaks and going to eat, and, of course, the sessions where we might have indulged a little in the drink. I have nothing but positive memories of making this album.

AH: This album has a lot of different musical “flavors” on it, yet they all work so well together.  What do you think defines the Anthony Garcia sound?

AG: My love for various styles of music including classical, rock, baroque strings, heavy guitars, songwriting, and approaching a song as if it were to be featured in the scene of a film are what define my sound. I not only love a lot of styles of music, but try to represent styles of music that I’ve actually spent time with and tried in my own way, however successful or unsuccessful, to master. In doing so, I have taken away from the experience a general understanding of a particular style of music, and more than anything, a deep appreciation.

For example, I dedicated a portion of my formative musical training to classical music. I essentially stopped playing guitar and devoted time to the practice room, scales, devouring as much music from the great composers as I could. And, of equal importance, I spent a lot of time listening! Now, I would never call myself a classical pianist, but I’m a musician who spent time with classical music through the piano. There is a difference. Similarly, I would never say I was a jazz pianist, or a flamenco guitarist, etc. I’ve spent a deal of time with certain genres and have found that the purpose of all of this was to bring these styles back to the form of the song, and use them as tools to dress up a song. And I feel that combining all these styles in my music not only illustrates my styles as an artist, but documents my journey as a human.

AH: How do you feel about the finished album?

AG: I feel that this is probably the first album I’ve been a part of in my life that I am 100% proud of, not because I wasn’t proud of others, but because of the simple fact that the songs on the album are all mine. I am proud of the quality of the way it sounds, the production value, and the level of talent on the album that helped produce it and bring the songs to life. I feel fortunate to have collaborated with such talented people and have them use their talents to bring my songs to fruition. I feel like, for the first time in my life, I have an album that accurately depicts me as the artist I feel that I truly am.

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