“In making this music, I simply wanted to see what was there and enjoy it,” said Broemel, who performs Thursday at The Burl. “So for me, the goals are never very lofty. My goals are things like, ‘Play a show with some friends.’ Another goal: ‘Finish the record.’”
The latter was not a terribly pressing issue, either. The Indiana-born Broemel, who lived in Los Angeles for a decade before joining MMJ, recorded the spacious sounding, sometimes folkish and regularly atmospherically inclined songs that make up “4th of July” in piecemeal fashion between 2012 and 2015. It is his third solo album since joining the acclaimed Louisville band in early 2004. Broemel would book recording sessions between My Morning Jacket commitments, mostly at the Creative Workshop studio in his current hometown of Nashville. He brought in friends such as MMJ’s Bo Koster and Tom Blankenship and alt pop priestess Neko Case, and begin to experiment.
I think someone said, ‘Chance favors the prepared mind.’ So I try to live by that maxim, but I also try to let go a little bit.
“I kind of let the songs go in the direction they needed to,” Broemel said. “I think one of the cohesive things about it was just the personnel, as well as the space that we worked in. They’re in the process of updating Creative Workshop right now. But when I was working there, it hadn’t been really updated completely since 1976. So when you walk in there, even on your first day, you’re kind of transported back in time. It’s like this place outside of reality almost.
“Even though we had some breaks — six months here or nine months there — between the times we were there, every time we walked into that room, we were zipped back to the same spot. It was a really comfortable place. It’s like all the music got glued together in that room. So with some creative editing and a nice space to work in, I think the music really came together.”
The songs on 4th of July largely depart from My Morning Jacket’s more electric and psychedelic preferences. Still, on the album’s 10-minute title tune, Broemel creates a soundscape not too removed from his day job band. It’s a work bathed in twilight-hued twang, Case’s otherworldly harmonies and generous but leisurely designed guitar blasts.
“I had written music and chord changes, but I wasn’t sure which lyrics I liked by the time we got to the sessions,” Broemel said. “So instead of worrying about singing, we just played the music for a few hours. It was me and (drummer) Richard Medek and Tom and Bo from My Morning Jacket. We improvised on the music and tried different approaches. It was like an ‘anything goes’ kind of thing. Then I just cherry-picked the cool keyboard solo that I liked and my favorite guitar solos along with the overall band dynamics and then pieced everything together.
“I’m sort of a preparation nerd in that sometimes I get a little overly prepared. But I think someone said, ‘Chance favors the prepared mind’ (the quote is credited to Louis Pasteur). So I try to live by that maxim, but I also try to let go a little bit.”
One of the best things about being on tour with someone who is your pal is that you get those nice long drives to hang and listen to music.
While he assembled a band for shows that initially followed the release of “4th of July” (curiously, in August), Broemel’s fall tour will be divided into two legs of solo performance runs featuring an opening act that will double as an occasional collaborator. The first leg, which includes the Burl performance, will feature Kentucky songsmith Daniel Martin Moore. The second will enlist Dave Simonett from Trampled By Turtles.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Daniel,” Broemel said. “I love his voice. It’s very pure, but he can really command attention in an intimate space. I’m not sure what we’re going to do together. We have an email chain going where we go, ‘Okay, let’s try this song’ or ‘I love that tune.’ So I’m looking forward to spending time with him.
“One of the best things about being on tour with someone who is your pal is that you get those nice long drives to hang and listen to music. That, to me, is going to be as important as the shows.”
If you go
Opener: Daniel Martin Moore
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 6
Where: The Burl, 375 Thompson Road