It is a thoroughly modern record, about loss and acquisition, punishment and reward, hopelessness and grace. A forlorn day-dreamer considering the view of a metropolis. A visitor to a mythical river, that may or may not hold the key to salvation. Sometimes the narrator asks for forgiveness for an imagined crime, and sometimes he is planning an actual one. Sometimes Gantrim sings alone with an acoustic guitar, and sometimes a reverb-drenched organ coats an almost post-industrial drum and bass beat. On 'Keep On Up', he dispenses life advice, perhaps talking to a younger version of himself, about the perils of friendship and love; the flow of words punctuated by his piercing slide-guitar. The title-track, 'Alone and Adrift', floats atmospherically with vibraphone, electric guitar, bass and percussion, as the singer describes a dreamt conversation with heavenly angels. And on 'A Million Miles To Go', a heavy, pulsating rhythm-and-blues beat, brightened by a honky-tonk piano, takes us across highways and U.S. states, bus stops and street corners.
Willy Gantrim was born in Wisconsin, raised in Texas, and moved to New York City at the beginning of the century. Before finding a home in Brooklyn, he bounced around the United States, picking up odd jobs wherever he went. From what he can remember, he has worked as a dog walker, busboy, bartender, corner store janitor, grocery store stock boy, construction worker, as well as a brief in a dental floss flavoring factory and several months in the surveillance office of a Mississippi Gulf casino. All the while, he taught himself to play guitar, and began to learn and sing old songs from the deep wellspring of the American folk tradition. Upon arriving in New York, he quickly fell into the city's burgeoning roots music scene, which eventually found a home at Brooklyn's Jalopy Theater.
When Gantrim came to Copenhagen in the summer of 2012, he arrived with a suit-case full of songs and the intention of recording a "nice little country and blues album." The result is an amalgamation of sounds and references: from the rough growl of the early bluesmen, to the gothic balladry of traditional gospel and old-time music, to the honky-tonk of Hank Williams, to the dreaminess of doo-wop and girl groups of the 60s; anchored constantly by Gantrim's highly individual and distinctively modern songwriting. The sound straddles the border between traditional and contemporary.
Recorded over ten days in Wind Some Lose Some's home studio, 'Alone & Adrift' features the multi-instrumentialists Carlos St. Ana, Hampus Melin and Mike Ellison, and was produced by Anders Christophersen. It will be released on vinyl, CD and digitally.
Gantrim is set to perform extensively in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and the United States.
There's already an Oscars buzz surrounding this movie.