Pre-Order Stephen’s New Album:  A Passing Train – A Compilation

over the red sea

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Track Listing

    1. 1) Blue Heron
    2. 2) The Singing Bus Driver
    3. 3) Black Cat’s Stroll
    4. 4) Anything Could Happen
    5. 5) Who’s Crying Now
    6. 6) We’ll Still Have Today
    7. 7) The Sweet Life
    8. 8) The Rooster Crows
    9. 9) Magdalena Spoke
    10. 10) When I Cross the Divide
    11. 11) A Better World

On March 4, 2022, Stephen Doster released over the red sea on faw Records. The intimate journey in song, his third solo release in seven years, follows the strongly acclaimed albums, Arizona and New Black Suit, both on Atticus Records “For me, the record is kind of a travelogue starting with that boat on the album’s cover, which was taken by the Horn of Africa, and continues on to London, then from Dublin to Belfast, Virginia to Mississippi, and ultimately back home to the Texas Hill Country, all of which took place just before the world stopped in the global wave of pandemic,” says Doster. “It’s my most acoustic record, and we recorded it entirely on 2” analog tape, like all of my favorite records growing up.” Like its two predecessor albums, Doster self produced over the red sea, at EAR Studio in Austin, Texas.
The musicians lending their talents to the project are Chris Searles(drums and percussion), Sam Pankey (upright and electric bass),
Seela (vocals), Rich Brotherton (vocals, cittern, tenor guitar), Andrea Magee (vocals, bodhran, penny whistle), Jon Grossman (vibraphone, electric and acoustic piano, organ), JM Stevens (vocals) Brian Standefer (cello), Sam Jeffrey (flugelhorn), and Doster himself vocals and guitars. The record marks a reunion with both Searles and Standefer who first appeared on his solo debut, 1996’s Rosebud. “I love working with them. They are some of the most joyous sessions in my life.”

The album’s credits also include a memoriam to Nanci Griffith, who passed away during over the red sea’s production. Doster’s connection to Griffith is a long one as he collaborated as guitarist and music director for her early records, There’s A Light Beyond These Woods and Once In A Very Blue Moon, as well as appearing on her Austin City Limits debut way back in 1985. A second ‘in memoriam’ dedication also appears for Dr. John, aka Mac Rebennack, who recorded Doster’s song “Baby There’s No One Like You,” accompanied by Willie Nelson, for Double Trouble’s 2002 star studded release, Been A Long Time. After its release, the album climbed to #1 on Billboards Blues Chart remaining for two weeks. Other artists who have recorded Doster compositions include Maren Morris, Albert Cummings, and Storyville, among others.

Since co-producing Jane Gillman’s Pick It Up with Griffith’s longtime producer, Jim Rooney in 1986, Doster has been the producer of over 70 records. Among them is Maren Morris’ debut Walk On, with whom he co-wrote the title track. Others include Carolyn Wonderland Bloodless Revolution, Stanley SmithIn The Land Of Dreams, and George Ensle Be A Better Me, which enjoyed great radio success on folk music radio in the U.S. and Europe in 2021. Doster credits his early work with James Honeyman-Scott of The Pretenders as his inspiration for producing records. “He was a brilliant pop arranger and taught me a lot.”

Over the course of his career, Doster has shared the stage with a long and eclectic line of musical luminaries, including Joe Cocker, Lyle Lovett, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Little Feat, Patty Griffin, Ricky Nelson, Squeeze, Marshall Crenshaw, Ani DiFranco, and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot. In 2012 Doster became an arts envoy for the U.S State Department. He has since performed in six African countries including Eswatini, Lesotho, Mauritania, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, and Eritrea. “It’s a mission to spread goodwill and peace. I’m all for that.” In 2016, the Texas Songwriters Association honored Doster by inducting him into their “Texas Music Legends Hall of Fame.” 

The label’s name, faw records, is in homage to a dinner Doster shared with his friend, the late comedy great Bill Hicks. At one point while passionately expressing his disenchantment with much of the films and music of the day, Hicks said “It’s a fucking art war man.” As well as an acronym for Bill’s declaration, the word ‘faw’ itself means, “a member of a nomadic people,” a perfect metaphor to embody the musical journey that is, over the red sea.