It’s A Donald Fagen-Produced Album, So You Know This Band Can Really Play

Imagine how it intimidating it would be to have Donald Fagen as your record producer. When he co-produced all those Steely Dan records with the late Walter Becker he was known as an extreme perfectionist in the studio, on one famous occasion going through seven different session guitarists before finding the keeper solo for the song “Peg”. If he was my producer I’d be terrified to play a note in front of the guy.

This could be a reason why Fagen almost never gets called upon to produce other people’s records. The last time he did was for Becker’s 1994 solo album 11 Tracks Of Whack, and that was pretty much an inside job anyway. Well here it is the year 2018 and Donald Fagen is producing a new record again, this time for Austin-based singer/songwriter Peter More, and it’s a debut album at that. It seems like a bit of an odd partnership until you hear the really excellent first single “In The Basement”, and then it starts to make a little more sense because this band really grooves.

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The partnership came together by accident, with More meeting Fagen while both were on vacation in Mexico. More had left the Brooklyn folk-Rock band Oh Whitney and was looking for a new direction for his music, and the two struck up a friendship. They started jamming together, then they started jamming with More’s band, and before long Fagen had agreed to produce More’s record. Fagen put it this way in an interview with Rolling Stone:

The guys in the band, aside from being fine players, each had a great sense of fun and a strong musical personality. Pete is mostly Texas with a Mexican twist; Jose and Diego come from Latin backgrounds; and drummer Adrien’s parents are global expats. Although the Texican thing wasn’t in the foreground of my experience, the music had a smart, savvy edge, and I got hooked. It’s an American dish, but it’s served with hot sauce.

All of that comes through on “In The Basement”. Right off the top you get More’s great voice and the razor sharp tightness of his band, they’ve got that electricity that happens when great musicians play together. The dual-attack, dual-tempo guitar break in the middle is a thrilling bit of Rock mastery and worth the price of admission alone. It’s certainly not a great piece of songwriting by any stretch, but who knows, maybe some of Fagen’s genius in that department will rub off on More if they keep working together.

Peter More’s debut album Beautiful Disrepair is set to drop on June 29, and I’m looking forward to hearing what else these guys can do.

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