Cory Becker has taken a long road to get to his debut album. The singer-songwriter and guitarist got his start in the mid-2000s as a member of St. Louis-bred glam-punk provocateurs Living Things, eventually carving out a space in Los Angeles as a sideman, session player and co-writer.
His album “One” was birthed in a dirt-floored room in the basement of his Echo Park house — as with the studio, he built the album himself, embracing analog recording techniques in his engineering and production. And except for some notable appearances from friends, he performed all the music himself.
It’s an album that in many ways embraces the traditions of American folk music yet abides an important creative M.O.: Go where the song takes you. Becker transforms “Rivers” from a simple paean to acceptance into an incandescent, almost-cosmic meditation that rises and falls over rustling percussion and pedal steel employed as an element of ambient drone. Think of it as a cowboy mystic’s take on “Que Sera, Sera.”
“‘Rivers’ is a song I wrote to a person I was in a relationship with, who struggled with fear and uncertainty of the future, and our future specifically,” Becker says simply. “The track is inspired by a basic sentiment: You cannot stop what will be, so let it happen, whatever it is.”
The album’s first single, “Haunt,” is a glowing duet with from Jade Castrinos, once of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. She is one of a handful of guests on the album, including the Magnetic Zeros’ Alex Ebert (a co-writer on “Virgin of the World,” among other appearances), Aaron Sperske (Elliot Smith, Ariel Pink), Josh Adams (Beck, Devendra Banhart) and Ryan Richter and Frankie Palmer on lap and pedal steel, respectively.
“One” will be out in early 2020.
||| Stream: “Rivers”
||| Also: Stream “Haunt” (feat. Jade)