UPDATED: 05/14/20 5:35 a.m.
Bob Nanna has a new album, but it needed a home. So the 44-year-old Chicago songwriter famous for his roles in Hey Mercedes, Braid and City on Film called every label he’s ever worked with to find one.
“In the end, it was Keith & Susie's enthusiasm for the project that made my decision easy,” Nanna told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, alluding to Tampa indie-rock totems Susie and Keith Ulrey.
So now, Celebration States—Nanna’s first proper solo album—is being released via the Ulrey’s label, New Granada Records, on July 10.
The all-acoustic album was entirely recorded on September 7, 2019, a day that would’ve been Nanna’s wedding anniversary. He said Celebration States “documents the highs and lows of a one year-long story.”
“It’s autobiographical and I purposely awaited a positive resolution before I decided to complete the project,” Nanna added in press materials. In short: It’s Nanna’s divorce album.
Celebration States’ road to New Granada started after Nanna released a single, "Do You Want To Buy A Guitar?", in October. Keith Ulrey sent Nanna a compliment, and then got a breakdown of the album’s concept. Keith and Susie then dove in.
“It was just a heartbreakingly beautiful album. At the time, I casually mentioned we would love to release it,” Keith told CL. He and Susie then saw Nanna play a solo set at Gainesville’s Fest. Afterwards, the three of them hung out and the Ulreys again asked Nanna to keep New Granada in mind.
“There was just something special, honest and transparent about these songs and the personal journey he was sharing,” Keith added. “Surprisingly (to us!) in January we got a message from Bob that simply said 'Let's do it!'"
So the 10-track LP is on the way, but Nanna’s not sure what a tour in support of Celebration States might look like. His June South America tour is postponed, and a personal August trip to France is in limbo, too. But there is one sliver of hope.
“Because I'd be touring solo, I can be pretty nimble with when and where I can tour,” Nanna told CL. “In the meantime, I'll probably do a livestream event and play the whole album soon.”
In the meantime, Nanna is continuing to post covers online like he’s done for years. His time quarantined has its ups and downs, as expected, but he’s naturally finding little things to celebrate, too.
“Keeping a schedule helps a lot and I've been keeping a journal as well, specifically for the occasion,” Nanna said, adding that the spare time has allowed him to learn new chords and arrangements while getting recording and production practice in.
“I can focus on projects that I'd been putting off. Creative ones like the covers or this video that I'm shooting— but also the practical stuff like getting rid of old clothes and organizing my records.”
Getting rid of the old and reorganizing your life—we can toast to that, too.
Pre-order Celebration States via New Granada.
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