Jeffrey Philip Nelson penned 75 songs for his latest album, “This Rider's Song,” which many were written away from his Redondo Beach home on the road where he would find a good spot in the mountains or along the coast.
“I would bring my guitar with me and find four or five hours where I sat on my own overlooking the ocean or in the middle of nature or in front of a campfire and I would just start writing,” Nelson said. “I would bring my iPhone with me and record melody ideas and harmony ideas and then when I’d get back, I would listen to all the ideas and put things together. I first started this project two years ago ... and picked out the 15 that I thought would be really good to record. I recorded the 15 and said, 'I want an album of 10 songs, so which five am I going to get rid of.' It’s almost like I had this huge vetting process for myself.”
“This Rider's Song,” which was released in April, is Nelson's fifth studio album. He will be performing his new material on Hermosa Beach's Static Beach radio station (www.staticbeach.com) Friday, May 10, beginning at 9 p.m.
Nelson, who is a general contractor and a worship leader at the River Church South Bay in Torrance and Oceanside Christian Fellowship in El Segundo, said this album, even more so than his previous releases “reflects who I am.” He also considers “This Rider's Song” as the “softest” of his works, which swings from a country rock influence to a singer/songwriter Bob Dylan vibe.
“I wanted it to be almost like the stuff you can play at night when you’re drinking a cocktail or having a glass of red wine and sit out on your balcony,” Nelson said. “It’s the music you want to put on to relax.”
Nelson mixed, engineered and recorded “This Rider's Song” himself, but he did get additional help from a couple of backup singers and various musicians. The only expense for the independently produced album was mastering, which was done by Loyola Marymount sound engineer Dusk Bennett. The album was mixed in analog to give it the sound of vinyl.
But he said there were a “couple moments of depression” when making the album and he periodically “hated” it after listening to the tracks hundreds of times.
“There were times when I thought I wouldn’t show a single person this record because I don’t want people to be able to criticize it,” he said. “When it’s all said and done music is subjective. You write music and some people will love it and some people will hate it ... I’m so on board when people say it’s not my kind of music, I don’t get upset, I’m totally appreciative of them. You have your kind of music and I’m going to try to get this into as many ears that like the folk/Americana sound. But at the same time, whatever people don’t like I’m OK with that. I don’t think I was OK with that before. I think I wanted everybody to like everything because I had this idea of grandeur of writing music and everybody wanting to listen to it.”
Nelson's goal with his independent release is to “get it in front of the right ears that would like it.” He burned 500 copies and gives them out for free and his songs are available for free online. His music is also available on iTunes and Spotify. But he is also currently in talks to sign on Unboxed Records, which would be a new direction for his music career.
“It seems like the music business now is everything you can get for free, the demand for music is so low, the supply is so high, so me understanding that ... the moment you start charging a certain price and thinking that’s what’s going to help you get by, there’s 100, 400, 1,000 other musicians that are willing to give it to you for free who are just as good at music. I do music because I love it and I’m going to continue to write it, but I need to give it away for free.”
For more information, visit www.jeffreyphilipnelson.com.