Bringin’ it Backwards: Interview with America (Gerry Beckley)

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We had the pleasure of interviewing Gerry Beckley of America over Zoom video!

Gerry Beckley, the illustrious singer, songwriter, performer and co-founder of legendary band, America, is set to release a greatest hits package featuring his solo work. Keeping The Light On – The Best of Gerry Beckley will be available via Blue Élan Records on March 26, 2021 with first single, “Self Image” streaming now. The album is now available to pre-order and will be released as a deluxe double cd, featuring a 44-page booklet including photos taken by Beckley during his tour travels over the last 50 years. The album will also be offered as a double LP set in translucent vinyl, or in a limited edition cloudy marbleized version. Included with each pre-order from BlueElan.com will be a bonus CD that contains nine tracks of Beckley-penned songs recorded by all-female contemporary indie artists, and includes covers of classic America tunes such as “Sister Golden Hair” and “Daisy Jane.”

Keeping The Light On – The Best of Gerry Beckley takes stock of Beckley’s writing career so far. The album offers a generous 20-track overview of Beckley’s output — and beyond. Songs culled from his first solo outing, Van Go Gan, whose ringing, uptempo “Emma,” smoothly dynamic “Now Sue” and lush, lightly country-flavored “Goodbye Highway” — all of which he co-produced with good pal Hal Linderman — are featured on Keeping The Light On. The rest of the track listing is also culminated from his six subsequent solo albums — 2000’s Go Man Go, 2006’s Horizontal Fall, 2009’s Happy Hour, 2011’s Unfortunate Casino, 2016’s Carousel and 2019’s Five Mile Road. – including “Watching the Time,” a collaboration with Carl Wilson (the Beach Boys) and Robert Lamm (Chicago). There are also five previously unreleased tracks, including an unreleased America fan favorite, “Norman” and second single “(I’m Your) Heart Slave,” that offer proof of how prodigious Beckley’s output is when he’s in songwriting mode.

Keeping The Light On – The Best of Gerry Beckley takes stock of Beckley’s writing career so far. The album offers a generous 20-track overview of Beckley’s output — and beyond. Songs culled from his first solo outing, VAN GO GAN, whose ringing, uptempo “Emma,” smoothly dynamic “Now Sue” and lush, lightly country flavored “Goodbye Highway” — all of which he co-produced with good pal Hal Linderman are featured on KEEPING THE LIGHT ON. The rest of the track listing is also culminated from his six subsequent solo albums — 2000’s GO MAN GO, 2006’s HORIZONTAL FALL, 2009’s HAPPY HOUR, 2011’s UNFORTUNATE CASINO, 2016’s CAROUSEL and 2019’s FIVE MILE ROAD – including “Watching the Time”, a collaboration with Carl Wilson (the Beach Boys) and Robert Lamm (Chicago). There are also five previously unreleased tracks, including an unreleased America fan favorite, “Norman” and second single “(I’m Your) Heart Slave,” that offer proof of how prodigious Beckley’s output is when he’s in songwriting mode.

“Yeah, I’m pretty prolific,” Beckley acknowledges, “but I like to preface this with the fact I come from the school of songwriting where you need to write 10 to come up with two that are keepers. That doesn’t mean the other eight are crap, either. But you end up with an abundance of material, and you want to have a home for it.”

The solo albums gave Beckley a chance to immerse himself in different kinds of styles and textures. “It’s a challenge because if you’re going to sing all the songs, you want to try to put variety in there,” he explains. “Obviously one of the great things about America is the combined strength; Dewey (Bunnell) is a fantastic partner and a great writer and singer and we really complement each other. So, when I do something on my own it’s not as simple as, ‘Now here’s a Dewey song, here’s a Gerry song…’ Fortunately there are a lot of different kinds of ‘Gerry songs’ that I’ve been able to put on these records.”

While Keeping The Light On focuses on a culmination of his solo work, Beckley has never stopped writing and recording, even amidst a global pandemic — and he shows no signs of abating any time soon. “This record is from this point back, and the stuff I’ve been writing and recording will be from this point forward,” Beckley promises. “This is certainly a summation, I guess, but it’s not the end of the story. It’s amazing to have 50 years in this job. Now I can’t wait to start the second half-century.”

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We want to hear from you! Please email Tera@BringinitBackwards.com.

www.BringinitBackwards.com

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