After Being “Restless” on The Punisher, Singer-Songwriter Joel Ansett is a little more at “Ease.”

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There’s a steady rhythm that opens the track “Ease,” the latest offering from singer-songwriter Joel Ansett. The unwavering beat at the heart of the song belies the experience that led to its creation. Ansett, like many during this tumultuous time, has struggled to find his footing, with anxieties running through his mind. “Prayer has kept me going,” he tells American Songwriter. “My wife is also an amazing steadying force.”

The song came about when the Denver-based musician was in Los Angeles doing some co-writing. “Early on I just remember playing that riff over and over to calm down and get out of my own head; and then those lyrics started coming out,” he says. It’s a song, he says, “for all of the over-analyzers and the friends who keep them sane.” The track is a kind of shout-out to the those close to him, the folks “who help my brain stop running around so much.” Ansett admits he has struggles he’s been trying to overcome, and through the words of his latest song, he shares them.

I wanna see myself clearly, like when you’re near me.
Showing me who I am
How do I keep forgetting?

“I ended up showing the riff to [producer] Nick Pingree,” says Ansett. “He helped me fine tune the ideas and turn it into a finished song. It was really a great co-write experience.” Ansett drew on his own experiences to flesh out the lyrics and paint a bigger picture of what he was experiencing. “My people-pleasing tendencies can wear me out and I’m increasingly thankful for friends who have a calming presence and who can help me be my actual self,” he says.

The lyrics speak of too many voices, lights and loud noises, throwing me around again, and Ansett admits it’s an honest reflection of how he has been feeling. “I haven’t really felt  grounded to be honest,” he says. Still, the song is a tender ode to the friends and family members who have kept him going, with their words and their presence.

Ansett, who gained attention in 2017 with the folk ballad, “Give Our Hearts Some Weight,” which amassed well over a million streams on SoundCloud alone, released his second album A Place I Knew Before last year. It was made possible with the help of a crowdfunding campaign. In relation to that album, which saw him stepping into places of both grief and hope, Ansett says “Ease” isn’t as heavy or as dark — “which is nice,” he adds. “But it’s in the same general space. It feels less like moving on and more like adding to the latest album.” 

For Ansett, the song itself also displays his ability to blend folk and R ’n B together with gentle aplomb. It’s a sound that’s been honed by years of playing the open mic circuit and working with other songwriters. “I don’t really go into the studio with plans to blend genres,” he says. “We normally just start searching for sounds that pair well and over time the song reveals itself.” Ansett’s been working with producer and bassist Jon Joseph (The Technicolors, Jason Mraz, Niall Horan). “He’s a wizard. “He’s a wizard at finding sounds that feel intriguing and familiar at the same time. With this one, we started by tracking that lead guitar and the rest of the sounds fell in line from there. I think the open mic circuit is a huge help in fine tuning a song. Sometimes I’ll think a song is finished and great but actually performing it for people can help reveal what parts of the song still need work.” 

Ansett’s co-writing sessions continue to bear fruit. A track he co-wrote with his friend, Utah-based musician Ryan Innes, called “Restless,” found its way onto the small screen, playing on the TV series, The Punisher, in an episode entitled ‘Flight or Fight’ last year. “It’s a scene where the main character turns on the radio and our song is playing in the car,” says Ansett. “It was fun to see and I certainly hope there’s more opportunities like that down the road.” 

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