Marcus Eaton’s new collection of songs comes at a crucial moment when listening is one of the most comforting things we can do. Invisible Lines, due for release digitally and on limited edition vinyl on May 22, contains songs of contemplation and exploring ways to unite rather than divide. You can pre-order the album on his site, www.marcuseaton.com.
“The ‘Invisible Lines’ refer to the physical and geographical boundaries that divide us, which have now been erased by technology,” says Eaton of the whole EP. “The world is more connected than ever before, yet we are still looking for connection. Will we grow further apart or use our connectedness to find common ground and improve the world?”
Eaton has self-produced Invisible Lines, perfectly balanced with three acoustic and three full band tracks that he feels represent his best music to date.
He took the time to write a track-by-track for the album, giving readers of American Songwriter an idea of where the songs came from.
Invisible Lines was originally inspired by the situation at Standing Rock. The whole world was watching as the Sioux tribe stood up to protect their sacred land against soldiers and police wearing full riot gear and the threatening development of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
It is a modern version of a theme that has been repeated for eons but this time we were all part of it. Technology has erased the physical boundaries and invisible lines that used to separate us. We are all more connected than ever before and we are responsible for using these connections to make the world better.
The Violin on this track was played by Lizzie Ball, who used to play with Jeff Beck. She did an incredible job bringing the song to a beautiful crescendo. The outro vocals were sung by a group of friends including Jeff Young (Jackson Browne, Sting, Steely Dan, etc.)
The sound of glitches in the background (including the final outro) is acoustic guitar through effects.
“Step Aside” begins with a question: ‘Would you rather see somebody take a fall than finally make a stand and rise above it all?’ Empathy is something that the world needs more of and now we are witnessing the complete downfall of out-dated ways of thinking.
Our current socio-political system is based on sheer greed and thankfully the new generation is coming together to change it. They are the tide and the old guard has to step aside to make way for an improved future.
The kalimba sound was created with an acoustic guitar and piece of plastic.
You can be right next to someone and feel a thousand miles away or you can be a thousand miles away and feel like you are right next to someone. In love, we strive to be closer to one another but sometimes we are only meant to be together for so long. If we can’t run parallel forever, then I believe we are closer to finding true love. That is what we are here to do. The lyrics came to me immediately as they sometimes do when the music inspires an underlying emotion or story waiting to be expressed.
My last relationship was very long distance and I was in love and extremely connected to the woman I was with, despite being thousands of miles apart. We had to make some very difficult decisions together as to whether our lives could run parallel. So Closer is about being connected to someone regardless of physical distance and reflecting on the beautiful moments together. But it is also a positive look forward because even if we love and lose, we are closer to finding what we have been searching for all along.
When I began writing Closer I started with the guitar part, which is typical for me. However, this song is in an interesting open tuning and the left and right hand parts are doing something completely independent. My left hand is tapping the notes on the neck and my right hand is playing open strings. It takes a lot of coordination to play the part and sing over the top so it’s a fun challenge for me.
The guitar part is based on hammering with the left hand and strumming different strings (in a different rhythmic pattern) with the right hand. The background vocals on the bridge of the song were created by singing through my guitar (which has a mic inside) and effects pedals. I sang one note at a time and we mixed them like a separate instrument.
The string sounds on the outro are ALL acoustic guitar. I used a volume pedal and delay to create Violin, Viola, and Cello parts that are stacked like real strings. I am really happy with the results which most people will never know are not real strings!
Shadow Of A Bird:
The best and perhaps only teacher is failure. Failure can only be defined within but it helps us to refine ourselves and become who we want to be. This song is about having enough space to fly and enough space to fall (try a tailspin.) I am very inspired by birds and they are a constant inspiration of the freedom we need to develop and spread our wings.
I began writing this song in the center of Rome in the courtyard of Piazza Venezia and the song came to me almost immediately. Every element of this song should make you feel like you are flying.
The world we have been handed is broken and it is our job to take care of it and improve it. We are all connected to the health and vitality of this planet we call home and a threat to the environment is a threat to all life.
I began writing the guitar part for this song and it was circulating in my mind constantly. I went out for a hike in the mountains and the whole first verse came to me. I tried it when I returned home and it fit perfectly. It makes sense that an environmental song is born in nature.
One of the first albums that had a huge impact on me was Sting’s album Nothing Like The Sun. It was a ubiquitous part of my early life and my brother and I would listen to it very often. A few years later, when I was around 10, I saw a TV special where Sting was playing “Fragile” on a nylon string guitar; I was completely captivated by it. I learned the song and we performed it in my very first band.
A few years ago I was playing it for a friend and he suggested that I make a recording. I have had comparisons to Sting and I thought it would be cool to put my own spin on the song. It really came to life and I felt it was the perfect song to round off my new album. The sentiment is just as valid now as it was when it was written.
There are some really cool fast guitar parts that are tucked underneath the solo section. They sound similar to a shaker but they add a great intensity to the build of the solo.