KatsüK got the idea for his new album the way most artists do: touring New Zealand.
Around the time of the veteran singer-songwriter’s quest to insert his song “There and Back Again” onto the soundtrack of The Return of the King, a Lord of the Rings movie being filmed in Kiwi Country, he was approached by a woman from the Travel Network asking him to write a theme song for a documentary.
“It was like every two months, people started asking me for a song,” KatsüK said. “My greatest joy is writing music and being the one to help say what people want to say.”
The result of these commissions and a handful of previously unreleased or unheralded KatsüK originals make up Commissions & Recommissions, Vol. 1. Recorded, mixed, and mastered by the multi-instrumentalist at his home studio, the 11 mostly soothing tracks are “very personal,” he said, not only to him but to those who asked him to write a song for them. Vol. 1 will be available Wednesday at Katsuk.com/Store.
“Over the last six years, I’ve been blessed with people that have reached out for commissioned songs,” KatsüK said, “so that’s kind of the commissioned aspect of the album. I tell people every cell and atom in your body is vibrating a chord. My goal is to help people find their voice, writing these songs. The recommission side of it were old songs I found recently. My friend found a hard drive of songs that were lost for 15 years, so I wanted to put them out there.”
KatsüK is well-respected not only in North Texas but around the world. Along with also performing in his eponymous band, Spoonfed Tribe, the Skin & Bones Drum Cult, and A-hummin’ Acoustical Acupuncture, he has shared stages with Colin Hay (Men at Work), Los Lonely Boys, Cas Haley, Cowboy Mouth, Guy Forsyth, Brave Combo, Ian Moore, and many others, and his eponymous band’s most recent albums, Ecstasy and Labyrinth, were both nominated for Native American Music Awards.
For Vol. 1, KatsüK, who played a variety of instruments and sang, received contributions from Rich Stitzel (drums), Justin Pate (keys), Sam Stroheker (percussion, bass, guitar, flute), Andrew Robin (ukulele, guitar, flute, keys), Evan Jones (guitar), and SteveO Liscomb (guitar, bass, keys). For KatsüK’s upcoming full-band performances, he will be joined by Liscomb on bass and keys, Robin on violin, and Andy Weaver on drums.
KatsüK sifted through more than 400 songs to come up his original contributions to Vol. 1.
“Not a lot of bands can play out, so it seemed to be a good time to put out an album,” KatsüK said. “It feels like the words and lyrics in it will hopefully bring peace and solace to give people a place of sovereignty and stillness with what people are going through right now but also gets people moving.”
Though KatsüK’s music is normally tribal, dramatic, and jam band-y with heavy rock tones and reverb-drenched vocals, the sounds on Vol. 1 are decidedly more chill. Opener “Myth and Legends” is a spiritual awakening of sorts anchored by soft acoustic strumming and flute.
“Born of myth and legend and shooting stars,” he sings in his bright, sweet voice. “Spirit incantations on sandy bars / A world wild and unknown of tales untamed / How I feel so at home on roads unpaved. / To castles of stone from forests to see / We’ll travel along to where fairytales lead / To glimmering isles of / Monsters and nymphs / To the pyres of love that burn within.”
KatsüK said his goal with Vol. 1 was “to give our fans the softer, more acoustic side of what we do. It is what I have heard many ask for for so long, so this is our way of giving something more soothing for these times we’re in. SteveO, Andy, Andrew, and I are very excited about the fire and potency of the next album, which will address many social issues and is also the funky rock side of KatsüK, but … Commissions & Recommissions … is our way of tapping into a different part of the music we love. It is nothing like we have ever done before, as each album has its own personality different from any of our previous albums. This one is special to me because it was such a creative joy to be able to put into song, what others have always wanted to say but didn’t know how.”
KatsüK said artists have been “one of the hardest hardest-hit professions,” but “as always, we will find a creative way to let art live, and the support of our fans has kept us alive in a myriad of ways. We are all being pushed into becoming something new, and we are praying that what emerges is something better for all of us than we could have ever imagined. On behalf of us, we just wanted to say thank you for supporting our brothers and sisters in the music industry, and hopefully we’ll all be dancing in tight spaces again, drenched in sweaty ecstasy.”
6pm Sat at American Revelry, 279 W Hidden Creek Pkwy, Burleson. Free. 817-484-6553.