"Powerful observations of life's daily beauty, rendered exotic by wildly imaginative production. This soars, truly." – Ken Stringfellow
It’s been an eventful two years since Scott Gagner’s highly acclaimed Pins & Needles (#5 Best Album of 2017, Powerpopaholic). “I started taking better care of myself, lost 40 pounds, moved my job and family out of San Francisco, and bought my first house.” His new album, Hummingbird Heart, provides a soaring, sunny soundtrack to those changes and much, much more. “I’m trying to broaden the possibilities of pop music. I think that a good song should be incredibly melodic, yet still cover the entire spectrum of the human experience.” With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the songs touch on themes such as childhood, fatherhood, mid-life crises, divorce, addiction, recovery, suicide, and even the devastating wildfires of his long-time home of Northern California. “It’s a dark time, but also a beautiful time. I, for one, have never felt more alive. This album is the first time I’ve succesfully captured that complex balance between light and dark, youth and experience, and, ultimately, life and death. I think the record reflects the whole spectrum, especially the feeling of breaking through fear and embracing life.”
Though Gagner played the lion’s share of the instruments, the album features long-time collaborator Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, Big Star, R.E.M.) and newcomer Jesse Chandler (Midlake, Mercury Rev, John Grant) who added a new level of lushness to the album. It also contains a breathtaking rendition of Neil Young’s “Philadelphia,” which Gagner chose as a tribute to his late uncle — a casualty of the AIDS epidemic touched on in the song. Hummingbird Heart is recommended for fans of Wilco, Big Star, XTC, The Shins, and Elvis Costello.
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“Hummingbird Heart...might be the most flat-out beautiful record I’ve heard this year. GRADE: A” –John Borack, Goldmine Magazine
“Lyrically brilliant. Easily one of the finest power pop albums of the year, Hummingbird Heart is a must listen for anyone who loves thoughtful, hook-laden pop.” –Richard Rossi
“Hummingbird Heart is to be played slowly, at the speed of deep sensations. A fine collection of beautiful songs that engage the listener in pleasing melodies that tell personal — yet universal — themes.” –Paolo Milea
"Gagner really wanted to expand his horizons on this record and he sure did as the songs are all over the place with hooks sneaking in at every turn. Four records in and it seems like he has hit his peak." –Daggerzine
"The melodies are bigger...charm personified...essential listening." –I Don't Hear a Single
"Fans of Brian Wilson, Amiee Mann and Roger McGuinn will find a lot to love here. In fact, I could not find a single false note or ounce of filler. You couldn’t make a more beautiful album. #5 Best Album of 2017" –Powerpopaholic
"Pins and Needles continues Scott Gagner's ongoing hot streak. Once again, this West-coaster is top of the pops. Included in 'Favorite Records of the Year'." –Alan Haber, Pure Pop Radio
"Gagner delivers big time with songs that are diverse, engaging and memorable. #7 Best Album of 2017" –Power Pop News
"The guy is a seriously good songwriter." –Tim Hinely
"More hooks than Roland Martin's tackle box." –The College Crowd Digs Me
"Flawless musicianship and melody.” –Powerpopaholic
"Gagner stands a cut above the rest thanks to an abundance of clever songwriting." –Bill Sullivan, Now This Rocks
“Lies in the DMZ between baroque balladry and adrenal power pop. Luscious arrangements and soulful vocals make this pure ear candy.” –The Lightning Round
"Gagner’s soulful vocals are alive, resonating from the emotional foundation that grounds these dozen gems. "Rise & Shine" is nothing short of a masterpiece, as affecting a collection of songs as you’re likely to hear all year." –Alan Haber, Pure Pop Radio
Originally from Minnesota, Scott began his musical career as a drummer soaking up local favorites Prince, Hüsker Dü, Trip Shakespeare, and The Jayhawks. He moved to San Francisco, traded his drum sticks for an acoustic guitar, and began writing. From the start, his songs were rhythmically sophisticated and melodically mature, with hooks both surprising and inevitable. An obsession with home recording quickly developed, and he soon found himself spending every night hunched over a cheap four-track cassette recorder. Several years and several hundred songs later, Gagner was ready to polish the best tracks for his acclaimed, genre-hopping debut Rhapsody in Blonde. His second LP, Rise & Shine was at once more sonically focused and ambitious, swimming in lush layers of vibraphone, strings, and horns. 2017's Pins & Needles represented a new high-water mark, landing on numerous Top 10 year-end lists and spawning the single "The Ghost of Me & You" which became the lead-off track on Twelve String High Volume 3. Hummingbird Heart is his fourth LP.
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