Sometimes it's tempting to reflect on the road not taken. But while most of us regard a fork in the road as an either/or proposition - left or right? - Trey Anastasio instead sees a convergence of opportunities. Traveler, the new solo album that he co-produced with Peter Katis (The National, Interpol, Jónsi), marks the coalescence of the many roads Anastasio has taken in his remarkable career and caps off a year that he characterizes as one of his busiest, most creatively fulfilling yet.
Over the last year, he's toured the U.S. in three separate configurations: playing arenas with his band mates in the GRAMMY®-nominated, genre-busting band Phish, concert halls in a series of orchestral evenings conducted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Scott Dunn, and intimate clubs with his septet, Trey Anastasio Band. He also found time to co-write the music for Hands On A Hardbody with Amanda Green (High Fidelity). Penned by Pulitzer Prize winner Doug Wright, the musical premiered at Southern California's La Jolla Playhouse in May 2012 and will open on Broadway in the 2012-13 season.
"I really enjoy the give and take, the push and pull, the team work," says Anastasio. "It's one of the things I've always liked about Phish - the unified work together toward a goal. It's so deeply satisfying. I felt that way as I made Traveler, working with Peter and all these new musicians, like we were sculpting something. And working on the play, Hands On A Hardbody, was very similar."
Trey's touring band, Trey Anastasio Band, has returned to the road in support of Traveler, which also features many members of the band. From it's beginnings in 1998 the band has included original members Russ Lawton (drums), and Tony Markellis (bass), and over the years has added Cyro Baptista (percussion), Ray Paczkowski (keys), Jennifer Hartswick (trumpet, vocals), Natalie Cressman (trombone, vocals). The latest tour featured new-comer James Casey (saxophones, vocals).
You can view the band's recent performance on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" at this link.
In a review of his recent sold-out show in Chicago, Rolling Stone praised Anastasio's ability to "push the boundaries of pop music," noting: "all his moves - from his decision to offer up nuanced takes on Phish classics like ‘Gotta Jibboo' and ‘Sand,' to the more noticeably refined nature of new album cuts like ‘Corona' and ‘Frost' - reflected a musician eager to walk outside the confines of his already notoriously-loose rock outfit."