Saul Redhill ushers you into a musical landscape that is both intimate and expansive on his striking debut album New Jerusalem — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
“This music marks a return for me – to something bigger than myself, but to something where I belong,” the enigmatic Toronto singer-songwriter explains. “It’s a place of unconditional love and acceptance; that the most painful lessons can bring about the most growth in the heart.”
Heart, head, soul, spirit; they are all nourished by Redhill’s distinctive and evocative sound. The skilled composer wields a stylistic palette that gracefully and seamlessly fuses lush pop balladry with elements of jazz, classical, country, rock and more — which he then elevates and decorates with poetic lyrics that tackle love, loss, life, death, faith, philosophy and more. The result: One of the most dynamic and distinctive debut albums of this year. Or any year, for that matter.
Start with the title track. It’s little more than bare vocals, guitar, and trumpet — yet the listening experience is immersive and captivating. Shifting gears into Orion, Saul’s deep voice carries over into a downtempo groove that is dynamic, orchestrated, and moves from solo vocals to a wall-of-sound end. Jazz and groove-like elements are working throughout To Catch a Lizard and the reprise, which form the first and last songs of the album respectively. Badlands and Elegy display a bent towards art-rock, and hard jazz, while In Ashes is an alt-rock/country showstopper with a mesmerising outro. And At The Gates of Hades is an instrumental work that would feel comfortable in either film noir or a country western. How many songs can you say that about?
Unsurprisingly, the 29-year-old Redhill is as unique as his creation. The singer-songwriter, composer, lyricist, multi-instrumentalist and composer was born in London to South African parents, but moved to Toronto at two years old. His father played the violin with friends in duets and string trios, his older sister played piano and his younger sister played cello. Saul started playing violin at seven, beginning a musical journey that included everything from youth orchestras to jazz-rock power trios. For his previous solo project Present Waves, he wrote, recorded, and played all the instruments (save drums) on the Wakeup Shot EP in the summer of 2014. Exploring multiple genres like psychedelia, garage, folk, and alt-country, the EP marked a turning point in his career, earning widespread acclaim.
Since then, Redhill has obtained his M.Sc. in Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, worked at Cancer Care Ontario, volunteered with a humanitarian NGO in Jerusalem and moved to the U.K., returning to Toronto the day the quarantine began in 2020. His first new music since 2014, New Jerusalem marks a departure from his previous work, while retaing his strong musical and lyrical elements. Committed to faith and philosophy, Saul’s music leaves no illusion. His lyrics harken back to classicism and eons past, reveling in the great mysteries that many philosophers have pondered over generations. Listening to these tracks, one thinks of David’s Book of Psalms or St. Augustine’s Confessions.
Just shy of his third decade, Saul has seen and experienced what most would in a lifetime. This album is his testament up to this point. Saul looks forward to breaking new ground as a composer, with new projects on the horizon including a follow-up album and documentary score.