Unpinnable Butterflies celebrate You in their infectiously upbeat single — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
A preview of the band’s upcoming album Radio Ocean, the Paul Simonesque You is a joyful paean to that special someone — the beloved, the best friend, the ace in the hole, the saving grace — set to a rubbery African-inspired fretless bassline, propulsive drums and percussion, and a horn section that raises a ruckus. You is mostly a person, but also sometimes a place, as the lyrics make clear: ‘There’s a room full of sunlight, I’ve been trying to get there since my childhood / I’m not sure, but I think we could.’
Unpinnable Butterflies is the overarching project name for songwriter and film composer Gabriel Judet-Weinshel. Also a filmmaker, it was through this parallel career that he first brushed shoulders with some of his musical heroes, photographing a long list of luminaries including U2, Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, Judy Collins, Sheryl Crow, Lil’ Wayne, Ani DiFranco, Lyle Lovett, Counting Crows, James Taylor, The Black Keys, Nicki Minaj and Elton John, and directing music videos for Ben Harper, Braison Cyrus and Joseph Arthur.
When Grammy-nominated producer and composer Scott Healy heard Judet-Weinshel’s demos and agreed to produce his first record, he found himself again surrounded by musical luminaries, as Healy assembled an all-star cast of some of New York City’s greatest session players and special guests. His debut, The Exile of Saint Christopher, featured drummer Shawn Pelton (Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash), Bakithi Kumalo of Paul Simon’s Graceland, and folk-rock sensation Brett Dennen lending vocals.
For Radio Ocean, due Sept. 24, Healy and Judet-Weinshel have assembled a who’s-who of A-list talent once again. The 13-tune album features Pelton and Curt Bisquera (Mick Jagger, Tom Petty) on drums, the totemic Lee Sklar (James Taylor, Jackson Browne) on bass, Jason Orme (Alanis Morissette) on guitar, a horn session comprised of Conan O’Brien’s Basic Cable Band veterans, and cameos by Americana darlings Birds of Chicago (JT Nero and Allison Russell), saxophone prodigy Grace Kelly (Jon Batiste, Lee Konitz), chanteuse Jessica Childress (Aloe Blacc, Portugal the Man), indie maverick Kate Tucker, and longtime Leonard Cohen collaborator Perla Batalla. Gabriel’s colleague, rock photographer and director Danny Clinch, plays harmonica.
Front and centre amid all of this outstanding talent is Judet-Weinshel’s songwriting. His words and stories are baroque and literary, with invocations of Samuel Beckett, Thomas Pynchon, Arundhati Roy and even a song about David Foster Wallace. At once maximalist and personal, mythological and emotional, the stories told in Radio Ocean capture a modern world’s sundry moments of collapse and crisis. Woven throughout is a personal narrative about the vicissitudes of love, heartache, and the quest for meaning and connection in a fragmented time.