Guitarist Julian Lage Shares New Song: “Nothing Happens Here”!

Photo Credit: Alysse Gafkjen


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Press Release: February 7, 2024

“Throughout my life, I’ve always responded to music that has a narrative quality to it,” Lage says, explaining that he sees his recent compositions as less a departure than an extension of originals from previous albums, notably his 2021 Blue Note debut Squint. “I believe there is a kind of connective tissue that music has, and it’s important, and it’s fun to cultivate.”

Julian Lage

Guitar virtuoso Julian Lage has released the fourth song from his vivid and wondrously textured new Blue Note album, Speak To Me. The acoustic-guitar-based ballad “Nothing Happens Here” features Kris Davis on piano, Patrick Warren on keys, and Levon Henry on saxophone, alongside Dave King on drums and Jorge Roeder on bass. A video of this band performing “Nothing Happens Here” live at SFJAZZ on January 20, 2024, premieres today on YouTube.

“What a joy it was to perform ‘Nothing Happens Here’ live with the Speak To Me album band in San Francisco last month,” says Lage. “Though we recorded this music as a band in the studio, to perform it live feels like an entirely different beast. It is such a treat to be playing acoustic guitar amidst a larger sonic field, while still being able to hear everything so clearly. It is surreal and totally lovely.”



Out March 1 on Blue Note Records, Speak To Me was produced by Joe Henry and offers a series of dispatches from Lage’s ongoing search for narrative beyond words. Intimate in tone and capacious in intention, the music travels a wide range of American music and delights in the deliberate crossing of wires between gospel hymn and rural blues, California singer-songwriter sunshine, and skronky jazz.

The 13-track set of new Lage originals was introduced last month with a 2-track single pairing the hard-driving, bluesy “76” with the atmospheric acoustic ballad “As It Were.” The album also includes the previously released single “Omission,” a reverent tune imbued with a pastoral swing. Speak To Me is available for pre-order now on black vinyl, CD, and digital download, as well as an exclusive color vinyl variant including the bonus track “Cars/Colors” which will be available on the Julian Lage Artist Store and the Blue Note Store.

Speak To Me showcases the guitarist in a variety of settings, including solo acoustic, duo, his accustomed trio with bassist Roeder and drummer King, and a larger ensemble with keyboards (from Kris Davis and Patrick Warren) and woodwinds (Levon Henry). It’s Lage’s fourth effort for Blue Note, and it’s part of a torrent of creative activity that includes his participation in Charles Lloyd’s Trio of Trios project and records with Terri Lynn Carrington, John Zorn, and Cautious Clay.

When Joe Henry — the singer, songwriter, and producer responsible for landmark albums by Solomon Burke, Allen Toussaint, and many others — first heard Lage’s songs in rough form he says he was immediately captivated by the challenge of the project: “For me it became ‘How can we make a record where Julian is improvising throughout, as is his gift, while we’re also attending to the song?’ Everything had to exist in service to the song form.”

Lage marvels at how Henry managed to shape the vibe of Speak To Me without speaking much at all. “Ever so discreetly, he would guide things,” he says. “Joe holds a space for things to happen. Sometimes that means getting everyone out of the way or protecting the tune from someone getting in the way. It’s like he had a forcefield around the project.”

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If you would like to support all the work I do on Jazz Guitar Life, please consider buying me a coffee or visiting the Jazz Guitar Life sponsors. Thank you and your patronage is greatly appreciated regardless if you buy me a coffee or not 🙂

About Lyle Robinson 353 Articles
Lyle Robinson is the owner/creator/publisher and editor of Jazz Guitar Life, an online magazine dedicated to the Jazz Guitar and its community of fine players worldwide.

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