Timber Rock: That’s what Scott Pemberton is calling the style of music he plays, and it’s also fittingly the title of his second studio record, which is due out on Friday, February 20 and celebrated that same night at the Star Theater.
“We've been touring a lot since the release of Sugar Mama” in 2012, Pemberton says. “Seriously, back and forth across the country a bunch of times. We did just over 40,000 miles of van touring last year!! My point is, most of these tunes are road tested. We didn't write the songs, record them, then go play them live. We've been out playing them live, seeing if they develop a life of their own. And if they do? Hey, maybe they should go on a record!?”
Working again with producer Steve Berlin (of the multiple Grammy Award–winning Los Lobos as well as a “good friend and general badass”), who produced Pemberton’s previous record (Sugar Mama) and “has played a ton of live shows with me and we work really well together,” Timber Rock was recorded by “renaissance engineer” Bryan Appel in his Stove Top Stuff studio.
“The whole album was recorded live in the studio,” Pemberton says. “Two of the songs on the album were recorded live in my basement as demos. When I met with Steve to select songs for the album (we did live demos for a bunch of possible songs), with those two, he was like, ‘That’ll work!’ So that’s what’s on the record: the original basement demos. I think that’s cool.”
With art by Tinker Hatfield, the legendary Nike shoe designer whose resume includes many a pair of Air Jordans, there’s ample raw talent behind the scenes so why not premiere a “last-minute add to the album”—the leisurely, funky “Best Thing,” which, if you screwed up February the 14th, this could make for a better-late-than-never Valentine.
“I just kept waking up with this tune in my head, so on the last day in the studio, I was like, ‘Hey, let’s give this one a shot.’ So we nabbed a last-minute live version of it. And it sounded cool!! Being the last day in the studio, we never had the opportunity to overthink or overproduce it. We just banged it out, and there it was.”