Each day is a reinvention. For Nashville’s Trevor James Tillery, the process has been performed in front that fickle demographic that has been labeled millennial. To say that this has been a bad thing would be unfair to a creative talent like this songwriter, who is set to release Together, Alone November 10, 2017 (pre-order).
It could be said that the artist, who lists both Los Angeles and Nashville as home base, embraces that duality within his songwriting: a mirror for personal experiences with themes exploring a range of perspectives on the isolation within today’s climate of disconnection. This lyrical expression of disconnect as a result of social media, religion, sexuality, and interpersonal relationships was produced by Joshua D. Niles between the winter of 2016 and the summer of 2017. Though the artist is proud to say that this is a collaborative album, there is a strong identity for listeners to hear, a foundation that is carried throughout the ten song album.
The album cover art comes from London-based photographic duo Stefano and Alberto Scandeberg. Elegant and lyrical, the album art encompases the ideas that pull this artist’s work together, making each element of the release part of a greater whole. For an album decrying social media’s effects, there is a subtle irony in the artwork: Tillery connected with the artists via Twitter after seeing their work, which has been published in Vogue and elsewhere. Small world, big possibilities.
With an eye on the attack of social media and the alienated repercussions of that separate-but-together existence, “In Your Atmosphere” is a taste of brilliance. “Silver Sea” features a landscape of sound enveloped by authentic lush vocals. “Lonely With You” has that echo of Grizzly Bear: a bit less dark and haunting, and more accepting of the isolation. “Numb” may be the standout track of the album, as it encompasses everything thematically. It is hauntingly disjointed, with an almost rave-like tempo and a falsetto kicking in on the chorus.
Creating a different feel within the songs, “Immortalize” could feel out of place if not for the way that the album was released: Tillery chose to release the album one single at a time. Dripping out each song on its own gave the tunes a chance to breathe and find their audience. Like many people today, Trevor agrees that most listeners are unable to commit to immersing in an entire album at one sitting. While admittedly critical of the lack of patience that listeners have when sitting down, embracing, and digesting an album in one listen, there is a method to Tillery’s madness with Together, Alone.
The space trip of “Equilibrium” is an invitation for the listener to contrast much of the rest of the record. It is a little jarring, but that may be the point. Throughout Together, Alone, Trevor James Tillery is urging his listeners throughout to stop, wake up, and connect on a real plane. —Lisa Whealy