The symphonic tinged collection of songs runs the gamut of emotions from life changes, love, hope and acceptance in Stephen Winston's first release since 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / PRURGENT
DENVER - Sept. 27, 2018 -- Though many of us amble through life thinking somehow that the Universe is supposed to cooperate with our hard-wired need for happy endings, sometimes the greatest enlightenment – and the most inspiring works of art - emerge from those places inside where problems and relationships stay Unresolved. It's the perfect title for Stephen Winston's highly anticipated fourth album, considering the emotional upheaval that the insightful, wisdom-rich singer-songwriter has experienced since the release of his critically acclaimed 2014 set Grayling (produced by Joel Jaffe). On the epic, symphonically textured title track, he sings, "Just pulled back the curtain/Something's quite uncertain/It's not what it seems/It's not what we dreamed…" Though it's a personal reflection about the darker secrets of a beloved family member, it's something we can all collectively relate to.
For Unresolved, true to the album's more deeply personal songwriting, Winston gets back to his roots, collaborating with Michael Pfeifer, who also co-produced, engineered, mixed and mastered The Overlook Sessions and its follow-up Gradient Nights (2011).
Unresolved marks the launch of a new relationship between Winston and veteran composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist Steven Cooper, whose glorious string arrangements on "Sun on the Boats," "Unresolved,""Maybe It's For James" call to mind the legendary work that the late Grammy Award winning arranger Paul Buckmaster did in Elton John's early days. Cooper also contributes unique sonic textures like banjo, bouzouki, charanga and accordion.
Winston, ever the insightful and emotional musical storyteller, found life affirming ways to chronicle some of the traumatic personal and family challenges he has faced in song. One of his daughters gave birth to a premature baby, resulting in months of Neo-natal ICU care and many sleepless nights wondering if the boy would survive. The experience resulted in the song and first single "Maybe It's for James," a string-enhanced ballad where the darker feelings of wondering how they got there give way to offering just enough hope to get through. The singer is happy to report that James is now a healthy five year old boy.
The months he spent as a near full time caretaker to his mother as her Alzheimer's worsened inspired the poignant, rootsy mid-tempo pop/rocker "For What Purpose," in which he imagines seeing the world from her perspective. Winston counters that song with the lilting piano-vocal driven "Remember," in which he reflects sunnily on his childhood memories with her – encapsulated by the line "I hear you tell me that life will be grand, my son."
Winston artfully balances the heavier themes on Unresolved with spirited observational tunes that tap into his pop-country leanings. "Maidens" is a tongue in cheek, Eagles-Neil Youngesque look at women who put too much thought into their appearance and are always after a perfection they never should have looked for to begin with. The jangling pop-rocker "Rainbow County" is a story song about a once thriving farming town in Nevada that's seen better days. "Talk of the Town" is a plucky, fiddle laced country folk gem about rumors, gossip and the tendency of people to whisper about others. The most optimistic song on the album is the beautiful and vibrant opener "Sun on the Boats," which finds Winston softly reflecting upon the gifts of a Southern California morning as he watches from a distance as early rising lobstermen catch their fresh bounty.
"I always remind myself that music is the one thing that can take me many different places and discover things about myself I might not otherwise be in tune with," he says. "It is an incredible blessing to have the opportunity to write songs and make music, knowing that when I do that, it will be there forever."