Autumn is in the air with the new solo album from Andy Hall, dobro and vocalist for the Grammy-award winning bluegrass band the Infamous Stringdusters.
Releasing on Friday, September 24, 2021, A Universe Within takes a turn away from Andy’s traditional bluegrass sound and moves into the ambient and New Age realm. This album creates a space to reflect and to feel things in a more quiet, peaceful way.
“Ambient and New Age music has always been healing for me,” Hall shares. “The space it creates, and the quiet colors it paints calms my nervous system, but still equally excites my senses. All of these songs are straight from the ether and into your ears.”
The album’s first single, “Halls of the Eclipse” is out now and available to stream here.
YOGA + Life® took the opportunity to ask Hall a few questions about his new solo album:
Y+L: What was the impetus for writing and recording A Universe Within?
AH: This record is quite a departure for me musically. I’ve always loved listening to ambient music, but have never really tried writing it myself. The inspiration was certainly born from being locked down in 2020 and having quiet time at home. Time to create space and rest a bit.
Just thinking of it now, I can see how the music I make really reflects the world around me. Life and touring had been so fast paced for so many years, and the music I made certainly had those qualities. Finding the silver lining in a difficult year let some things clear out and reveal this much more spacious music. The instrument I play, the dobro, has a beautiful singing quality and a lot of sustain. It was nice to let the instrument shine in that way on A Universe Within.
Y+L: You describe Ambient and New Age music as “healing” for you. The world could use some healing right now — is this album purposely created as an offering of that?
AH: Ambient or New Age music is absolutely therapeutic for me. In a fast paced world it calms the nervous system. Whatever music you have on, it affects our body and mind. Even if it’s just on in the background.
In movies they use music to create an emotional response. If that music is high energy, we’ll take on that energy. Which is fine, but you don’t want that all day every day. This effect is even more enhanced when you’re the one making the music. For me to create ambient music, I really have to be in a calm place, so it’s healing for me in that way.
As I was making this album, I began to think about what others were going through during the pandemic. Sufferening, fear, uncertainty and how hard it must be for folks with mental health issues. In some ways this album is an ode to anyone who was suffering in 2020, and perhaps hopefully can provide a bit of peaceful solace.
Y+L: Can you please share the inspiration story for one of the tracks?
AH: The track “Halls of the Eclipse” was totally inspired by my new friend Harshit Shankar. He’s a young Indian flutist I met on social media. It was actually a rare moment where social media provided something positive!
I fell in love with his playing and that ethereal sound, and so I recorded a quick dobro piece for him to play on, just to post on Instagram. The sound of our two instruments speaking to each other and that video got a huge response. So I wrote a song specifically for us to put on the new record. Two different musical sounds and backgrounds from across the globe meeting and connecting through technology. It was really cool.
Hall says he hopes this album gives anyone who listens to it a gentle musical space to rest and recharge.
“And I imagine I’ll be doing more of this in the future,” he adds.
A Universe Within is available to (pre)order here.
Photo by Trent Grogan.