Gilbert Neal: The Politics & Prose of 'The Mayor of Estes Park'

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Eclectic songsmith delivers label debut album.

U.S. independent label Wampus Multimedia introduces 'The Mayor of Estes Park,' the label debut album from North Carolina-based songwriter Gilbert Neal.

Neal's eclecticism might suggest a changeling, or a dilettante, or maybe a jack of all trades and master of none. But he is more curious than distracted, more inquisitive than restless. In his mastery of rock, funk, folk, blues, jazz, and even musical theatre, he embodies the modern pop artist: an intrepid tourist of styles.

After releasing four albums independently, Neal created 'The Mayor of Estes Park' by raising every bar — from songwriting to performance to arrangements. From the existential funk of “God’s Board Game” to the plaintive wit of “Four Chords” to the loopy joy of “I Had a Girl,” he grabs with hooks and grooves, pranks and koans. Swinging from the mainstream to the fringe, he is earnestly sincere one minute and brutally sardonic the next.

“The Beatles were my first and most powerful influence,” he says. “I don’t think saying that you ‘love’ the Beatles is sufficient. I think it’s almost cellular. As the years went by, my influences included artists like Leonard Cohen, Pink Floyd, ELO, Stevie Wonder, and Steely Dan. And being a bassist for a local theater sparked my love of the form mastered by Sondheim.”

Neal sees himself as a dyed-in-the-wool solo artist. “I have tried to be in bands and tried to treat them like democracies, and I guess I’m just not made for that sort of thing,” he says. “When I got done with my last democracy, I just wanted to chuck everything. That lasted about two years. And then my first solo album came out, which was more or less a purging of demons…”

“All my albums touch on religion, sex, age, and hope,” he says. “I treat them all like musicals.”

'The Mayor of Estes Park' joins a Wampus Multimedia roster that includes recent and imminent releases from tvfordogs, Uncle Green, Waterslide, Big Bus Dream, Aux.78, The Crowd Scene, Arms of Kismet, the matthew show, The May Bees, Johnny J Blair, and Kowtow Popof, as well as popular tributes to Jonathan Richman, Lou Reed, and Warren Zevon.

Wampus Multimedia is an independent media label run by artists, for artists. Its credo is simple: to introduce the world to bold content rendered by unique artists. It is home to a growing roster from a variety of genres, including pop, AAA, Americana, alternative, ambient, blues, and folk.

'The Mayor of Estes Park' is available at Amazon, CD Baby, iTunes, Bandcamp, and many other outlets.

Gilbert Neal

Wampus Multimedia

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Mark Doyon
since: 08/2008
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