The recordings on Gerroa Songs were made at a seaside house in Australia in March, 1999. The house, a former nunnery and now haunted, and the setting, by the ocean with rocky windswept beaches and dolphins leaping in the sun just outside the windows, would infuse the recordings & the entire experience from the outset.
While no ghosts were seen during their stay, the simple recording procedure (8 track, few mics and plenty of room sound, a la Cowboy Junkies’ Trinity Sessions would capture the unique & captivating ambience of their surrounding beyond anyone’s expectations. Creaking floorboards, the rhythmic thrum of insects all around as the sun set over the ocean, and the chords and harmonics bouncing playfully around the room the dilapidated old structure permeate these special recordings, making them an irreplaceable document of a special time for Archer and his Australian friends & companions. An aural snapshot of a few days by the remote Australian oceanside.
The music itself also reflects the surrounding and the recording procedures. Delicate. Simple. Windswept like the beach. And at times, even a little spooky. Austere pop music without the studio trappings that have made Archer’s recent solo albums so dear to people’s hearts. Fine Australian musicians (Tony Dupé, Ian Bothams, Leo Mullins, & Kirsty Stegwazi) played guitar, bass, drums & cello, all captured as they were played. Upon returning to Chicago, Archer’s only nod to the studio was to bring in the incomparable Susan Voelz (Poi Dog, Archer’s other solo LP’s) to record violin parts of her making & Tania Bowers to add backing “Aaaahs” that both only add to the airy qualities already captured. 8 songs of his finest work done in a simple, inimitable manner.