“Whoever said ‘You can never go home again’ was wrong.” In June of 2021, Scott Gagner and his family moved from their long-time home of Northern California back to his native Minnesota. “Life had become unreasonable. I found myself acting on primal, caveman-like instincts I’d never had access to before. Basically, fire = bad. Get wife and children away from fire.” Throw in a global pandemic and a major health scare, and the songs of BloodMoon “just poured out.” What’s remarkable is that the songs — though born out of crisis and desperation — ultimately attain a sense of triumph and peace of mind.
To achieve this, Gagner combined soaring string arrangements and growling synths, driving powerpop and zero gravity ambience, 1970’s piano balladry and 3-part prog rock epics. The result is his most ambitious, lush, melodic, experimental, soulful, and deeply personal statement to date.
For the second album in a row — including 2019’s “Best of the Year” Hummingbird Heart (Power Pop News) — Gagner played most of the instruments, layering surprising combinations of nylon string guitar, vintage Roland synths, piano, 12-string guitar, and African Tongue Drum. The tracks were then further augmented by long-time collaborators Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello, Elliott Smith, Ron Sexsmith), Jesse Chandler (Midlake, Mercury Rev, John Grant) and newcomer Steve Berlin (Los Lobos, The Replacements) on Baritone Saxophone. Gagner took full advantage of the “silver lining of the COVID-19 lockdown,” pioneering new avenues of remote collaboration with musicians based in Austin, Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis, Little Rock, Vancouver, and France.
BloodMoon’s penultimate track is a heartbreaking 17-verse tribute to his late uncle — a casualty of the AIDS epidemic entitled My Father’s Brother. Says Gagner, “That song took 20 years to germinate, and one pre-dawn hour to write.”
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“BloodMoon is a deeply personal tone poem...emotional and heartfelt. It’s a slow burn album with more layers than an onion. There’s something endearingly seventies about this record, yet it is as modern as tomorrow.” –Mike Baron, Pop Geek Heaven
“2019 BEST OF THE YEAR (Hummingbird Heart). Lyrically brilliant...a must listen for anyone who loves thoughtful, hook-laden pop.” –Richard Rossi, Power Pop News
“Gagner really wanted to expand his horizons and he sure did as the songs are all over the place with hooks sneaking in at every turn...it seems like he has hit his peak.” –Daggerzine
“Fans of Brian Wilson, Amiee Mann and Roger McGuinn will find a lot to love here. You couldn’t make a more beautiful album. #5 Best Album of 2017” –Powerpopaholic
“Pins and Needles continues Scott Gagner's ongoing hot streak. Once again, this West-coaster is top of the pops. Included in 'Favorite Records of the Year'.” –Alan Haber, Pure Pop Radio
“Gagner delivers big time with songs that are diverse, engaging and memorable. #7 Best Album of 2017” –Power Pop News
“The guy is a seriously good songwriter.” –Tim Hinely
“More hooks than Roland Martin's tackle box.” –The College Crowd Digs Me
“Flawless musicianship and melody.” –Powerpopaholic
“Gagner stands a cut above the rest thanks to an abundance of clever songwriting.” –Bill Sullivan, Now This Rocks
“Lies in the DMZ between baroque balladry and adrenal power pop. Luscious arrangements and soulful vocals make this pure ear candy.” –The Lightning Round
“Gagner’s soulful vocals are alive, resonating from the emotional foundation that grounds these dozen gems. "Rise & Shine" is nothing short of a masterpiece, as affecting a collection of songs as you’re likely to hear all year.” –Alan Haber, Pure Pop Radio
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