Stolen glances, forgiven memories and moments of joy are the backdrop of Ed Askew's wonderful album "For The World". The record is as considered and reserved is it is full of experience, like discovering a quiet green park in the middle of a busy city. Delicate piano, guitar, banjo and harp mix with Ed's harmonica and politely support his words as someone who can reflect on chances and choices by way of New York observations and imagined scenes. "For The World" is an articulate album, an elegant album, but foremost it is an honest album.
"Ed Askew" is a painter and singer-songwriter who lives in New York City. Born in Stamford, Connecticut, he moved to New Haven to study painting at Yale Art School in 1963. After graduating from art school in 1966, Askew was called up for the draft. Not feeling particularly enthusiastic about going to war at age 26, he looked for a teaching job and found work at a private prep school in Connecticut. It was while teaching he started making songs. The singer-songwriter moved to New York for a few months in 1967 where he met Bernard Stolman of ESP Disk' (Pearls Before Swine, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler), who offered him a contract. That year Ed's first album was released, "Ask the Unicorn" (on Parlophone in the UK) and it quickly disappeared into folk-psych obscurity. Ed spent his time living and performing around New York.
In the summer of 2011, Ed Askew embarked on his first US tour at the age of 71, in support of the limited vinyl/ digital re-release of the 80's era cassette tape "Imperfiction". Ed was accompanied on piano by Jay Pluck and travelled with tour mates, The Black Swans. Two weeks later, as a result of the tour, it was decided that Jerry DeCicca of the Black Swans and producer of the final recordings of Larry Jon Wilson (Drag City/ 1965 Records), would assist Ed in making a record. Down the street from the Cotton Club, they spent a week in a West Harlem warehouse that September. Ed Askew was joined by Jay Pluck, two members of The Black Swans' Tyler Evans (banjo, tiple, electric guitar-- and now a permanent member of Ed's entourage), Canaan Faulkner (bass) and Eve Searls (backing vocals), along with Mary Lattimore (Meg Baird, Thurston Moore) on harp. Later on, electric guitar was added by fellow outsider Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello) and backing vocals on 3 songs by super fan Sharon Van Etten. The results of those sessions were to become the album "For The World".
released September 16, 2013
Recorded in a West Harlem warehouse, down the street from the Cotton Club over 4 hot days, in September 2011.
Ed Askew - vocals, harmonica, xylophone
Jay Pluck - piano, ukulele
Tyler Evans - banjo, electric guitar, tiple
Mary Lattimore - harp
Canaan Faulkner - double bass
Marc Ribot - electric guitar on "Paper Horses" and "Maple Street"
Sharon Van Etten - backing vocals on "Rodeo Rose", "So", and "For the World"
Eve Searls - backing vocals on "Blue Eyed Baby" and "For the World"
Jerry David DeCicca - backing vocals on "For the World"
All songs written by Ed Askew
Produced by Jerry David DeCicca
Engineered and mixed by Keith Hanlon
Marc Ribot's tracks were recorded by Francois Lardeau
Sharon Van Etten's tracks were recorded by Jon Chinn
Cover painting by Ed Askew
Mastered by Adam Boose at Cauliflower Audio in Cleveland, Ohio
Thanks to all the musicians and engineers that contributed their time and talents to this project. And special thanks to everyone at Tin Angel Records, Mary Ho, Ben Goldberg, J.P. Olsen, and Candace Thompson for work, organization, and support.