I’ll admit that I’m a bit nostalgic for the physical experience of buying new music. I miss ripping the shrink wrap off of a vinyl record, the smell of the paper insert of a store-bought cassette tape when first unfolded, and flipping through the thick glossy booklet that (barely) fit under the little plastic tabs on the inside of a CD jewel case. Although these experiences are mostly in the past, the album artwork, the visual window into the music “inside” still lives on, in fact, I think it is more important than ever.
This is why I was so excited a few months back when I received a new Twitter follower by the name of Tim Lee, a North Carolina-based artist who specializes in “Surreal Americana.” I was intrigued! When I went to Tim’s website and discovered the mandolin playing character in Vintage Gintage, I knew I had found the artist for my first solo project, Missing Ghosts, which is a mixture of folk, bluegrass and Americana music.
Working with Tim was a real pleasure and a relatively quick and straight forward process. After an initial email exchange, I sent him lyrics and a rough mix of the title track of the album and he went right to work. I did my best not to micromanage the art direction, in order to let the professional artist do what he does best- be creative. I’m very glad I did. Check out the photo gallery below for a little glimpse of his process:
I now feel like the album art is part is part of the music itself and am amazed at how it affects even my own perception of the music’s mood, sonic quality etc.. I’m very happy that the tradition of album art lives on in the digital era, as I believe it really enriches the overall experience of listening to music. Now here’s hoping that digital liner notes catch on…