Far & Away
The Flying Club's debut album 'Far and Away' is the result of a year-long collaboration of musicians, producers and engineers in Austin, Texas and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Founded by drummer/composer Bruce Popky, the project had simple origins as a series of home-studio recordings, in which he explored integrating Brazilian pop sensibilities with original American pop music. With a handful of compositions recorded, he started putting together a group to perform them live. The Flying Club began when he secured the involvement of his friend and former band-mate Luiz Coutinho with the project. Coutinho, a Rio-born Austin transplant, added a vast knowledge of rhythms from Brazil and beyond, as well as an explosive playing style. Vocalist Amanda Walker soon joined the project, her beautiful voice and elegant style naturally fitting with the compositions, bringing them to life. Popky composed more songs for the fledgling ensemble and, with additional support players, the group began performing at various Austin venues. To record the album, he enlisted the help and guidance of producer Mark Hallman, whose many credits include Carole King, Ani DiFranco and Eliza Gilkyson. Rio-based producer/guitarist/composer Eugenio Dale joined the project next, with hit songs in Brazil and a long history of successful recordings and live performances to his credit. Across two hemispheres, recording in both Austin and Rio, the trio collaborated on balancing the many diverse elements that comprise the unique sound of 'Far and Away.' As Austin Music Magazine writer Derek Lowe describes it, the album 'doesn't fit into the usual perceptions of either city's music....' Dale plays guitar on all of the tracks as well as various percussion, and Hallman adds keyboards and additional guitar. Coutinho plays a wide variety of percussion throughout the album, as Popky anchors the tracks on the drums and sings backing vocals behind Walker's lead. Top musicians from both cities also contribute to the album, including: in Rio de Janeiro, bassist Gastão Villeroy, guitarist Billy Brandão and string arranger Luiz Avellar; in Austin, keyboardist Rolf Ordahl, and guitarist Adam Temple. Although the album's pedigree contains much Brazil, the sound is uniquely American, both in theme and in language. The arrangements delve into adventurous rhythmic, melodic and harmonic territory, but intend to strike a balance between these aspects and appealing to many different kinds of listeners.