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In the midst of putting together that band - upstate New York's The Felice Brothers plus the legendary drummer Jim Keltner (Neil Young, Jackson Browne, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and many more) - the passionate responses Oberst was getting to those first solo recordings, from friends and colleagues, encouraged him to release the songs as-is, in their original sparse form, released in October 2016 as Ruminations.
Pitchfork called it “a record like none other in Oberst’ s catalog, stunning for how utterly alone he sounds,” and the UK’ s Sunday Times called it, “The rawest album yet from the forever troubled one-time voice of a generation.
In Fall of 2015, and after more than a decade of living in New York City, Oberst returned to his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, somewhat unexpectedly.
Like John Lennon so famously said: “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.” After canceling a tour with Desaparecidos due to serious health issues, Oberst returned home to recuperate.
I had just spent the whole winter making fires and playing music.”Making and playing music has always been a healing balm for the sometimes troubled musician. And in the same kind of immediacy with which the songs were written, Oberst realized he needed to record them right away, in order to capture the kind of raw intensity and rough magic behind them.
When Oberst wrote and recorded the songs, with just voice, piano, guitar and harmonica – he intended to ultimately record them with a full band.
He brought such depth and dignity to the proceedings that made everyone else involved rise to the occasion.“Los Angeles is interwoven into my music inherently,” she says.“I don’t necessarily try to reference it, but because I’m pulling from experience it just appears.It was a true stroke of luck that he got involved when he did."Don’t let the somber tone of her music fool you: the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers has a sunny disposition.“I’d hate for someone to think I’m sipping an espresso somewhere judging people or feeling sorry for myself.