The story of Rob Wheeler’s 'Ten Embers Archive' album


On the release day of his 'Ten Embers (Deluxe Archive Edition)', Rob Wheeler shares the story behind the album:

 

It’s safe to say, that if nothing else, a global pandemic offers some much needed time for reflection. And in the case of a songwriter, reflection can be a subjective and difficult process.
Any artistic soul will tell you that whenever they are confronted with times of pain and tragedy they will process said event through an outpouring of expression and inspiration. Catharsis through creation.

But where does this leave the much needed processes of grief? Can you simply write a song and come out free of the burdens of loss on the other side? In all reality, the answer is no. But there is also no doubt that the art we have all enjoyed and admired for centuries, which has been inspired by many a creators personal trauma, has left significant marks on the world; and has in turn helped those who do (or can) not express themselves in this way, to deal with their suffering.

In 2021, singer-songwriter Rob Wheeler was in the process of completing his MidWinter Songs EP when he received news that his closest friend and long time music associate; Marcus Birks had died in hospital following complications from Covid-19. It is no surprise that the 4 track EP swiftly became a 5 track EP, Wheeler writing, mixing and mastering a newly written song “Embers” within 4 days of the news. Now a bonafide fan favourite, the song holds the same weight and significance to Wheeler’s followers as McCartney’s lament to Lennon; “Here Today” does to devout fans of Sir Paul.

In 2022 whilst Wheeler was between studio albums and on a UK tour with New York songsmith Nell Bryden; the plan was formed to re-release his two studio albums in the now somewhat over-played “Deluxe” format. Not wanting to undersell his fans Wheeler opted to remix and remaster the whole catalogue and to also go even deeper into his songwriting history and expand the albums from 8 and 10 tracks respectively, into 25 and 27 tracks.

“The original plan was to kind of do what The Beatles did with the Anthology albums. Go behind the scenes and let people hear the journey from demos and outtakes, all the way through to the finished article. The ultimate directors cut complete with blooper reel, I felt it was the only way I could be more honest and allow the albums to be more immersive”.

Upon completion of the tricker first album “Little Ghost”; Wheeler set his sights on “Ten Embers”. Amongst the many demos he had in the endless gigabytes of backed up sessions, there was a 2015 demo of his evergreen “Lantern”. And as it turned out, it was not to be a new song that would lead to the easing of (at least some of) the suffering of this tragedy, but a song from his past, a song from the archives.

Wheeler explains;

“Lantern is one of my oldest songs, it was written around September 2012 and it really is one of maybe 2 or 3 songs that have stood the test of time from my early days as a writer, I always believed it was a special song. So special in fact that I didn’t record it for another 8 years as I was never happy with the set up I had and never felt it would be given the justice it deserved in the studio.”

Here is where things get a little bit spooky.

“I had a few acoustic demos of Lantern knocking around, and I had every intention of using one for the Ten Embers Archive album. One evening I was trawling through files when I found a Logic Pro session that had no bounced tracks. This thing was untouched, but for some strange reason had been included in an extensive search for anything related to Lantern.”

“So naturally I open the session and I’m now listening to three songs, all of them recorded live around a single mic, raw, unmixed and more importantly than anything else - they featured Marcus singing. I literally burst into tears. I instantly knew the session they were from although bizarrely I do not recall recording the session, and after speaking to Marcus’s widow Lis - neither does she.”

“I can not stress how huge this discovery was. I had tried to come to terms with the fact that I would never work on another project with Marcus. And here he was, singing on not 1 but 3 songs - all of which could be included on the album.This file shouldn’t even exist. I have had blown hard-drives, lost countless files on broken systems, replaced my studio computer 4 times and yet here’s this mysterious file from 2012, just sat on my computer waiting for me to find it.”

“The next phase was to speak to Lis and get her blessing which she gave with a full heart. And then it was a case of trying to polish up the very raw takes. Each one was live and everything was on one channel so my guess is these were not for any other purpose than to reference - but you’ll have to forgive my memory here as it was too far back for me to confirm this. I know we had a gig around October 2012 and this was probably a rehearsal, why we would record it and then never listen back to any of the sessions just adds to the mystery for me.”

There is also one final twist in the tale;

“When I first started writing I didn’t want to be a solo artist, I wanted to be in a band and I had my heart set on turning all of my friends into my own version of Fleetwood Mac. We would be a huge family and I would write and produce and all these guys would be my troubadours - like a folk version of the Wu-Tang Clan with me as an acoustic answer to the RZA. The name I gave to this group was When August Comes. My birthday is August and I felt every year when that day came around there was an added pressure to do something of value in my life, a pressure I still feel and one that grows as I get older.”

“It was August 2021 that Marcus passed - coincidence? Probably. But I would only be lying if I didn’t admit I sense more than just a little bit of spiritual intervention on this one. Whatever your faith may be, when someone passes we hope to see them again, and maybe we do if we just look for them.”

The “When August Comes” demos are all included on the album and along with Robbie Sherratt’s wonderful violin work, and Lis Birk’s Stevie Nicks-esque backing vocals; they make for a very interesting and poignant section of an already thoroughly emotional album.



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The story of Rob Wheeler’s 'Ten Embers Archive' album


On the release day of his 'Ten Embers (Deluxe Archive Edition)', Rob Wheeler shares the story behind the album:

 

It’s safe to say, that if nothing else, a global pandemic offers some much needed time for reflection. And in the case of a songwriter, reflection can be a subjective and difficult process.
Any artistic soul will tell you that whenever they are confronted with times of pain and tragedy they will process said event through an outpouring of expression and inspiration. Catharsis through creation.

But where does this leave the much needed processes of grief? Can you simply write a song and come out free of the burdens of loss on the other side? In all reality, the answer is no. But there is also no doubt that the art we have all enjoyed and admired for centuries, which has been inspired by many a creators personal trauma, has left significant marks on the world; and has in turn helped those who do (or can) not express themselves in this way, to deal with their suffering.

In 2021, singer-songwriter Rob Wheeler was in the process of completing his MidWinter Songs EP when he received news that his closest friend and long time music associate; Marcus Birks had died in hospital following complications from Covid-19. It is no surprise that the 4 track EP swiftly became a 5 track EP, Wheeler writing, mixing and mastering a newly written song “Embers” within 4 days of the news. Now a bonafide fan favourite, the song holds the same weight and significance to Wheeler’s followers as McCartney’s lament to Lennon; “Here Today” does to devout fans of Sir Paul.

In 2022 whilst Wheeler was between studio albums and on a UK tour with New York songsmith Nell Bryden; the plan was formed to re-release his two studio albums in the now somewhat over-played “Deluxe” format. Not wanting to undersell his fans Wheeler opted to remix and remaster the whole catalogue and to also go even deeper into his songwriting history and expand the albums from 8 and 10 tracks respectively, into 25 and 27 tracks.

“The original plan was to kind of do what The Beatles did with the Anthology albums. Go behind the scenes and let people hear the journey from demos and outtakes, all the way through to the finished article. The ultimate directors cut complete with blooper reel, I felt it was the only way I could be more honest and allow the albums to be more immersive”.

Upon completion of the tricker first album “Little Ghost”; Wheeler set his sights on “Ten Embers”. Amongst the many demos he had in the endless gigabytes of backed up sessions, there was a 2015 demo of his evergreen “Lantern”. And as it turned out, it was not to be a new song that would lead to the easing of (at least some of) the suffering of this tragedy, but a song from his past, a song from the archives.

Wheeler explains;

“Lantern is one of my oldest songs, it was written around September 2012 and it really is one of maybe 2 or 3 songs that have stood the test of time from my early days as a writer, I always believed it was a special song. So special in fact that I didn’t record it for another 8 years as I was never happy with the set up I had and never felt it would be given the justice it deserved in the studio.”

Here is where things get a little bit spooky.

“I had a few acoustic demos of Lantern knocking around, and I had every intention of using one for the Ten Embers Archive album. One evening I was trawling through files when I found a Logic Pro session that had no bounced tracks. This thing was untouched, but for some strange reason had been included in an extensive search for anything related to Lantern.”

“So naturally I open the session and I’m now listening to three songs, all of them recorded live around a single mic, raw, unmixed and more importantly than anything else - they featured Marcus singing. I literally burst into tears. I instantly knew the session they were from although bizarrely I do not recall recording the session, and after speaking to Marcus’s widow Lis - neither does she.”

“I can not stress how huge this discovery was. I had tried to come to terms with the fact that I would never work on another project with Marcus. And here he was, singing on not 1 but 3 songs - all of which could be included on the album.This file shouldn’t even exist. I have had blown hard-drives, lost countless files on broken systems, replaced my studio computer 4 times and yet here’s this mysterious file from 2012, just sat on my computer waiting for me to find it.”

“The next phase was to speak to Lis and get her blessing which she gave with a full heart. And then it was a case of trying to polish up the very raw takes. Each one was live and everything was on one channel so my guess is these were not for any other purpose than to reference - but you’ll have to forgive my memory here as it was too far back for me to confirm this. I know we had a gig around October 2012 and this was probably a rehearsal, why we would record it and then never listen back to any of the sessions just adds to the mystery for me.”

There is also one final twist in the tale;

“When I first started writing I didn’t want to be a solo artist, I wanted to be in a band and I had my heart set on turning all of my friends into my own version of Fleetwood Mac. We would be a huge family and I would write and produce and all these guys would be my troubadours - like a folk version of the Wu-Tang Clan with me as an acoustic answer to the RZA. The name I gave to this group was When August Comes. My birthday is August and I felt every year when that day came around there was an added pressure to do something of value in my life, a pressure I still feel and one that grows as I get older.”

“It was August 2021 that Marcus passed - coincidence? Probably. But I would only be lying if I didn’t admit I sense more than just a little bit of spiritual intervention on this one. Whatever your faith may be, when someone passes we hope to see them again, and maybe we do if we just look for them.”

The “When August Comes” demos are all included on the album and along with Robbie Sherratt’s wonderful violin work, and Lis Birk’s Stevie Nicks-esque backing vocals; they make for a very interesting and poignant section of an already thoroughly emotional album.



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New Releases: July 2022 03.08.22

Check out this months new releases and listen to our playlist on 


New Releases: May 2022 30.05.22

Check out this months new releases and listen to our playlist on 


New Releases: April 2022 03.05.22

Check out this months new releases and listen to our playlist on 


New Signing: Rob Wheeler 06.04.22

We are delighted to announce that we have signed Rob Wheeler to an exclusive worldwide songwriting agreement - a bit thanks to


New Releases: March 2022 31.03.22

Check out this months new releases and listen to our playlist on