JPR Live Session: Michael Rault
Michael Rault’s second full-length, It’s A New Day Tonight, has its home in the darkness, like much rock and roll—many of its songs look at nocturnal activities, particularly sleep. “Sleeping and dreaming were attractive concepts,” says Rault. “I was looking for an escape from a lot of frustrating and dissatisfying conditions in my day-to-day life.”The Edmonton-born, Montreal-based singer-songwriter-producer began working on its songs in earnest after winding down the tour supporting his 2015 full-length Living Daylight, but getting to the point of having an album was a process. “It’s crazy to think it was that long ago that I started fully applying myself to the album—there were a lot of holdups along the way,” recalls Rault. “Musically it came out of a period of dissatisfaction, creatively and personally, as I found myself pushing against the limitations of my abilities and approaches to making music.”
But those delays eventually paid off. As he was working on It’s A New Day Tonight‘s songwriting, Rault kept entering the orbit of Wayne Gordon, producer and head engineer at Brooklyn’s legendary Daptone studio—first through opening stints for the late firebrand Charles Bradley, then while on tour with Aussie shredders King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. “I thought I would record at home, or at my cousin’s studio in Montreal,” says Rault. “But I wasn’t fully satisfied.” Sending Gordon early sketches of some songs led to Rault heading to Daptone for what was initially going to be a two-week recording stint. Midway through that Gordon approached him about signing to the Daptone Records label’s rock spinoff, Wick—and becoming the first Canadian member of the Daptone family. “It was really flattering, because I had no idea if they liked it or not,” says Rault. Signing with Wick also led to Rault finishing the record at Daptone and bringing Gordon on as co-producer. “Michael is one of those once in a lifetime artists.” says Gordon. “Working with him on this record was a reassurance that pursuing music in my life was the right choice.”
It’s A New Day Tonight has the loose-limbed feel of a lost album by ’70s bands that bridged the gap between folk-rock’s open-hearted strumming and power pop’s crisp, melody-forward confections—Wings, Badfinger, Big Star, 10cc—yet possesses an energy shot through with 21st-century optimism.