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Charlie Treat

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Years before releasing his self-titled Charlie Treat EP — a collection of melodic, lyric-heavy songs, caught somewhere between organic folk, Americana and lushly-layered pop/rock — Charlie Treat grew up on a farm in New England.

It was a rural childhood. From a young age, Treat identified with the working-class music that suited his surroundings. Field hollers. Work songs. Delta Blues. Folk songs. He loved it all, steadily building the bedrock for a songwriting career that would nod to his early influences while also expanding far beyond them.

He left home at 20 years old with an acoustic guitar and $2,000. Hunting for the right music scene, he busked his way across the country while chronicling his travels with daily entries in a journal. It was a Keruoac-worthy experience, and when Treat finally returned to New England, he did so with a stronger sense of the world around him. The experience shaped his music. After several years in Boston — where he performed as a folksinger and released two solo albums — Treat headed to Nashville, looking to reinvent his musical approach once again.

Charlie Treat marks his first release as a Nashville resident, but that doesn't mean Treat has stopped looking far beyond his own environment for inspiration. Full of sociopolitical insight, metaphysical musings and literary references, these five songs cast a wide — and at times spiritual — net, connecting Treat's personal experiences to the world at large. "Look Around" spins the story of a nature walk between two lovers while also zooming out to make observations about the wider world around them. "Lonely Believer" is both a song about pursuing unrequited love and a song about pursuing a true connection with the universe, while "Please Don't Miss Me" references The Odyssey, likening Odysseus' journey to that of a road-warrior musician hitting the road.

Recorded in East Nashville, the EP shines a light not only on Treat's poetry-caliber lyrics, but also the community of musicians who surround him. Members of Devon Gillfillian's group fill the backup band, while Jesse Thompson — bassist for the Americana band Forlorn Strangers — serves as producer. Juan Solorzano, Forlorn Strangers' Benjamin Lusk and Maybe April's Alaina Stacey all make appearances, as well. Inspired by Motown, Leon Russell, and the Beatles' Abbey Road recordings, the group worked quickly, arranging songs on the fly and nailing their performances in two or three takes. Everyone contributed ideas to the production process. It was a team effort, with Thompson at the driver’s seat and Treat leading the band on acoustic guitar and piano, singing each autobiographical song in a voice that both swoons and swaggers. Behind him, the band whips up a kitchen-sink symphony of Americana atmosphere, piling grand piano, organ, Rhodes, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, Wurlitzer, lap steel and other instruments into glorious heaps, with Treat's barking harmonica calling out above the noise.

"The bullets around us, the fall from the mountains makes each step a precious move," Treat sings in the final line of "Look Around," summing up the EP's philosophy in a dozen or so words. Charlie Treat is a record about the value of danger, vulnerability and struggling against odds. With struggle comes growth, after all. And with these five songs, Charlie Treat shows just how far he's grown since those days in New England.

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