It's emerged that the two solo instrumentals Alex Lifeson recently released to mark the launch of his signature Epiphone Les Paul Axcess Standard were just the start of something bigger when to comes to new music from the Rush guitarist; a new band and album.
Kabul Blues and Spy House are Lifeson's first new material in a decade and the Rush legend has now confirmed in an interview with Sweetwater above that there's much more to come.
Lifeson worked with Coney Hatch bassist Any Curran on the two solo songs, but they've also put together a whole new project, tentatively called Envy Of None with Portland, Oregan vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Maiah Wynne. Lifeson described Wynnne as "a fabulous, fabulous voice and a really smart songwriter and vocal performer."
"Andy approached me about four years ago, shortly after the last Rush tour, about just adding some guitar on some of the things that he was doing," Lifeson revealed regarding the genesis of Envy Of None. "And I did that. A few months later, he sent another one, and did that. And then we started getting more serious. "
Lifeson confirmed they've recorded an album's worth of material that he hopes will be released "hopefully late summer, early Fall".
"I'm really excited about that," he added about the new project.
The Envy Of None recordings are currently being mixed and Curran spoke to Ultimate Classic Rock about the kind of playing we can expect to hear from Lifeson in the project - and it sounds like it's going to be very interesting a departure.
Curran echoed that that he had been collaborating with Wynne and then encouraged Lifeson to contribute to the recordings. Things built from there.
“Now we have 10 songs in the can with this project called Envy of None," said Curran. And even though Lifeson revealed to Sweetwater in the video at the top that Kabul Blues and Spyhouse are compositions the guitarist had been sitting on for some time, they may also be a part of Envy Of None.
“Those two [instrumentals], ‘Kabul Blues’ and ‘Spyhouse,’ at this moment Maiah is singing over them, so they’re [also] going to be part of the Envy of None project,” Curran explained.
“I think there’s a lot of Alex Lifeson in these," Curran told Ultimate Classic Rock about the sound of Envy Of None. "There’s some beautiful guitar that he’s played all over it – but full transparency, it’s not Rush and it’s not Coney Hatch. It’s like, if you can picture maybe Massive Attack with a little bit of some electronic stuff with Nine Inch Nails influences, with this beautiful, fragile, sweet voice and some very, very dark heavy sounds. That’s kind of what this project sounds like.”
“He’s gone out of his way to process and put cool things on his guitar that you’re like, ‘Wait a second, that doesn’t sound like a guitar,’” Curran added. “I would say to him, ‘What did you do there? This sounds like a violin’ or ‘This sounds like a keyboard!’ He was like, ‘Well, I put this, this and this on it and I flipped it backwards.’
“He’s having a real fun time manipulating those guitar sounds," the bassist continues. "We spoke about heavy, heavy guitars and he said, ‘There’s only really two songs, Andy, that I feel need that crunch and oomph. I think he went out of his way to really scratch an itch that he hasn’t played that way in Rush.”
Ultimate Classic Rock also reported Curran, Wynne and Lifeson are joined by guitarist Alfio Annibalini in Envy Of None with contributions from drummers Tim Oxford (Arkells) and David Quinton Steinberg (Dead Boys, the Mods).
Like Lifeson, Curran has been blown away by Wynne; "This girl plays 10 or 15 different instruments and we’re like, ‘What the hell is going on over there!’ So, she’s a real gift and I think she’s such a diamond in the rough right now. She’s got a long career ahead of her, I think.”