As the American-born, Iceland-based drummer composed the music for his 3rd album as a leader, he realized the sound of legendary guitarist John Abercrombie rang out in his head. Having just returned from the US where he performed with Abercrombie for the 2nd time, he knew the next album he did had to focus on the guitar. Then he thought, "why stop at one guitar?"
Icelandic guitarist Hilmar Jensson was an obvious choice since they had been working together with Angelika Niescier. McLemore knew his sound and approach would blend perfectly with French guitarist Pierre Perchaud, having played with him in bassist Nicolas Moreaux’s band.
He first met Norwegian bassist Mats Eilertsen in Haugasund, Norway where he heard him play with Tord Gustavson. And then again in Oslo, and then when the band came to Reykjavik McLemore decided Eilertsen would have to be the bassist in his next project.
The music stems from simple melodic ideas, sometimes just a few notes but arranged in a way to have maximum impact. Although Abercrombie was the spark that got the ball rolling other guitarists’ influences found their way into this recording. The last tune on the album is dedicated to Bill Frisell and serves as a canvas for an abstract open drum solo. By contrast, McLemore also includes a guitar duet entitled “Gene Wilder” for the actor, inspired by his vocal performance as Willie Wonka.
Overall, there is melancholy, drama, joy and hope… as in the piece “Above the Horizon” which he penned after spending 13 winters in Iceland, holding out hope of seeing the January sun.