Ezra Lipp Shares ‘North Star’ Single: Exclusive Premiere

Hear a track featuring Steve Adams, John-Paul McLean, Stu Allen, Lorenzo Loera and Kelly McFarling from Lipp's pending 'The Softened Sky' LP.

By Scott Bernstein Apr 22, 2022 9:23 am PDT

ALO drummer Ezra Lipp is also a talented multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter who will soon release The Softened Sky, his debut solo album. JamBase is pleased to preview The Softened Sky by exclusively premiering the LP’s latest single, “North Star.”

The Softened Sky arrives on vinyl as well as all digital platforms on Friday, May 13. While the 10-track record is described as a “solo album,” Lipp tapped many of his regular collaborators to contribute to the LP including ALO bandmates Steve Adams and Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz as well as Stu Allen (Mars Hotel, Phil Lesh & Friends), Reed Mathis (Billy & The Kids, Electric Beethoven), Scott Law, Rainbow Girls, Kelly McFarling, Jordan Feinstein, Lorenzo Loera (The California Honeydrops) and others.

Ezra — who is also a member of Magic In The Other — began work on The Softened Sky when the pandemic began as a response to the shared experience of self-quarantining at home indefinitely. Lipp wrote, recorded, mixed and produced the album over the course of the pandemic to help ground him as his main creative project.

While The Softened Sky features lyrics filled with hope and positivity in similar form to Ezra’ past songwriting efforts, Lipp also examines darker themes such as the chaos of the pandemic and the resulting social unrest in addition to his personal plight and transformation. “North Star” follows previously released The Softened Sky singles “Cool Wind,” “As It Calls You Back Again” and “We’ve All Got To Reckon With The Fall.”

Ezra Lipp was accompanied on “North Star” by Steve Adams and John-Paul McLean (Melvin Seals & JGB) sharing bass duties, Stu Allen on electric guitar, Lorenzo Loera on keyboards and Kelly McFarling on backing vocals. Ezra Lipp shared the following with JamBase about “North Star”:

“The genesis of ‘North Star’ came to me in a unique way. I was sitting at home one night rubbing my wife’s shoulders while she folded laundry and in the midst of that she made a little jerking motion with her neck to work out a kink. Something about her movement reminded me of Stevie Wonder and his movements and, I swear, in just an instant the whole chord progression and melody that would be the basis of ‘North Star’ arrived suddenly in my head. It took all my focus to keep that melody circulating in my mind without rudely and abruptly getting up and walking out on my wife’s shoulder rub. I eventually excused myself a few minutes later and ran to my studio so I could work the chords and melody out on the piano and record them to develop later.

“I got to work on the lyrics over the next few days and basically the theme of the song is about recognizing one’s tiny, arguably insignificant place in this expansive universe, yet at the same time acknowledging how much potential we have to shape, heal and improve things as well as the miraculousness of life and creation as a gift. The song was definitely Stevie Wonder inspired and I had Lorenzo Loera track some groovy Rhodes and organ parts, but I also could picture it lilting towards Jerry Garcia Band Motown vibes so I had Stu Allen and JP McLean put their stamp on it as well as I knew they were versed in that language. I’m not sure it sounds like any of that now but I like where it landed!”

The Softened Sky is available for pre-order both digitally and on vinyl now via Bandcamp. Hear “North Star” below:

Ezra Lipp will celebrate the release of The Softened Sky with a special concert at The Ivy Room in Albany, California on June 3 featuring opener Hayley Jane. Lipp put together a new band for the show dubbed “Ezra Lipp & Friends & Relatives” in which he’ll be joined by Reed Mathis, Steve Adams and Elliott Peck (Midnight North, The Terrapin Family Band). Purchase tickets for Ezra Lipp’s Bay Area Record Release Party on Eventbrite.

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