Summer’s Gone: A Q&A with Singer-Songwriter Noah Gabriel

"You could be the coolest guitar player and put on great live shows, but I want something to be said."

Chicago music scene veteran Noah Gabriel is a man with heart and soul.  He has an open ear for the sounds of the city while his song-crafting continues to evolve.  So many emotions swirl into the listener’s veins with his latest album, Summer’s Gone.

From the tender moments that include a delicate background of his son’s heartbeat on the monitor to the delightful descriptions of his own childhood lyrically portrayed, Summer’s Gone will invoke the timelessness of Chicago blues soul. The album’s official release is July 10th.

June Reedy for American Blues Scene: I’ve been spinning your new album, Summer’s Gone, all morning. I love it! How long have you been making music?

Noah Gabriel:

Oh, I’ve been writing stuff since I was 14. I’ve been playing guitar since I was 12, learning the craft of writing since like 14, 15.

That is a question I had for you, the track “Rocking Horse Road” is so descriptive with lyrics like, “silver horseshoes on the wall.” I wanted to ask you, did you start your musical journey with a love of lyrics? All of these songs certainly classify you as a poet. Or were you drawn to the guitar first?

I have to admit, it was the guitar that came first. I started playing music thinking I would be the next Jimi Hendrix or rather wanting to be the next Jimi Hendrix, not that I thought I could ever be that good. That was always my goal, to be a guitar player.

Through the process of learning the guitar when I was 14 when I would talk about ‘making it’ with my guitar teacher, I would always ask him how do you do that? He replied, “Ya gotta have songs.” Something he always told me helped me to start gearing myself towards that. I’ve always been split between the two ever since then.

As my love of songwriting grew, I leaned a little bit further away from the blues guys and the guitar gods and started digging into more into guys like Dylan, Lucinda Williams, and more songwriters. Now I find myself constantly torn. When I run out of lyrical ideas, I go back and start working on my guitar stuff again. I go back and forth. It’s always a battle to see which one is gonna win. 

So how many albums have you recorded now? 

Including the 2 Noah’s Arcade albums that I wrote, I believe 12 proper albums at this point. I’ve got one that has been shelved that will probably come out at some point soon and then I’ve got a couple hundred songs written, waiting to record. I’ve got material. 

You got all the stuffs! With all live music being put on hold, it makes you realize how important recorded music is… Right now there is a lot being put out and enjoyed. I certainly have more time to listen to and appreciate recorded music. 

Oh yeah! There is something to be said for both. I understand the importance of both. To me, the craft of a song is — You could be the coolest guitar player and put on great live shows but I want something to be said. I want to hear something. Music has been a source of enlightenment for me. I want that to happen when I listen to something whether it’s live or pre-recorded. 

I love the entrance and exit to your album Summer’s Gone. It really invites the listener into your head, where you’re at, into your world along with you. Tell me more about how you chose the title.

It just — I was trying to figure that out. To me, every song on the album is about a changing season in life. “Rocking Horse Road” is about childhood and the fleeting nature of it. Every single song deals with a change, you know?

As simple as the 3rd song, “Wake the Dead,” which is literally about the change of the seasons, summer is gone, growing old. To me, and now more than ever with everything going on in the world, it really made sense to be the title. There is a big change coming. 

Is this autobiographical? I know you are expecting the birth of your second child soon. Is this where you’re at personally in life?

Yeah, I just turned 37. I’m feeling my age these days. It all comes from a place inside of me, whether that deals directly with my life or if it’s just the thought swimming around in my head.

The changing of seasons can be applied to every aspect of life. To me, that is life, a constantly evolving changing thing. You gotta hold on to the good moments because when it starts to get dark, you’re gonna need that light. 

Amen. The track “Crazy” is anything but crazy. It’s so soothing. Can you explain how that song came to be?

It’s a song about addiction. I was watching the movie Beautiful Boy with Steve Carrell. I don’t know if you’ve seen it. I think it was an Amazon movie. It won a lot of awards. It’s a true story about a New York Times writer.

He watches his son go through heroin addiction. It’s a pretty powerful movie. I was watching it and that little guitar line came into my head and I kept on playing it. It seemed to match the mood of the movie, and then I finally started writing lyrics. It made sense to go that route. I tried to write it from his kid’s perspective, seeing himself collapse and asking for help. That’s where that came from.

That is so interesting. Now I have to go find this movie! 

Yeah! It’s a great movie! I guarantee it’s worth your time.

Where is Summer’s Gone going to be available? Will you press it for a release on vinyl?

It is on vinyl! I have the vinyl at home. It sounds beautiful. It looks nice. That will be available at Kiss the Sky (Batavia, IL) which they have been so good to me. People will also be able to get it through my website. Obviously at live shows whenever that may be. July 17th, 2020 we are doing a live stream release party. Everything will be available on July 10th.

We will be doing the live streaming show from The Venue in Aurora IL. Kiss the Sky will help with sponsoring the event too.  That is the big spot to be regarding this album. Everything will be available on Spotify, iTunes, CD Baby, all the usual streaming platforms as well. They can always go directly to my website and they will get funneled to the various markets from there. 

 Noah Gabriel

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