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On A Break From San Fermin, Allen Tate Sings His Own Song

Allen Tate.
Matthew Burke
/
Courtesy of the artist
Allen Tate.

The band San Fermin plays painstakingly orchestrated folk-rock, performed with two singers at the fore. The deep, dreamy male voice belongs to Allen Tate, who's about to put out his first solo record. But he's not straying too far from San Fermin: That group's mastermind and Tate's longtime friend, Ellis Ludwig-Leone, produced the forthcoming Sleepwalker.

The new record began to take shape while San Fermin was in Copenhagen — a time when Tate was feeling lonely and isolated. The experience inspired the album's first single, "Being Alone." Via email, Tate writes that the song "started out as a poem I wrote while I was watching swans swimming on The Lakes in Copenhagen. I started thinking about how hunters use mating calls to lure out their prey. So, to a swan or goose, the call of a lover and the call of a hunter might sound identical. What sounds like love just might be death, and there's only one way to know for sure. The chorus takes stock of how dark that train of thought was, and how three weeks alone in a foreign place had affected my thoughts in general."

Musically, Tate's solo songs are simpler than the music of San Fermin; his attention is more lyrical than musical, though the textures and playing propel those words nicely here.

Sleepwalker is due out on Oct. 28 via Votiv.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.