In October 2021, Eddie Chacon and John Carroll Kirby headed to Ibiza for a fortnight. There they rented the island’s only Fender Rhodes from one of the local rave crews. John placed it against one of the walls of their temporary home, which was nestled in green hills overlooking a beach called Siesta. Between sessions, they jumped in the water and ate at tiny bars on the beach. “Away from the raves, it’s such a raw island,” Eddie says. “It’s a place where it’s best not to plan.”
The two artists had been working together in Los Angeles – where they both live – on Eddie Chacon’s 2020 album “Pleasure, Joy and Happiness“, but wrote the first half of “Sundown” while in Ibiza. The rest was completed at 64 Sound Studios in northeast Los Angeles. Eddie (vocals) and John (production and keyboards) were joined by Logan Hone (flutes and saxophones), Elizabeth Lea (trombone), Will Logan (drums) and David Leach (percussion). “It feels like we’re building our dream house,” says Eddie. “With Pleasure, Joy, and Happiness, we poured the foundation and now we’re expanding into new rooms.”
Meeting Kirby in 2019 was the catalyst for Chacon’s return to music. “Pleasure, Joy and Happiness” was to be (his) swan song to a music career that began as a teenager in garage bands in the Bay Area and peaked in the 1990s when he found himself at the top of the international charts as one half of the duo Charles & Eddie with “Would I Lie To You”, before eventually leaving the music business. Eddie could not imagine that his new music would find favour not only with fans but also with fellow musicians. “The music of Eddie Chacon – timeless, contemporary & unflinchingly honest – celebrates both the joy and pain of the human experience,” says Mark Speer of Khruangbin. “He is truly a legendary artist in our own time.” In fact, it was a fan who offered Eddie and John to stay at his house in Ibiza for as long as they wanted.
“Sundown is the follow-up I never thought I would get to make,” says Eddie. While making the album, he listened to Greeting to Saud by Pharoah Sanders every day. Instead of imitating the sound, however, he internalised the deeper lesson that simplicity always wins out over virtuosity. Or, as Eddie puts it, “As I’ve gotten older, I have a wider brush and it takes me fewer brush strokes to cover an area.”
The meditative lyrics of “Sundown” confirm Eddie’s assertion that only someone with his life experience could have written this record. ‘Comes and Goes’ is about “the experience of waking up one day and realizing that you’re someplace you never expected to be”; ‘Sundown’ reflects “the brevity of life: losing loved ones and being humbled by how little time we have on this earth” and ‘Step by Step’ is about “how a lot of what we experience is a mirror reflection of ourselves, finally realizing that oftentimes we are the only person standing in the way.”
Eddie Chacon is now 59 years old. That length of time is something to be proud of. His quiet, confident music would not exist without it.