Tuesday, Jan 22, 8-11 PM

Cosmicana presents A Cosmic Evening with Parker Gispert

The Lodge
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1211 Dante Street, New Orleans, LA
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Parker Gispert was still in college when he helped form the Whigs in the early 2000s. Butafter five critically-acclaimed albums, hundreds of tour dates all over the world with the likes ofKings of Leon, Drive-By Truckers, the Black Keys and many others, and television appearanceseverywhere from the Late Show with David Letterman to Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the Athens,Georgia-bred rockers decided to pull back on activity in 2017.Which left Gispert, who had spent the majority of his adult life either in the studio or onthe road with the band, at a crossroads.“It occurred to me that if I wanted to record and tour that I was going to need to do it solo,”the singer, songwriter and guitarist says. “I'd always thought about it in the back of my mind assomething that I wanted to do one day, but ‘one day’ had never really come.”Now, ‘one day’ is here in the form of Sunlight Tonight, Gispert’s debut solo album(produced and mixed by Emery Dobyns). The eight-song effort finds Gispert, known for leadingthe Whigs through raw and jangly southern-garage rave-ups, taking a decidedly differentmusical approach—biting electric guitar riffs are cast out in favor of gentle acoustic picking andstrumming, and his band mates’ raucous rhythms are traded in for minimal accompanimentthat includes light bass and drums, orchestral strings and even trumpet. Gispert’s lyrics,meanwhile, are his most introspective and personal to date (albeit with a bit of humor thrown inhere and there) and they’re delivered in a vocal style that finds him pushing out on his range. “Ididn't need to project over a band, so I was able to sing in registers I hadn’t really used before,like a lot of high falsetto,” he explains.The end result showcases a different side of the artist, to be sure. But it’s one that Gispertfelt compelled to explore. “A lot of guys from rock bands that go solo, they just hire anotherbassist and drummer and go make another album,” he says. “I didn’t want to go that route.”Ultimately, his change in musical direction was helped along by a change in geography. Alongtime resident of Nashville (by way of Atlanta, and then Athens), Gispert last year acceptedan invitation from a friend to visit his 100-acre hemp farm, located roughly an hour outsideMusic City. “It was like out of a total time warp,” Gispert recalls of the property. “No heat or AC.No animals. No active crops. Water from a well. It was just, like, a house and a plot of land. Iended up staying there for a year.”That plot of land was where Sunlight Tonight came into being. “I would wake up early andget my guitar and walk outside and come up with all these songs,” Gispert says. “And without aband to turn to as the deciding factor on, say, a melody or a lyric, I ended up turning to thescenery and the landscape I was dealing with instead. The farm was like my collaborator—it kind of answered everything for me, as weird as that sounds. And the songs started coming prettyquickly.”