February 22, 2023
Photo: Kara Perry
Charlotte native Jason Scavone, a singer-songwriter, music producer, and Bleed Hound Records recording artist, has released his highly anticipated album, Catastrophic Dreams. The album was self-produced at Charlotte’s famed Sioux Sioux Studio, mixed by Grammy Award-winning Tom Schick (Mavis Staples’ You Are Not Alone) at Wilco’s The Loft Studio, and mastered by legendary audio engineer Bob Ludwig. Alongside the Charlotte Symphony’s contributions (Marlene Ballena on cello, Lenora Leggatt on violin, Shawn Snider on viola, and Victoria Wang on flute), the album features the likes of Jackson Smith (Patti Smith Band), Michael Flynn (Slowrunner), Carly Taich, and members of Prince’s NPG Hornz. Catastrophic Dreams was also released with a music video for the title track directed by Will Davis (Rasmus Leon) of Small Creatures.
Scavone, the former frontman of now-defunct indie rock band The Noises 10, channels his local love throughout the album. The first single, “Old Friend,” a duet with his sister Krista, doesn’t just anthropomorphize the buildings on Central Avenue he now no longer recognizes, it serves as a vulnerable tribute to a departed friend who passed away from a heroin overdose years ago. The song asks what happens when familiar haunts start to haunt back?
Although the album’s tempo is primarily upbeat with funky rhythms blending genres in the bop-worthy “Screens” or the memorable vocals on “Pretender,” there’s a babbling quietude, a stillness and holding borne from the pandemic’s shocking effect on the gig industry. Written during the lockdown, Scavone found himself wondering how to provide for his family after the ability to perform halted overnight. This sense of unwarned reflection bleeds through each song as Scavone takes stock of his place in this world. Lo-fi late-night infomercial sounds trickle between track segues bending the listener’s sense of time and control.
Some tracks contemplate freedom and boundlessness with indie rock guitars and bright pop melodies, but standouts like “Ground Truthing” and “Catastrophic Dreams” offer a tender and lasting impression on the listener. Paced like a sunset, showing gratitude for the way simple things can be brilliant, Scavone’s composition of the album honors the humbling uncertainty of being human. “Already There” acts as a love song to Scavone’s current relationships and family– when you have people who love you, there’s not much more you can ask for. Additional backing vocals by Asheville’s Carly Taich add texture to the release’s honeyed nostalgia.
Scavone has made a career out of his craft over the decades with sincere songwriting and his extraordinary abilities as a producer. He’s shared stages with Jason Isbell & the 500 Unit, the Derek Trucks Band, and has had songs featured in shows like One Tree Hill and Criminal Minds— not to mention his duet with the inimitable Brandi Carlile on “My Repair.” Catastrophic Dreams seems like a glittering crown on top of all those projects, something to call his very own.
The album cover features the darkened outline of a head with a body diving through the clouds and power lines, a visual representation of what went through so many artists’ anxious minds during the pandemic. Maybe the body jumped, maybe it’s falling. Either way, the ground will always be there, and the way we find ourselves in free fall is living.
Listen to Catastrophic Dreams by Jason Scavone and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.