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STANDOUT TRACK: No. 3, “Happy Sound (Dark and Pretty),” an old-timey ballad complete with slide guitar, slap bass, and fiddle. Butler sings about being alone but not lonely: “Oh what a happy sound/It gets louder and louder and louder when you’re not around.”
MUSICAL MOTIVATION: For nearly 10 years, Butler worked as a D.C. bartender and lived in a Silver Spring group house. Then about a year ago, Butler lost his taste for near-constant socializing. “I think I am getting crotchety,” he says. “That might be because I don’t drink as much as I used to.” So the 33-year-old moved into his own Brookland apartment and broke up his country-rock band, Canyon, to make a solo album.
Butler found that he loved working alone so much that he wrote the solitude-celebrating tune as a last-minute addition. What, exactly, is the titular sound? “Peace and quiet,” Butler says, quickly adding that he still loves his old bandmates. “I just spent a lifetime living with my mother, grandmother, sister, cousins, all in one house, then straight into…a van full of stinky-ass dudes,” he says. “Now is the first time I’ve been able to stretch out a bit.”
HAPPY AS A CLAN: Though “Happy Sound” and other songs on the record feature a fiddler and other guest musicians, Butler plays most of his live gigs solo. Audiences can, however, expect a full band at his April 13 record-release show at the 9:30 Club. “I decided to use the fellas,” says Butler. “Since it’s [a] weekend and at midnight, people aren’t going to want to hear acoustic music.”