When Nicky Egan set out to make her sophomore record, the Brooklyn-based singer decided to try something a little different. Egan’s 2011 debut Good People was a funky collection of soulful songs that pulled equally from her Berklee schooling -- where she delved into blues and jazz vocalists like Etta James and Sarah Vaughan -- and her Philadelphia childhood listening to Bob Marley and the Stones.
But instead of a proper album right away, Egan went with a decidedly old-school approach to unveiling new music, with an Internet-spin: The 45 Homestead Project is set of three digital 45’s put on her Web site out over three months this summer. Each A-side came coupled with its own music video as well.
Now those six songs -- three singles and and three B-sides -- are now being collected as a 7-song EP, paired with a previously unreleased bonus track “Train Trails.” The song is a rootsy retro groover, complete with a steady keyboard pulse, some tasteful distorted guitarwork, and Egan’s bluesy and emotional voice dancing on top.
Listen to "Train Trials" exclusively here at Soundcheck by clicking the listen link above.
Soundcheck recent heard from Nicky Egan via e-mail to get the story behind this new track.
Michael Katzif: Why did "Train Trials" end up on the cutting room floor? Did it just not fit with the rest of the songs on your Homestead Project?
Nicky Egan: While The Homestead Project was just sort of forming, I'd had in mind this format of a series of A/B sides. This track, "Train Trials," I'd just written and brought to the band and was one of those songs that just sort of clicked right away. Some songs take more work, and some just happen, so we threw it into the mix to record.
I'd also already sort of had in mind which tracks I wanted to release as the "A-sides", this one not being one of them, but also felt it wasn't an appropriate B side really. It's sort of got its own vibe, so we decided to hold onto it and release it as a bonus track after the EP was out in full.
MK: Is there a story behind this song?
NE: I guess in short, the inspiration behind this song is, well, panhandling, for lack of a better term. It's an accumulation of thoughts behind all these different people I've encountered throughout the city who ask you to help them out with money or food or whatever it is. Mostly it's on the train, where it almost feels like you're part of a jury of people deciding who's story is most convincing, or least convincing, who's funny, who's angry or who's crazy talented and whether or not you should help them out that day.
The train is especially interesting because most of those people observing are going to or from work, and probably work their asses off to sustain some sort of lifestyle. We're so saturated in the city with people who are really down and out that I think we become emotionally immune to very human situations sometimes. "Train Trials" is kind of just addressing that whole circular thought process.