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Off and Away

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Tracklist
1. Because, Two Candles
2. Run Away [MP3]
3. Loser's L-A-M-E-N-T
4. Off and Away
5. Birthday Death Wish [MP3]
6. Drinkin' Buddy
7. Family Farm
8. Sweet Nobody
9. Stuck In a Dream
10. Seasons
Off and Away

Off and Away
by ROCKETSHIP PARK

Serious Business Records announces the release of Rocketship Park’s debut album Off and Away. It collects ten dreamy, cinematic pop songs, each distinct in its own right and infused with tinges of country, Dylan, and big hooks. Josh Kaufman is the project’s eloquent yet unassuming auteur, singer and songwriter, arranger, producer and chief instrumentalist.

The musicians in Rocketship Park didn’t answer an ad or apply for the job—instead, Josh gathered together his most talented and trusted old friends. As a result, each performance on the record seems innately dialed-in to the themes of friendship and family, life and loss that shape the lyrics. The warm, communal sound draws upon the musicians’ shared experiences, sitting around, passing afternoons into evenings, switching one great record after another on the turntable, listening intently without saying a word.

THE FAMILY TREE
Rocketship Park is, at its core, made of Josh, Eric Jackson (guitar,) Brian Kantor (drums,) Kevin Fish (bass,) and Mike Phillips (pedal steel.) They have played together in various combinations for more than a decade, part of a vast musical family tree flourishing in and around New York.*

Half the record was recorded live at the Serious Business studio in Manhattan, with percussionist Bryan Devendorf (The National) and pianist Rob Burger (Iron and Wine, Calexico) augmenting the core quintet. Josh pieced the rest together at comfy home sessions with friends violist Karen Waltuch (Wilco, Jim O'Rourke) and cornetist Geoff Mann (Antibalas, Eternal Buzz Brass Band-) as well as his special someone, Annie Nero (Ladystein, El May.)** The album artwork features 11 portraits drawn by Benji Cossa. The layout, frames and text were handled by his wife Rebecca.***

*Josh also plays guitar in Higgins, a 60’s influenced psych-pop band started by Brian Kantor and Kevin Fish. Eric Jackson is also a part of this band. Higgins records for Serious Business too. Family tree indeed.
**Josh and Annie write and record together as part of a separate project called Jack and the Pulpits (again, for Serious Business). In the past, they’ve called themselves Mansfields and have collaborated with drummers Devendorf and Mann. They also play together as part of the group Balthrop, Alabama.
***Benji Cossa is a singer and songwriter as well as a visual artist. He also records for Serious Business. Josh, Annie, Brian K., and Eric play in his backing band, The Tightens.
Press
"Whoever said Americana had to come from the heartland? Brooklyn-based Rocketship Park, headed by the talented (yet unassuming) lead singer and instrumentalist Josh Kaufman, fleshes out smooth, folky songs about life and loss, family and friendship, while harnessing a simple, seemingly effortless beauty. The group's debut record, Off & Away, offers a sense of peace and nostalgia that grounds even the most anxious of listeners.

Off & Away plays like a comfortable living room jam session, which isn't too far from the truth. Kaufman originally played every instrument and recorded many of the record's soft, acoustic, feel-good sing-alongs and catchy folk-pop ballads himself for what was to be an obsessively overdubbed solo album. Ultimately, though, he wound up inviting long-time friends to record the album with him live as Rocketship Park. The result is an organic sound that thrives on group performance. "Why?" Kaufman asks, "Because it's fun and we like each others company."

"Run Away," easily the album's catchiest track, features an eclectic arrangement including pump organ, glockenspiel, coronet and trombone surrounding Kaufman's signature twangy croon. The short and sweet two-minute pop song showcases the band's ability to craft musically unique tracks that sport catchy melodies and strong lyrics, while still showing off the band's relaxed approach.

The cast has played together for years, and their success, Kaufman says, comes because they all happen to be "unpretentious and extremely talented." The band consists of five members at its core, but Off & Away features work by many in the band's "extended family," including piano work from Rob Burger (Calexico), percussion from Bryan Devendorf (The National) and violin help from Karen Waltuch (Wilco).

Touring is off the table for now, with the group's members working on separate projects. However, the songs for Rocketship Park's next album are already written, with studio time to be found when its members aren't busy with other acts."
NPR (National Public Radio, Second Stage

"The debut album from this local band is perfect chillin' in the summer music."

AM New York

"Lovely song ("Because, Two Candles").
A Limerick Ox

"“Birthday Death Wish,” off Off and Away (which came out earlier this year on Serious Business Records), is a soft melodic sampling of Josh Kaufman’s songwriting. Kaufman, who heads up the project, has a voice that compliments the style well, rising up out of the atmospheric tones of the strings and pedal steel to croon a few melancholy lyrics, like the one that leads the song: “In a little while no voice is recognized / We struggle with ‘Hello’ mingle and say goodbyes.” On top of that, the whole song reverberates with the air of good old country rock, a quality that rarely leads a listener astray."
-Big Diction

"Always nice to hear some good music from a band you'd never heard of before. When you get as many cds in the mail as I do you almost expect most things to suck but this BKNY based bunch, led by erstwhile songwriter Josh Kaufman, create a comfortable batch of dreamy Americana not unlike defunct geniuses Scud Mountain Boys. Kaufman has a whole army of folks playing with him and they seem to have the utmost respect for his vision. Next payday forget those couple packs of smokes and drop your dough on OFF & AWAY."
-Dagger ezine

"If Wilco, Iron & Wine, Felice Brothers, and Head of Femur all got together and made a record, it might sound something like this. Warm, cinematic, country-infused pop songs fill up this debut from an unlikely source—a Brooklyn-based Americana group. “Run Away” is the catchiest song and demonstrates Josh Kaufman’s relaxed approach to songwriting. “Birthday Death Wish” is a lovely, melancholy. classic country song. All 10 tracks feel very calm and natural and nothing is forced or overproduced. Off is the perfect soundtrack for sitting on your backwoods porch drinking a lemonade in an old rocking chair—an aural treat for everyone."
Big Takeover

"Coming from the proposition that modern music doesn’t have to be a grouping of strangers seeking stardom but a gathering of buddies having a conversation, Rocketship Park gives itself a folksy presentation on the cover of “Off and Away” (Serious Business), but its sound is not anything near the antiquated image it gives of itself. That’s not to say it doesn’t have an old fashioned charm, but it’s not overpowered by it.
At the center of the project is New York City musician Josh Kaufman — who is also a member of Higgins, as well as Jack and the Pulpits — and he brings the CD a center while still allowing his collaborators to flavor the peripherals. It’s Dan Zanes and Friends for grown-ups!
The CD keeps it friendly and easygoing. “Runaway” is a quirky, lo-fi pop number with charming drony horns and Christmas jingles, while “Loser’s Lament” is the kind of boppy country that might have come out of earlier, more likable Wilco — or good, ‘70s Michael Nesmith. “Off and Away” is that kind of rootsy power pop that could pop up with the likes of Let’s Active or sometimes even The Records. The last third is devoted to more lush, slower songs that stay on the musical track, retaining energy and jangles. Check them out, you won’t regret it."
John E. Mitchell: North Adams Transcript / Reverse Direction

"...dreamy country tinged pop...solid debut"
-The Daily News (McKeesport, PA)

"Rocketship Park is like listening to three stereos in a haze of pot smoke – one playing Neil Young “Harvest”, one playing Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” and the last one The Apples In Stereo – at the same time. It works. Wonderfully, in fact."
Not Lame Recordings

"There is something about Rocketship Park's music that makes me feel like I'm driving through a small, deserted town deep into summer. It's a calm feeling but there's this constant sense of melancholy, as if the best days are behind me. Music hits everybody differently, and explanations are never all that rational. But here goes.

"Off & Away" has such a natural country and folk feel that it sounds like it was recorded live in a barn. It brings up pangs of nostalgia for something that may have never existed. But damn, if the band doesn't do a job convincing me of my small-town upbringing, even though most members are from New York, the album was recorded in a Manhattan studio, and I grew up in Queens.

Rocketship Park revolves around Josh Kaufman — singer, songwriter, producer and chief instrumentalist. The rest of the musicians are old friends. Maybe that's the only way such warmth can be created.

Heavy on traditional rock instruments, Rocketship Park throws in pedal steel, strings and horns seamlessly, as evidenced by the opener, "Because Two Candles." Next up is "Run Away," one of the catchiest songs released this year with its handclaps, hooting harmonies and two-minute run time. "Sweet Nobody" sounds like it would fit perfectly in the "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" catalog. "Loser's Lament" is as bittersweet as a glass of Grandma's lemonade. The closing minute of "Seasons" is pure heaven, with glockenspiel and pedal steel working wonderfully together.

It reminds me of all the old songs I never used to listen to on a porch that was never built.
NorthJersey.com

"a heartfelt, infectious sound"
-Barnes and Noble

"I spotted Rocketship Park at NPR the other day. They totally side-swiped me with the killer track “Run Away“. The band remind me vaguely of Wilco (just me… don’t worry about it too much) with their almost Sixties arrangements and production. I find myself thinking about backyard jams and session from way back and that’s the feel Rocketship Park seem to capture.
Highly Recommended"
Duggup

"An ensemble of NYC musicians comprise the alternative Americana act Rocketship Park, whose latest 10-track release OFF & AWAY is laden with a vast array of instrumentation from strings to horns, working together to add ush textures to the sad melodies heard on the weepy “Drinkin Buddy” and “Birthday Death Wish.” From the piano and tambourine led shuffle of “Loser’s Lament” to pedal steel guitarwork on “Family Farm” to the handclaps and banjo plucks on “Because Two Candles” to the vibraphone on “Stuck in a Dream,” the stunning accoutrements added to this disc’s melancholic acoustic guitar and vocal approach reveal lush dreamlike places lying past random Midwestern prarielands where Neil Young, My Morning Jacket, Wilco and Lucinda Williams frequently visit."
-Mike SOS, Gears of Rock
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CREDITS

Produced by Josh Kaufman

Immediate family: Kevin Fish, Eric Jackson, Brian Kantor, Josh Kaufman and Mike Phillips.

Extended family: Rob Burger, Jordan Crowell, Bryan Devendorf, Travis Harrison, Geoff Mann, Annie Nero, Halsey Quemere, and Karen Waltuch.

Artwork and layout handmade by Benji and Rebecca Cossa

1. Because, Two Candles
Recorded by Josh Kaufman and Kevin Fish at our practice space and at Josh and Annie’s Apt in Brooklyn
Mixed by Travis Harrison at serious business.
Josh Kaufman sang and played Wurlitzer, organ, guitars, percussion and drums.
Kevin Fish played bass, drums, percussion and Wurlitzer
Annie Nero sang, clapped and snapped
Eric Jackson sang and played trombone and percussion

Mike Phillips played pedal steel

2. Run Away Recorded by Eric Jackson and Josh Kaufman at our practice space and at Josh and Annie’s Apt in Brooklyn
Mixed by Halsey Quemere at serious business
Eric Jackson sang, played trombone, percussion and organ.
Geoff Mann played cornet.
Josh Kaufman sang and played drums, bass, pump organ, glockenspiel, guitars and percussion.

3. Loser’s L-A-M-E-N-T
Recorded live by Halsey Quemere at serious business
Mixed by Travis Harrison at serious business
Brian Kantor played the drums.
Bryan Devendorf played the tambourine.
Kevin Fish played the bass.
Eric Jackson played the electric guitar and sang.
Rob Burger played the piano.
Mike Phillips played the pedal steel.

4. Off and Away
Recorded live by Halsey Quemere at serious business
Mixed by Halsey Quemere at serious business
Brian Kantor played the drums and added some percussion.
Eric Jackson played electric guitar and sang some.
Rob Burger played the piano.
Bryan Devendorf played the tambourine.
Mike Phillips played the pedal steel and clapped.
Josh Kaufman sang, played acoustic guitar and percussion.
Kevin Fish played bass and clapped.

5. Birthday Death Wish
Recorded live by Halsey Quemere at serious business, strings recorded by Josh Kaufman at Josh and Annie’s Apt in Brooklyn, pump organ recorded by Rob Burger at his and Mary Mulliken’s apt in Brooklyn.
Mixed by Travis Harrison at serious business.
Karen Waltuch played the viola.
Mike Phillips played the pedal steel.
Bryan Devendorf played the tambourine.
Eric Jackson played the electric guitar and sang.
Kevin Fish played the bass.
Brian Kantor played the drums.
Rob Burger played piano and pump organ.
Annie Nero sang a bunch on this one.
Josh Kaufman sang and played acoustic guitar.

6. Drinkin’ Buddy
Recorded live by Halsey Quemere at serious business, overdubs recorded by Josh Kaufman and Eric Jackson at Josh and Annie’s Apt in Brooklyn; Orchestron, Casio, dulcimer and vibes recorded by Rob Burger at his and Mary Mulliken’s apt in Brooklyn.
Mixed by Travis Harrison at serious business.
Brian Kantor played the drums.
Mike Phillips played the pedal steel.
Josh Kaufman sang and played the acoustic guitar.
Kevin Fish played the bass.
Eric Jackson played electric guitar and sang quite a bit here.
Rob Burger played the piano, vibes, Casio, dulcimer and Orchestron!

7. Family Farm
Recorded by Josh Kaufman Eric Jackson and Kevin Fish at our practice space and at Josh and Annie’s Apt in Brooklyn.
Mixed by Halsey Quemere at Manhattan Center
Kevin Fish played the drums, acoustic guitar and percussion.
Eric Jackson played the whale-like sounding slide guitar, percussion and sang. So much sangin’ Eric!
Karen Waltuch played the viola.
Josh Kaufman sang and played the air organ, tube organ, bass, snare drum, percussion and acoustic guitar.
Annie Nero sang a lot here too.
Mike Phillips played dobro.

8. Sweet Nobody
Recorded live by Josh Kaufman at Josh and Annie’s Apt in Brooklyn.
Mixed by Halsey Quemere at serious business.
Josh Kaufman sang and played nylon string guitar and chord organ. Rob Burger played the weissenborn.

9. Stuck in a Dream
Recorded live by Halsey Quemere at serious business, overdubs recorded by Josh Kaufman and Eric Jackson at Josh and Annie’s Apt in Brooklyn; marimba and vibes recorded by Rob Burger at his and Mary Mulliken’s apt in Brooklyn.
Mixed by Halsey Quemere at serious business
Brian Kantor played the drums and sang.
Mike Phillips played the pedal steel and sang.
Josh Kaufman sang, played the nylon and steel string guitars.
Rob Burger played piano, vibes and marimba.
Kevin Fish played bass and sang.
Bryan Devendorf played the tambourine.
Eric Jackson played electric guitar and sang too.

10. Seasons Recorded live by Halsey Quemere at serious business, overdubs recorded by Josh Kaufman and Eric Jackson at Josh and Annie’s Apt in Brooklyn.
Mixed by Halsey Quemere at serious business
Kevin Fish played bass, acoustic guitar sang and clapped.
Brian Kantor played the drums, extra snare drum over dub and co-stars as Sir Sangsaloud!
Eric Jackson played electric and nylon string guitar sang and clapped.
Bryan Devendorf played the tambourine, excellent wrist control Bryan…
Travis Harrison played the shaker rather expressively on this one.
Jordan Crowell clapped consistently and confidently.
Josh Kaufman sang, clapped played glockenspiel and acoustic guitar.
Mike Phillips sang, clapped, played pedal steel and acoustic guitar.
Rob Burger played the piano.

"Inventive Americana!"