In 2008 they busted out of the box and easily reached first with their Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails. The Baseball Project was on base and immediately posed a threat to go further.
In 2011, they moved on to second with some wildness aptly called High and Inside. They were halfway home.
Three years later in 2014, the quintet of Big Stars moved on down the line to the aptly titled 3rd, an epic double dip delight of craftsmanship and savvy.
And there they stayed. For 9 long years at the hot corner, but we’re happy to say that The Baseball Project is finally coming home, scoring big and touching ‘em all with their fourth album Grand Salami Time. The scoreboard is lighting up and the fireworks are illuminating the sky
Speaking of reaching home, this album is a homecoming of sorts, as the band recorded and produced the album with none other than the legendary Mitch Easter. BBP members Peter Buck and Mike Mills’ made their first albums with Mitch back in the early 80s with a swingin’ little combo called R.E.M.
Scott McCaughey and Steve Wynn kept busy themselves, busting out new tunes with the Minus 5/Young Fresh Fellows (Scott) and The Dream Syndicate (Steve), while stockpiling a passel of penned poetics about the national pastime, many co-written with Peter. Mike adds a new classic of his own about doctored baseballs called “Stuff.”
Linda Pitmon, who along with Peter and Scott has been part of a steady rhythmic nucleus, bashing out epic rock platters with Filthy Friends, Alejandro Escovedo, Luke Haines & Peter Buck, is back driving the ship from behind her mighty drum machine.
All in all, a fancy pedigree but, as Wynn points out, “this is our only band that plays stadiums” — true story as The Baseball Project has performed full sets along with the National Anthem and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” at major league parks in Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee, Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and more minor league and spring training fields, as well as having thrown out some exceptional first pitches (nothing but strikes!) as well.
It’s all part of an unusual arc and fun story of a band whose first gig was an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman followed by a festival in a medieval Spanish city. For a quintet that has seemingly done everything over the years with their other bands, The Baseball Project always offers new and uncharted experiences.
The album was recorded at Mitch Easter’s fabled Fidelitorium Studios in Kernersville, North Carolina, with the entire band performing live together in the same room, a joyous experience that seemed impossible to imagine only one year before. Mitch adds guitar on a few tracks and the record also features appearances by Stephen McCarthy (Long Ryders) and Steve Berlin (Los Lobos).
Read below for the stories behind the songs. In the meantime, the band will be out on the road throughout—when else? —the upcoming baseball season. And we all know they’ll find their way home. Get out the rye bread and mustard, Grandma, it’s Grand Salami Time!
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