Real Estate: 2024

Martin Courtney of Real Estate (photo by Gus Philippas for FUV)
by Eric Holland | 05/20/2024 | 12:01am

Martin Courtney of Real Estate (photo by Gus Philippas for FUV)

This  FUV Live session is also available as a podcast, "FUV Live Sessions." We're elevating WFUV's long history of live sessions and interviews via a podcast that you can find on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Amazon Podcasts. New episodes drop every Monday.

Real Estate celebrated the release of Daniel, their ninth album over 15 years, by dropping by Studio A to play a few tunes. As frontman Martin Courtney explained in my chat with him and bassist Alex Bleeker, Martin's daughter gave Kacey Musgraves’ album, Golden Hour, a lot of play around the house. Courtney became a fan of Golden Hour's producer Daniel Tashian and this led to Real Estate, with roots in Bergen County, to head down to Nashville where FUV's old friends worked with Tashian in Music City’s storied RCA Studio A.

Taking advantage of Nashville’s deep talent pool, the group brought in local ace Justin Schipper to add pedal steel guitar to the arrangements. The result is not a twang, but a gauzy sonic layer that unobtrusively complements Real Estate’s familiarly engaging melodies. After hearing the album, I thought the pedal steel might be Daniel’s secret sauce. However, after listening to the band in our Bronx studios without the pedal steel parts, I realized there really wasn’t any secret — only an outstanding bunch of songs from a band in excellent form, working harmoniously with a talented producer in a legendary studio.

In this session, hear the band — Courtney, Bleeker, keyboardist Matt Kallman, guitarist Julian Lynch and drummer Sammi Niss — play three songs from Daniel — "Water Underground," "Flowers" and "Haunted World." They also treated FUV to a special performance of Elton John’s “Daniel," which helped give the album its name.

In between songs, Courtney and Bleeker offered insights into the selections and share some details about recording them. They also dropped a few tidbits about creating the videos for “Water Underground” and “Flowers." In addition, Steely Dan, R.E.M., Talking Heads, Franz Kafka, "The Adventures of Pete & Pete," and even my own family dog as a kid  — a West Highland White Terrier named Danny — all managed to find their way into the conversation.

[Recorded: 2/23/24; Engineered by Jim O'Hara with assistance from Allen Wang, Olivia Grant, Matthew Ellersick and Nadia Garriga. Produced by Meghan Offtermatt; Videographers: Natalia Cruz, Caitria Demeroto, Anna Fahy, Bridget Griminger, and Nikki Estelami.]

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