Songwriter and guitarist Mike Miz will be releasing new single “Hand of the Sculptor” on Friday, October 21st, 2022 via Blackbird Record Label. Written by Miz and Nashville musician Boo Ray, it is the first single from Miz’s upcoming album Only Human. The album reflects a lot of partnership between Miz and Ray shortly after Miz moved to Nashville and “Hand of the Sculptor” was the first song that they actually wrote together.
“Hand of the Sculptor” was built on Miz’s and Ray’s common ground in their “upbringing”, their “sense of familiarity in the surroundings of deteriorating Appalachian towns”, and their “common bond in recovery from the trenches of addiction”. The song’s themes set the tone for the album as a whole which “tells the story of a 15-year battle with heroin addiction, love lost, years wasted, troubles with the law, and more” but ultimately finds “optimistic redemption”.
The story behind the recording of the song “Hand of the Sculptor” is also as unique as the video that’s been crafted to accompany it which shows the recording process. We’re delighted to premier that video today on Wildfire, which contains live performances from Mike Miz (guitar vocals), Laur James (slide), Ted Pecchio (bass), Jon Radford (drums), Michael Borowski (piano), Jano Rix (organ), Amber Woodhouse (vocals), and CJ Colandrea (pedal steel).
When it came to recording the song with Brook Sutton at The Studio Nashville, Miz shares:
“One of my favorite memories of recording “Sculptor” is when Jano Rix (multi instrumentalist from Wood Brothers) showed up. We had talked briefly about him guesting on a few songs and when he got to the studio the first day, someone handed him a chart of the song, he sat down at the organ, and within 5 minutes of his arrival we blasted into the first take. He had never even heard the song before and literally had no idea what genre of music we were even playing, ha! At the end of the take I think he sort of took his headphones half off, looked over at us, and said something like – Woah! Well alright then! Take 2 is the one we kept on the album and is the one you can see in the video. Not one thing touched or changed in post. No click track, no tuned vocals, piano and guitar solos untouched. Completely live.
Another one is getting Amber Woodhouse to sing. I first heard her with Trigger Hippy at the Basement during summer NAMM in 2019. I was completely blown away by her singing, then she started playing sax and I was just like, oh.my God. Sol Philcox- Littlefield is a friend of mine and had been playing with Trigger Hippy, so I called and asked him if he would mind reaching out to Amber on my behalf. She showed up at the studio, heard one pass though the song, and then went in the vocal booth and just started nailing it. When we got to the end of the song she literally made the hair on my arms stand up. It was completely riveting hearing it in real time. She is such a gem and oozing with raw talent.
A funny memory is also how I got everyone together. I had this great band in mind but I was really worried that they would be too busy, or just wouldn’t be into it. I called Ted first- and sent him all the demoes. He called back in a few days and said that he dug the tunes and that he was into it. I knew Ted and Laur were friends and had worked on a few projects together so I then called Laur, proposed the idea to him, and mentioned Ted was playing bass…not only was he in but he started coming over to my house and working on pre-production with me. Next I called Radford and asked him if he would be down, casually mentioning Ted and Laur were playing, he was like- Ted and Laur are gonna be there? I’m in! Thus my dream band was formed and everything was coming together. I was so excited the night before the first session that I hardly slept.”
The video that accompanies “Hand of the Sculptor” was shot solely by Daniel Thiels on location at The Studio Nashville and captures the creative atmosphere and setting with Wood Brothers instruments making many cameo appearances.