The story of Acoustic Alchemy has always been about innovation and adaptability. In the nearly 25 years since their first recording, the UK-based group has crafted a sound that maximizes the potential of not only the acoustic guitar but also its electric counterpart - and in so doing they've explored the subtle corners where jazz, pop, world music and other genres intersect. Along the way - with the help of a massive worldwide following created by consistent touring - they've weathered personal setbacks, dramatic shifts in musical trends, and in recent years, sweeping changes in the music industry. The next step in this ongoing journey is Roseland, their new recording set for release on September 27, 2011. While they may call themselves Acoustic Alchemy, Carmichael and his creative partner and co-pilot, Miles Gilderdale, exercise plenty of creative license by injecting generous elements of electric guitar into the mix on Roseland. This sonic edge comes courtesy of Gilderdale, who was an electric player first and foremost before joining the band after the death of co-founder Nick Webb in early 1998. Together, Carmichael and Gilderdale explore elements of jazz, rock, country and reggae - all of which makes for an album that's both eclectic and yet cohesive at the same time.
Also along for the ride is the band's usual touring lineup: keyboardist Fred White, bassist Julian Crampton and drummer Greg Grainger. Other assistance in the sessions comes from Hammond organist Ricky Peterson, pedal steel player Frank Mizen, drummers Dan Mizen and Sam Hobbs and a full complement of horn players.
Roseland was recorded in Gilderdale's newly constructed home studio in York, England, a place where the band could be creative without the pressure of a ticking clock. "We used the studio as a place to write," says Carmichael. "We would just throw ideas at each other. You try things as you go along. That's the beauty of having your own studio. You can try an electric guitar solo here, a steel-string solo there, a trombone solo somewhere else, whatever you like. It may have taken us a little longer, but if something didn't work, it didn't matter. We just tried things until we found what did work."
"For a lot of people, instrumental music is just a sound that plays in the background," says Carmichael. "But we put a lot into it - not just with this record but with every record we've ever made. I'd like to think that after all these years, we've learned how to take people on a journey. A lot of our fans have said that we do that for them. As long as they keep coming back, and as long as they want to stay on that journey, we'll keep doing what we're doing."