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Grown Backwards

Grown Backwards cover art

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News & Reviews

  • David Byrne‚Äôs "Here Lies Love" Cast Recording Out May 6 on Nonesuch; Public Theater Production Returns to Stage April 14

    Nonesuch Records will release the cast recording of David Byrne’s Here Lies Love on May 6. The recording features music by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim as performed by the original 2013 Public Theater cast of the Here Lies Love musical starring Ruthie Ann Miles and Jose Llana as Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos. Pre-order in the Nonesuch Store for an instant download of the track “Child of the Philippines” (heard here). Here Lies Love returns to New York’s Public Theater this spring with performances beginning April 14; opening night set for May 1. 

  • David Byrne, "Here Lies Love" Cast Announce Benefit Concert for the Philippines at Terminal 5, November 25

    David Byrne and the original cast of Here Lies Love will perform a one-time only special benefit concert in support of the people of the Philippines in the wake of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). The special show will take place at Terminal 5 in NYC on November 25. All proceeds will go to support Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) relief efforts in the Philippines. “The show is about the resiliency of the Philippine people—it couldn’t be more timely,” says Byrne. “Upon hearing about this tragedy the cast contacted me about doing a show to raise money for relief efforts. Most of our cast is Filipino, and all of us feel the same way. It’s personal for all of us."

About this Album

Nonesuch Records released Grown Backwards, the label debut from David Byrne, on March 16. The record is perhaps the most personal and emotionally expressive of his storied career.

Byrne took a different approach to writing Grown Backwards, than he has previously used. He worked from the “top down,” humming melodies into a micro-cassette recorder and later unscrambling them to create songs—a significant change from his usual practice of starting with improvised textures and grooves and later adding tunes. The result is a richly melodic set of fifteen songs that feature strings, rhythm section, and guitar. In addition to the eleven original songs, the disc features two opera arias (“Un di Felice” from Verdi’s La traviata, and “Au Fond Du Temple Saint” from Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers,, which features a duet with Rufus Wainwright); Byrne’s cover of the Lambchop song “The Man Who Loved Beer;” and the bonus track “Lazy.” This new version of Byrne and X-Press 2’s 2002 song was re-arranged by Stephen Barber based on arrangements by Dan Foster, Steven Hussey and Anu Pillai for Freeform Five.

Arranged by Stephen Barber, Grown Backwards, is produced by David Byrne and Patrick Dillett, and features longtime collaborator Mauro Refosco on percussion and mallet instruments, Paul Frazier (Chic, Imani Coppola) on bass as well as the Tosca Strings from Austin, Texas. Additionally, Carla Bley’s jazz band plays on the song “Empire.”

Known as the force behind The Talking Heads and later as creator of the highly-regarded record-label Luaka Bop, Byrne also works as a photographer, film director, author, and solo artist; he has been publishing and exhibiting visual art for more than a decade. Recent works include the release of EEEI—Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information, (Steidl Publishing & Pace/McGill Gallery), the Lead Us Not into Temptation CD from the film Young Adam, and the Talking Heads box set.

Grown Backwards, is Byrne’s first Nonesuch Records release. “There are a few artists today who are so original in what they do that one can truly say they sound like no one else in the world,” says label president Robert Hurwitz. “This is what we have always felt about David Byrne, and this is how we feel about Grown Backwards,, his first record on Nonesuch. It is a great privilege to work with him.”


David Byrne, vocals (1-15), electric guitar (2, 6, 7, 9, 12, 15), acoustic guitar (10, 11), nylon-string guitar (1, 13), semi-nylon guitar (8), dobro (4), Rhodes (5), programming (9), keyboards, drum programming (15)
Mauro Refrosco, percussion (1, 2, 7-13, 15), marimba (1), samples (8), kitchen implements (8)
Jane Scarpatoni, cello (1)
David Hilliard, high hat (1)
Paul Frazier, bass (2, 7-13, 15)
The Tosca Strings: Leigh Mahoney, violin; Tracy Seeger, violin; Jamie Desautels, violin; Ames Asbell, viola; Sara Nelson, cello; Douglas Harvey, cello (2, 3, 8-10, 13, 15)
John Mills, clarinet (2, 3, 13), bass clarinet (2, 3, 13), flute (2, 3), baritone saxophone (7, 10)
Freddie Mendoza, trombone (2, 3), euphonium (2, 3)
Mike Maddox, accordion (2, 3)
Elaine Barber, harp (2, 3, 8)
Rufus Wainwright, vocals (3)
Pamelia Kurstin, theremin (3, 12)
Stephen Barber, prepared piano (3)
Tom Burritt, marimba, timpani (3)
Karen Mantler, organ; Steve Swallow, bass; Vincent Herring, alto saxophone; Alex Foster, tenor saxophone; Gary Smulyan, bartone saxophone; Earl Gardner, trumpet; Lew Soloff, trumpet; Ray Anderson, trombone; Keith O’Quinn, trombone; Bob Routch, French horn; Bob Stewart, tuba (4)
Barry Burns, spacey guitar; Lisa Aferiat, violin; Greg Lawson, violin; Fiona Stephen, violin; Georgia Boyd, viola; David Gillian, cello; Robert Irvine, cello; Una McGlone, bass; Johnny Quinn, drums; Patrick Dillett, Rhodes (5)
Andy Waterworth, bass; Ross Godfrey, keyboards; Joe Cooper, percussion; Paul Godfrey, sequencing (6)
John Blondell, trombone (7, 10, 13)
Steve Williams, drums (7, 8), percussion (12), cowbell (8), drum triggers (15), spaghetti percussion (13)
John Spurney, keyboards (9)
Kenny Wollesen, drums (9-11), slit drum (11)
Alan Ford, vacuum cleaner (11)
John Linnell, accordion (11)
Jon Vercesi, Rhodes; Sandra Park, violin; Sharon Yamada, violin; Soo Hyun Kwon, violin; Katherine Fong, violin; Dawn Hannay, viola; David Creswell, viola; Alan Stepansky, cello; Jeremy Turner, cello; Shelly Woodworth, oboe, English horn; Mark Nuccio, clarinet; Philip Myers, French horn; John Patitucci, bass (14)
Patrick Dillett, background vocals (15)

Produced by David Byrne and Patrick Dillett
Recorded and mixed by Patrick Dillett at Kampo Studios, NYC
Strings recorded at Tequila Mockingbird, Austin, TX
Track 1 recorded & mixed by Mark Saunders at Loveshack Studio, NYC
Track 2 basic tracks recorded at Avatar, NYC, Strings & horns recorded at: Tequila Mockingbird, Austin, TX
Track 3 recorded at Tequila Mockingbird, Austin, TX
Track 4 recorded by Tom Mark at RPM Studio, NYC, arrangement by Carla Bley
Track 5 recorded by Tony Doogan at CaVa Sound Workshops, Glasgow,
additional recording at Kampo, NYC
Track 6 engineered by Pete Norris, recorded at Cheeba Central, London, mixed by Mark Saunders at Room with a View, NYC, produced by Morcheeba Productions and David Byrne, mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound
Track 7 horn arrangement by Stephen Barber & John Mills, recorded at Avatar, NYC & Kampo, NYC, horns recorded at Congress House Studio, Austin, TX, arrangements by Stephen Barber
Track 8 basic tracks recorded at Avatar, NYC, string overdubs recorded at Tequila Mockingbird, Austin, TX
Track 9 drums recorded at Skyline, NYC
Track 10 drums recorded at Skyline, NYC, horns recorded at Congress House Studio, Austin, TX
Track 11 drums recorded at Skyline, NYC
Track 13 horns recorded at Congress House Studio, Austin, TX
Track 14 arranged by Anthony Finno, recorded and mixed by Kevin Killen at Sound on Sound, NYC
Track 15 arrangement by Stephen Barber based on arrangements by Dan Foster, Steven Hussey and Anu Pillai for Freeform Five
Album coordination: Kara Finlay and Jess Frost
Rufus Wainwright appears courtesy of Dreamworks Records

All songs written by David Byrne, except track 2 by Donald Charles Book and Kurt Wagner; track 3 by Georges Bizet, from Les Pêcheurs de Perles; track 14 by Giuseppe Verdi, from La Traviata; track 15 by David Byrne and X-Press 2.

Design: Danielle Spencer & David Byrne
Cover photos by Michael Wilson

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