He was a contestant on Season 3, when The Voice advanced a whopping 64 contestants from the blind auditions. He bowed out of the competition in the battle round. And, until this past summer, he hadn’t released new music in five years.
But they might want to get re-introduced considering the fine singer-songwriter album Todd just released.
With singles like “Old Fashioned Way” and “The Letter,” Todd ended the new music drought in an impressive way. The Chicago-based artist released the eight-track project “About Memory” earlier this month.
Todd explained that at about the same time The Voice began airing Season 3 episodes, his band — Todd Kessler and The New Folk — released an album called “Sea Fever” with a Mumford and Sons sort of sound.
They toured with that music for two years before Todd said he “decided it was time for the band to take a break.
“I had two kids at that point, our bass player moved away and our drummer and second vocalist were also starting a family so it seemed the right time to step back for a while.”
But he still had some songs that needed a home and “didn’t really fit with the band.” Add one successful Kickstarter campaign, a return to his “singer/songwriter and Americana roots” and you have “About Memory.”
About that title …
“I had heard an interview on the radio where the person being interviewed was talking about losing his father at a young age and how it was strange what he remembered about his father and what he didn’t,” Todd explains.
“It got me thinking a lot about the nature of memory and how fluid it is, so I sat down and wrote that song. It ended up being the blueprint for what I wanted to album to be about and the emotions I wanted it to evoke.”
Fond memories are certainly at the heart of “Old Fashioned Way,” the album’s lead single. Todd released that song back in July and says it stems from his appreciation from having met his wife “the old-fashioned way.”
“I’m lucky enough to have been with my wife for 17 years — married for 8 — (so) I have never had any experiences with on-line dating, but a number of friends had been telling me horror stories of dates they had been on,” he adds. “It got me thinking how thankful I was to not have had those experiences so the song itself is a nostalgia trip.”
Which called for a nostalgic looking music video. You can check it out below. It’s book-ended by videos of Todd as a baby.
“The bulk of the video is shot to look like old home videos of my parents. A lot of people have asked me if those are real videos of my Mom and Dad, but I have to break it to them that it was shot in 2017,” Todd admits.
“The brilliant director of the video, Alex Reeves, did such a great job of maintaining the vibe and story of the song by creating the love story of my fictional parents.”
Todd’s spent the past week playing his new music at a series of concerts, including three opening gigs for former American Idol standout Haley Reinhart.
He said he’ll be announcing more shows, especially around Chicago and the Midwest.
Here’s the two singles from the album, but do yourself a favor and check out the rest of “About Memory” as well.
I play all sorts of gigs and do some teaching as well.