Paul Sanchez keeps turning out classic albums like its 1966. Sanchez may be the perfect example of how New Orleans musicians have dealt with the collapse of the music industry. No corporate label would let a musician put out records with the frequency Sanchez does—there is not enough time to promote one effectively before the next one is released. But if you crowdsource funding, as Sanchez has done with the fan-operated Threadhead Records, or finance the record yourself as Sanchez has done here, you can release them as fast as you write ’em.
One More Trip Around the Sun has only one song Sanchez wrote by himself: “Live Like Laura,” an exultant tribute to a friend who lived a spectacular life before dying at age 28. The rest are co-writes—some recorded with producer Mark Bingham at the Living Room in New Orleans and at Bingham’s Henderson reconfiguration of Piety Street Studio. It’s a full-out rock album with a hard-edged Louisiana band of Alex McMurray on guitar, Ray Ganacheau on bass and Carlo Nuccio on drums; and a brighter, pop rock LA band with Sanchez’s old friend and co-writer Vance DeGeneres on bass and guitar.
The Sanchez/DeGeneres material is highlighted by the myth-exploding “Elvis Promised Me a Cadillac,” a song about childhood dreams that turn sour. The other four continue in the vein of Sanchez’s recent Heart Renovations, dealing with the breakup of a relationship and the search for ways to recover from the loss. That search for recovery also informs “Tougher Locks, Stronger Keys.”
“Carlotta, Carlotta” is a great New Orleans song about trying to hold on to a party girl who loves to dance in the clubs on Frenchmen Street.
Two of the best songs are co-written with Tom Lavie. Both are traveler songs about restless spirits running on the open road. “Nashville (Total Eclipse)” is a song about driving to Nashville “with my baby for fun” to see the total eclipse of the sun, an event which becomes a metaphor for the relationship itself. “Talking Spanish” is an image-packed shaggy dog tale, part Bruce Springsteen, part Joe Ely, about desperate men packing heat, hopping boxcars and howling at the West Bank.
Finally, there are two beautiful songs written with John Rankin—“Christina’s World,” inspired by the Andrew Wyeth painting; and the title track, a life-affirming song of self-realization: “I know who I am now and I know I’m not done/ I say each day is a gift to me not something to be won/ Here’s to one more trip around the sun.”