Memories of Summer as a Child, is the debut album from the Beyman Bros. Although their music is born of brotherhood, the trio of Nudgie, Doc, and CJ Beyman are, respectively, the unrelated trio of guitarist and composer David Nichtern; multi-instrumentalist, writer, and filmmaker Christopher Guest; and keyboardist, producer, and composer CJ Vanston. Encompassing the ringing acoustic tones of bluegrass, the improvisational freedom of jazz, the warmly meditative qualities of devotional music, and a cinematic sense of depth and expansiveness, Memories of Summer as a Child is a remarkable project rooted in intimacy and life-long friendship.
Friends since childhood, renowned guitarist, composer ("Midnight at the Oasis"), and producer David Nichtern and multi-instrumentalist, writer, actor (This Is Spinal Tap), and filmmaker (For Your Consideration, A Mighty Wind, Best in Show) Christopher Guest have been playing music together since their early teenage years in New York City. "Whenever David would come out to Los Angeles," says Guest, "he and I would play together in my kitchen." Nichtern adds, "We'd get very relaxed and get into this sort of open improv kind of picking: moody and spacious."
"It seemed that those sessions were events that we both enjoyed, and we wondered if that could be replicated and recorded," Guest explains. "We thought that perhaps we could get some of the same feel that we got when we were improvising." Guest and Nichtern enlisted longtime Guest collaborator, keyboardist and producer CJ Vanston (keyboardist/musical director in Spinal Tap and a session musician with extensive credits in a wide range of genres), to produce and engineer the project at his L.A. studio. The trio spent several weeks together, sculpting improvisations into more developed compositions, which Vanston then further embellished with subtle textures and rhythm loops.
The resulting album, Memories of Summer as a Child is a feast of textures and colors, utilizing unusual combinations of acoustic and electric string instruments to create striking timbres at once familiar and surprising, featuring Nichtern on acoustic and electric guitars; Guest on mandolin, mandocello, clarinet, guitars, and lap steel; and Vanston on accordion, acoustic and electric pianos, synths, and percussion. "It could have been the most eclectic album in the universe," says Nichtern in retrospect. "Our backgrounds gave us so many possibilities. What is interesting is that, looking back, the music came out very, very easily. It was very natural."
"That's the basis of this record: feeling comfortable enough to let your ideas flow naturally," concludes Vanston. "There was definitely a brotherhood."