In 2010 I started a band called The Everymen. In 2012 The Everymen released their first album. Shortly thereafter, my mother - also my closest friend and confidant - died, concluding a long and arduous battle with cancer. Her death left me in a thick fog. Feelings didn't feel like they once did. Happiness wasn't happy. Sadness wasn't sad. The Fog was the only thing that was real.
In 2014 The Everymen released their second album and I soon quit my job to focus on our band full time.
We spent the next three years constantly on tour logging two hundred shows per year. Over the thousands and thousands of solitary miles which passed beneath our wheels (and thanks more importantly to the love and support of my Woman, Emily), I began to come out of The Fog and found the strength to come to terms with losing my mother. And as my head began to clear, my feelings became palpable once again.
Sitting in the van for so many hours in a day will take a mind to some very strange, dark and scary places and as we toured endlessly I could no longer avoid what I was thinking and the emotions I was feeling. I had to face them head on. It was then that I confronted the images, feelings, ideas, pains and emotions which were floating around somewhere beyond The Fog.
When I came home from being on the road for almost thirty straight months, Emily and I decided that it was time for a change and after being a lifetime tri-stater (born and raised on the Jersey Shore, college in Philly, young manhood in New York City), we decided to leave our home on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and head south. It was the change of pace that would prove to be a creative and spiritual jumpstart that would allow the feelings, pains and emotions I had finally encountered to manifest in the music and art I was creating.
Once settled into our new home of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the songs began to pour out en masse, as if someone had quickly pulled the rolling door up on a far-too-packed storage unit.
In late 2016 due to a variety of factors The Everymen ceased to exist and I was left, for the first time in years, without a band. I decamped to Muscle Shoals, Alabama where I holed up in the towns famed Cypress Moon studios alongside some of the people I hold in highest regard; Ben Tanner (of Alabama Shakes), Albert Rothstein and Jamie Sego behind the console, and Jonathan Oliphant, Kimi Samson, Caleb Elliott, Jeremy Gibson and Joe Garner in the studio beside me. Over the course of five days alongside the banks of the Tennessee River we created the songs that became the happiest man on earth.
Much like the juxtaposition of life with The Everymen, these songs were borne of a voice and a guitar, pensive, pained, hurting, yet they soon became dressed up in the joy and happiness of making music with your closest friends. As such the album is a reflection of the healing process I went through in the wake of losing my best friend, the darkness of death and loss, while at the same time honoring the lightness of love, family and the unfaltering, unwavering, unabashed oneness of true friendship.
the happiest man on earth is the result. I hope you enjoy it.
- Michael Venutolo-Mantovani
Chapel Hill, North Carolina