Local musician Al Maul releases debut album
‘The Wandering’ is now available on all streaming platforms
Local musician Al Maul released his debut album, “The Wandering,” last week at a March 10 release party at Ein Prosit in Avon. Maul has been living in the valley since 2017, and is a regular performer at Ein Prosit, where he plays every Friday night at 7 p.m.
“The Wandering” is a selection of eleven original songs that Maul has written and composed over the past decade of his life. He has been a prolific songwriter since college, where he majored in creative writing, and has accumulated an extensive collection of original songs that mark his path through young adulthood.
Maul had written enough songs to release an album long ago, but he said that he chose to follow the guidance of fellow artist Willy Braun of the band Wreckless Kelly.
“He told me, you’ve gotta write 50 songs, and then you’ll write a good song,” Maul said. “And that really stuck in my head. I’m always constantly writing. Even if I’m not writing songs, I’m still writing prose or journaling or that kind of thing. All of these things, they just manifest themselves in songs for me.”
Now 30 years old, Maul feels confident in the songs that he has selected for the album, and is ready to share it with the world.
“I’m glad it happened now rather than earlier, just musicianship-wise I’m a little wiser,” Maul said. “I think some of the songs that I would have released earlier on would have not quite been something I would really want to stand behind, and I certainly stand behind these songs that I’ve released here.”
Maul said that the album title is inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which distinguishes two modes of existence: enlightenment, known as “Nirvana,” and the wandering, known as “Samsara.”
“I do believe that your soul can be in two places, and if you’re not enlightened, you’re certainly in the wandering,” Maul said. “Being in my twenties, and that 10 years worth of songs, was kind of a wild ride through multiple jobs, multiple states, multiple countries, so it just felt fitting for the album to call it the wandering.”
Maul’s music maintains a consistent folk-Americana sound that is carried by his acoustic guitar playing and selectively bolstered by strings and percussion. It’s easy to hear how Maul has honed his craft performing at Ein Prosit and other venues around the valley, just him and his guitar. The intimate singer-songwriter tone makes for easy listening that melds with the mountain environment it’s derived from.
Maul recorded the album at Stout Studios in Fort Collins. Stout Studios’ owner and operator Darren Radach produced the album and played all percussion and mandolin parts, Russick Smith is on the cello and Vi Wickam plays the violin on the record.
Song topics are taken from all ends of Maul’s life over the past decade, and he made a concerted effort to include the happy with the sad and represent a spectrum of emotions in his work, as in his life. He weaves in his personal experiences, and said that the track “Fields of Indigo” struck an especially deep chord for him.
“The writing process was really powerful there, it felt like therapy in a lot of ways,” Maul said. “It was a way I could kind of say goodbye to some folks and dogs and people that had passed on over my life. There’s a line in there that just says, ‘I’m gone’, and that was a catch phrase of my grandfather’s. He used to say that whenever he was leaving to go anywhere.”
Maul’s friends and family surprised him with a launch party at Ein Prosit on March 10 to celebrate his debut album. Maul thought that he was performing a regular gig and just passing out CDs, and instead arrived to find a crowd of loved ones waiting to celebrate him.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so loved,” Maul said. “It’s funny, being a musician, sometimes I don’t know if you take your own material as seriously as some other people do. I had friends drive all the way from North Dakota and Montana, and my brother and my father came down… man, I was so touched.”
“The Wandering” is now out and available on all streaming platforms. Maul has upcoming live performance dates at Vail Brewing Company on March 31 and Loaded Joe’s in Avon on April 14, as well as his regular set at Ein Prosit every Friday at 7 p.m. He plans to play a mix of original songs from the album as well as his favorite covers, and hopes that people will find and experience the music for themselves.
“I poured a lot into it, and I hope anybody who finds it enjoys it,” Maul said. “Hopefully they draw anything from it — even if it’s the fact that they don’t like the album. I just appreciate anybody who goes and finds it.”
For more information about Al Maul and his upcoming shows, follow the artist on Instagram at @al_maul.