It may have taken 16 years, but Nine Days, the last Long Island band to have a No. 1 single on the pop charts, has finally released its sophomore album.
And though the expectations for “Snapshots” (Digitally Sound) are radically different now than they were when the St. James-based band released its debut album featuring the chart-topping “Absolutely (Story of a Girl),” the band still believes its music can find an audience.
“Why not us?” says John Hampson, singer/guitarist for Nine Days, who will celebrate their album release at the YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts in Bay Shore on Saturday. “Yes, we’re a band who had a hit 16 years ago. But we’re also a good band with really good songs. So why not us?”
Though Nine Days — Hampson, singer/guitarist Brian Desveaux, keyboardist Jeremy Dean, and bassist Nick Dimichino — never disbanded, they did spend several years apart, with Desveaux moving to Nashville to focus on songwriting.
“This is definitely the most we’ve ever put into a record,” says Desveaux. “It was a two-year process and now it’s finally ready.”
Desveaux says “Snapshots” feels like the band’s breakthrough, “The Madding Crowd,” only “older and wiser.” “It sounded amazing right away,” he says. “We’ve got that feeling again this time.”
Hampson says the band was thrilled to work with producer Jim Scott, best known for his work with Wilco. “I’m a huge Wilco fan and of what he did on their self-titled album,” Hampson says. “He was really into the process for the songs, which was great to just have that extra set of ears on something we’ve been working on for so long.”
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Between Scott’s involvement and the writing of all the songs in Nashville with various co-writers, “Snapshots” has more of an Americana, storytelling feel than the band’s earlier work. However, Hampson says the band is no longer concerned with labels.
“I don’t care as much where it fits any more,” he says. “I have no illusions. I’m not competing with anybody. I’m just making music that I like to make. If it connects, that’s awesome. If it doesn’t, I still recorded all these great songs. I recorded an album with Jim Scott. The experience of the whole thing is worth it right there. That may have been harder to do years ago because your eye was on a different prize. My eye is on a different prize now.”
And that prize is now sharing music with the band’s fans, starting with those at the Boulton Center Saturday. “We want everyone going to feel like a VIP,” Hampson says. “We’ll play half the new record and then sprinkle in songs from the past 20 years. We’ve re-imagined some of the older songs for the show.”
It’s all part of the band’s new outlook. “I realized a few years ago that I’m good at what I do and I shouldn’t try to be something that I’m not any more,” Hampson says.