The Reluctant Hook (and the day that caught it)

Finally! If you’re keeping track, this is album #4 for Tad Dreis. Give it a listen using the jukebox in the sidebar, or go to

Three purchase options:

Buy the CD – $13 shipped, you get the CD plus a download code for five bonus tracks! I recorded acoustic demos for the album at the beginning of last summer, and these are the best of the bunch. Why buy a CD? Why not just download? Up to you, but it’s better sound quality and you get a full lyric booklet with cool pictures hand-drawn by my inner 6 year-old. The CD + bonus tracks $13 bundle will only be available for online orders until Oct 1. (Update 10/7/09: the bonus tracks offer has now expired, but you can still order the CD using the link above).

Download the album – $10, high quality 320 kbps MP3s, or another hi-res format of your choice. All the songs are free of DRM (digital rights management), so unlike iTunes, they’ll work with any MP3 player.

Just the bonus tracks – $5, for folks who already bought the CD at pre-release shows and are dying to get all the extra digital goodies :)

So what’s this bunch of songs about?

“The Reluctant Hook (and the day that caught it)” is an album of run-on sentences and stories. There’s this guy who can’t sleep. His mind is a fishhook that the suicidal morning won’t stop shaking, even as the barb works its way in deeper. There’s a mall where kids hook up using an extremely elaborate note-passing scheme involving at least three forms of media. In California, folksingers go slumming and find that it’s all much easier than when Woody made the rounds, and somehow that makes it harder. There’s a 16-wheeler Mac truck with a heart drawn in the grime. The telephone rings and it’s the Rime of the Ancient Mariner all over again, only this time they fix you with a glittering touchscreen.

Longtime fans will recognize some of the titles from my live set over the last couple years. And yes,the song “Advice For Ladies” is now available. Finally.

I think this record has some of my strongest writing, and the sound of it is fresher, richer, and more cohesive than anything I’ve done, due to the way we made it, which was largely live, all together, and using the same set of players on all the songs. I played a lot of instruments, but it’s the ensemble that really makes this recording sound warm. It’s an awfully lonely set of lyrics to be so sun-kissed, but there you are.

Thanks for coming to my shows and buying my CDs, downloading songs, wearing my silly hedgehog tattoos and making my work a part of your life. Your support means a lot. I’ve been putting stuff out for eight years now, and your interest in what I do is what keeps me doing it in public.

“Even if there wasn’t anyone to hear me fall, I’d still do it in the forest.”

The music is up at



Still reading? You are so great. Here’s some more history…

The story of this album goes back to March 2006. I had toured for a year and a half behind my last CD, Play to Remember, and was just starting to write new songs again. I played a show at the Nightlight with Jeff Crawford, who I knew from mutual friends and from his work as bassist for SpencerAcuff and Roman Candle.

It was his first solo songwriter show, and afterwards he invited me to record at his new place, Arbor Ridge Studios. At the time, my response was “Sure thing, once I have something to record!”

Time went on. I filled up several cassettes with new songs, and soon began recording in my home studio. In December of ’06, I did a drum session with my old friend Matt McCaughan, and worked with that framework through the spring and summer of ’07. I left the country for a month that summer, and when I got back I began playing with a new rhythm section. Actually, my first rhythm section ever.

I jammed with Rob and Alex a bit in the fall, and we played a couple shows at the beginning of 2008. It was awesome playing with guys who could do their jobs better than I could. I decided to start from scratch with the new songs, and booked a couple of sessions with Jeff at Arbor Ridge Studios.

After doing some preliminary acoustic demos, we recorded all the band tracks in two sessions. Over the rest of the summer, I added vocals and additional instruments. We did a cello session with Lindsay of Sweater Weather. We did a couple of keyboard sessions with Charles, who’s in every damn band in Chapel Hill. We even brought Hugh Swaso down from his paisley cloud in rock heaven to record some electric guitar.

When tracking was all done, I took the record to Tim Carless at The Mockin’ Bird Recording Co, where he mixed it and infused my shoes and all other articles of clothing with incense. I did some more touring, and in the spring of 2009 Brent Lambert mastered my album at The Kitchen.

John from Diesel Multimedia agreed to handle the graphic design, my sweetie Sarah took pictures, and I went off to Kerrville, Texas for a folk festival, where I breathed dust and love and music for eighteen days and emailed with John to finalize the album artwork.

Then I ordered CDs from Oasis. Then they arrived in my living room and later they met their brothers and sisters in my closet.

The End

Go listen to “The Reluctant Hook.”
It’s really swell.

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