When former Great Neck resident Michael Blum, a singer-songwriter, took a turn in his romantic life toward a continental divide, it colored his lyrics.
“About four months before I started writing these songs, she moved to the West Coast and I stayed on the East Coast,” Blum, 23, said of his girlfriend, Rebecca Schneyer. “They all hint at that.”
The resulting album, “The Reservoir,” is his fifth but marks a departure from his previous four albums and his debut as a singer-songwriter.
When asked if there was one lyric that summarized the album, Blum read the opening lyric of “Turn This Train Around,” which tells a tale of two separated lovers: “Waiting for the train on the wrong side of the tracks again.”
“Every time I went back to Boston or traveled anywhere, it felt like I was going in the wrong direction,” Blum said, noting a time when he was being pulled toward multiple places.
Blum produced most of the album in his Boston apartment. He played guitars and keyboards, sang vocals, and recorded. Dave DiCenso contributed on drums and Jim Stinnett, one of Blum’s mentors, played the bass.
“I like the orchestration of it. The arrangement came together,” Blum said. “[The album] has a very nice texture.”
His previous albums featured jazz guitar, jazz fusion and a piano tribute to the late Oscar Peterson, a Canadian jazz pianist and composer. “The Reservoir” is slightly different in tone, drawing influence from singer-songwriter James Taylor, multi-instrumentalist Stevie Wonder and English musician Gordon Matthew Thomas Summer, better known as Sting, in addition to jazz.
“All the musical elements from each just melded together,” Blum said.
When he was growing up in Great Neck, music often hummed through the house. His father was a classical guitarist and Blum’s first guitar teacher. His mother was a singer who introduced him to many of the musical inspirations found in “The Reservoir.”
“She’s a lover of music,” Blum said.
Blum said that there are more albums to come, but they will return more to his jazz roots. One, in fact, is slated to be released at the end of the year. The music will pay tribute to Wes Montgomery, an influential American jazz guitarist from the 1960s.
The loneliness that helped inspire “The Reservoir” might also be a thing of the past.
“At the end of this year I will be moving out to the West Coast,” Blum said. “Hopefully I’ll still be able to write songs though.”
Music from “The Reservoir” can be found on Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Spotify or at Blum’s professional website.