Produced by Sam Kassirer, the album finds Ramirez painting a vividly imagined picture of contemporary America through the songwriter’s own perspective of having dual American and Mexican heritage. The new album follows Ramirez’s 2015 album ‘Fables’, described by Q as ‘caked with the grit and dust of an entire lifetime’ and will be trailed with a full UK tour pencilled for early 2018.
Speaking about ‘Twins’, Ramirez says: “9/11 happened a little over a week after my 18th birthday and it was one of the first times I remember feeling unsafe and without control in a country that had previously made me feel otherwise.” says Ramirez. “I never wrote about that moment but in the light of last year’s election, a lot of those feelings came flooding back into focus. It was time to acknowledge where I was when I first recognised that our country isn’t invincible.”
For the first time, Ramirez – who has always co-produced or self-produced – hired a producer in the form of Sam Kassirer (previously helmed Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive, Bhi Bhiman) to help evolve and change the recording process. In January 2017 Ramirez and his band decamped to the Great North Sound Society, an eighteenth-century farmhouse in rural Maine that serves as Kassirer’s studio. “It’s very secluded, which was part of the appeal. We were able to get out of our touring headspace and stay completely involved with the record and what we were doing. That allowed the band to concentrate on the music, to pursue ideas without distractions and misgivings, but it also removed them from the world during a momentous event.”
We’re Not Going Anywhere marks a departure for Ramirez who builds on the rootsy sound of his early albums to create something new, bold and anchored in the present in both music and lyrics taking influence from the sounds of his childhood, the likes of The Cars and Journey. “We’re Not Going Anywhere” – these are four simple words informed and driven by Ramirez’s own background which identifies a record of promise and protest at a time of socio-political agitation, “so many cultures in this country are being viewed as un-American and it breaks my heart. My family has raised children here, created successful businesses here, and are proud to be a part of this country. Most of what I’ve seen as of late is misplaced fear. I wanted to write about that fear and how, instead of benefiting us, it sends us spiralling out of control.”