Ace Enders is the former lead singer/guitarist/songwriter for The Early November, a band that I always liked a lot.
Back in 2002/2003 I was just getting into music that wasn't on mainstream radio and was really getting into the emo/screamo genre, with bands like Finch, Taking Back Sunday, and Brand New being my favourite. The Early November always stood out for me, as they seemed destined for something bigger then the insular genre of emo. To me, they always stood out, and had the potential to grow into something great. Unlike bands like Finch or The Movielife (who seemed very in that 2003 moment to me), their sound was more timeless/adult. They put out a couple of great albums ("For All of This EP", "The Room's Too Cold") that I really enjoyed. Both were really good, but neither was the masterpiece I thought they were capable of.
Then in 2006 they released their masterpiece. "The Mother, the Mechanic, and the Way" is a triple disc epic, that tells the elaborate and lengthy story of a boy's growth into a man, and his complex/poor relationships with both his parents. Each disc had a unique feel, with the Mother being mostly softer/acoustic songs, the Mechanic being more straight up rock songs, and the Way is part song/part spoken word acts (in the form of therapist sessions) that tell the album's story. All three are great albums alone, but when listened to in succession, it's a truly brilliant and unique musical undertaking. It's easily the most challenging and unique album I've heard in the last few years, but all while being relentlessly catchy, and full of great songs. It's utterly brilliant, and I cannot do it justice with my words.
While still in TEN, he released a self-titled album under the moniker I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody's Business, which is a wonderful collection of alt-country/acoustic/soft songs that's equally as good, albeit less rocking. The Early November broke up in 2007, and since then Ace has been diligently working on solo stuff, releasing "The Secret Wars" last summer for free, as a teaser for his debut full length as a solo artist.
That debut, "When I Hit the Ground" is released today, Tuesday March 17th. It's been streaming on his MySpace for a couple days now, and it's absolutely brilliant. Continuing where TEN left off, "When I Hit the Ground" is a superb album (maybe the best of 2009 so far), full of great rock songs. Each song features a lush sound, combining guitars with strings, piano, and lots more. It has 14 songs, and there isn't a bad song on the album - every song counts, and every song is wonderful. From rockers like "Take the Money and Run" to softer songs "S.O.S." and "New Guitar" to uplifting pop rock tracks like "Reaction" and "Over This", each song is a joy to listen to.
I'm extremely glad Ace is still making music, as he's threatened/hinted at retiring from the music business (due to financial pressures), as I've loved every single piece of music he's ever produced. I was saddened at the lose of the Early November, but his new album picks up the pieces and improves on the sound, maturing it further into timeless rock and roll.
I hate comparing bands, but if you're looking for a point of reference for Ace Enders, the following bands remind me of Ace Enders and a Million Different People:
Jack's Mannequin (more guitars then piano)
The Color Fred (another lead singer turned solo artist)
Saves the Day
Brand New (way less moody)
Coldplay (not as piano heavy)
Jimmy Eat World
I highly suggest clicking on any of the links below, as each contains streams of a bunch of great Ace Enders penned tunes. At 26 he's amassed a superb collection of songs, and a couple of great albums, including one of my favourite albums all time. 2009's music just got a lot better with the release of "When I Hit the Ground".
Ace Enders FavTape
(Collection of 6 songs related to Ace Enders - put together by me)
The Secret Wars
(Free online exclusive album released last summer)
Ace Enders and a Million Different People MySpace
The Early November MySpace
I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody's Business MySpace
Ace Enders Website