The Day My Father Died is the new album from SYML, the solo project of singer, songwriter and producer Brian Fennell. Recorded in Fennell’s hometown of Seattle, it’s his first album to feature a full band and includes contributions from Lucius, Guy Garvey, Sara Watkins and Charlotte Lawrence.
SYML's music has a sacred quality. The solo venture of Seattle artist Brian Fennell, its themes tap into the instincts that drive us to places of sanctuary, whether that be a place or person. "It comes back to your identity of being human; throughout time we've shared the same drive," he explains. His own upbringing - interwoven with experiences of abandonment, adoption, loss, grief, and love - is what drives him to question how connections between people shape us as individuals. The Day My Father Died is an exceptional record. Over 15 songs, SYML offers a profound exploration of the ways in which our lives intertwine. Throughout the album, SYML weaves in familiar iconography as a means of examining his feelings towards others, and about himself.
The 15-track record finds Fennell telling a story of interpersonal connection and chosen kinship following the death of his adoptive father in 2021. More a document of growth and healing than of loss, the album charts Fennell’s journey to figure out how to move forward after a fundamental and intractable shift in his life.
“The ever-expanding universe will always frighten and delight me, but the truly unbelievable shit happens down here at our human level,” Fennell says. “Losing my dad felt like running out of air. I still feel it in my gut. But this record is not about losing him, it’s about what happens after we have lost.”
Recorded and produced in Fennell’s hometown with fellow Seattle native Phil Ek (Band of Horses, Father John Misty, Fleet Foxes), The Day My Father Died is his first album to feature a full band and guests such as Lucius, Guy Garvey, Sara Watkins, and Charlotte Lawrence.
“Working with Phil was exciting, humbling, and memorable,” Fennell says. “This dude has produced some insane records that are beloved by everyone I know. The music that Guy, Sara, Charlotte, and Lucius makes it all beautiful and uniquely their own. I feel fortunate to say that we all now have songs together. Again, I want to say I can’t believe it’s happened, but it has.”
With over one billion lifetime streams, SYML (Welsh for “simple”) makes music that taps into the instincts that drive us to places of sanctuary, whether that be a place or a person. Born and raised in Seattle, Fennell studied piano and became a self-taught producer, programmer, and guitarist. He released his self-titled debut album in 2019, which included the platinum-selling song “Where’s My Love,” followed by the grief-stricken EP DIM released in 2021. After supporting Dermot Kennedy on his most recent U.S. tour in late 2021, SYML embarked on an extensive headline tour of his live album Sacred Spaces, performing in beautiful churches around the world. The tour saw him perform across North America and Europe, including sold out nights in London, Paris, and Amsterdam as well as three dates at L.A.’s Masonic Lodge and Montreal’s Corona Theater. The tour ended with a very special hometown show at Seattle’s St. Mark’s Cathedral, bringing SYML back to where the project began. His music has been featured in countless movies, TV series and ad campaigns including Netflix’s original series Behind Her Eyes, which featured his version of “Mr. Sandman” as the title track.