Tuesday marks the release of David Duchovny’s debut album Hell or Highwater. It marks the actor’s first foray into the music world and comes during a time when he’s particularly busy: His new television show Aquarius, which finds him playing a Los Angeles detective hunting Charles Manson, premieres on NBC on May 28 (the entire series will run online starting May 29); and his return to The X-Files has been greeted with an overwhelming amount of joy and admiration. (That show will come back to Fox for a six-episode run in January.)
Though Duchovny never even played an instrument until he vowed to teach himself to play guitar a few years ago, he has always had a healthy appetite and appreciation for the rock world. He grew up on a steady diet of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and has very vivid memories of his early album purchases. “I think the first one I ever bought was Honky Chateau, or maybe Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player, but I know it was an Elton John album,” he told EW in 2012. “My brother was older and was into the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead, and I was into pop, but later got into prog and psychedelia like Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. I got my s–t together eventually. But I think old Elton is fantastic.” His love of John’s peak ’70s sound even informed his work on the Showtime series Californication. “I was driving to work the first year of our show, and the finale where Karen runs off from her wedding to be with Hank, and I was listening to Elton and called [creator] Tom [Kapinos] and said, ‘You know “High Flying Bird”? That’s a pretty song. I bet we can use it,’” he said. “And it ended up being the song that we used.”
Hell or Highwater doesn’t sound much like Elton, but it does have the breezy, lived-in feel of a lot of classic ’70s rock, especially the type of stuff that wafted out of Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon. The album’s title track is a stellar example of Duchovny’s low-key melodies and his sweetly weathered vocal chops. Check out the exclusive premiere of the lyric video for “Hell or Highwater,” featuring some behind-the-scenes footage of Duchovny in the studio, below.
Hell or Highwater is available now. Grab it at iTunes.