The ten-song album will arrive in stores Jan. 27 on the Victor Records/Sony BMG label. Rather than standing as a concept recording, "Whisper House" has been described as an album of personal chamber pop in which Sheik explores songs he penned for the developing musical. Sheik is joined by vocalist and keyboardist Holly Brooke for the album.
According to press notes, "Structured as a melodrama, each of the ten songs on the album weave together to tell the story of a child's grief and spinster's longing as seen through the eyes of the ghosts that haunt the remote, World War II-era Maine lighthouse where they live."
Songs on "Whisper House" include:
"Better to Be Dead"
"We're Here to Tell You"
"And Now We Sing"
"The Tale of Solomon Snell"
"Play Your Part"
"You've Really Gone and Done It Now"
"How It Feels"
"I Don't Believe in You"
"Take A Bow"
The musical features a book and additional lyrics by Kyle Jarrow. "Whisper House" began as a concept from actor Keith Powell, who approached Sheik about developing a new theatre piece. Sheik said of his personal inspiration for the story: "Charleston has this history of ghost stories, a Southern tradition that I kind of grew up with. I reconnected with it in some way and used that to write the lyrics to these songs. Having this narrative was so much more rich and vital, and it was so much more fun to write from the persona of these ghosts, these dead people, and the whimsical malevolence I could articulate through their voices. That felt really good and was very inspiring."
The singer-songwriter will perform in concert in Brooklyn Jan. 26 to celebrate the release of "Whisper House." Additional tour dates include Louisville, KY (Feb. 9); Austin, TX (Feb. 11); Fort Worth, TX (Feb. 12-13); McKinney, TX (Feb. 14); Mesa, AZ (Feb. 17); San Diego, CA (Feb. 18); Los Angeles, CA (Feb. 19); Santa Cruz, CA (Feb. 20); San Francisco, CA (Feb. 21); Brandon, OR (Feb. 25); Portland, OR (Feb. 26); Seattle, WA (Feb. 27); Tacoma, WA (Feb. 28); Cedar Rapids, IA (March 3); Minneapolis, MN (March 4); Madison, WI (March 5); Chicago, IL (March 6); Columbus, OH (March 7); Ann Arbor, MI (March 8); Londonderry, NH (March 11); Portland, ME (March 12); Boston, MA (March 13); Glenside, PA (March 14) and New York City (March 15). Sheik is joined on tour by original Spring Awakening star Lauren Pritchard.
Sheik will also be performing selections from "Whisper House" at Lincoln Triangle Barnes and Noble on Jan. 30 at 6 PM.
Sheik, who earned Tony Awards for his score and orchestrations on Spring Awakening, is also at work on the musicals The Nightingale and Nero with Tony-winning Spring Awakening collaborator Steven Sater.