Evan Way is stepping out with a new solo project, Evan Thomas Way & The Phasers. For 15 years, Way has fronted The Parson Red Heads, an Americana band formed by college friends in Eugene, based for a time in Los Angeles and now Portland, singing sun-kissed melodies over graceful folk-rock guitars. His new song, “Gone,” starts in familiar territory but takes flight with a warm and unexpected sax solo. It’s from the new album, “Long Distance,” a recording of songs that Way told us needed their own outlet.

“Over the years I would occasionally write a song that I felt wasn’t quite lining up with what the Parsons do, or were doing at that particular time … and I felt it would be an injustice to the songs to put them in that context. It seemed that they would be changed in a way. I even tried to record them as a true singer-songwriter solo album, a few times, but it always felt wrong. It wasn’t until the Phasers played time them a few nights at a residency I did here in Portland that the songs finally felt they were sounding the way they were supposed to – it just clicked, and we all knew we had to get in the studio and record them ASAP.”

Way’s bew band The Phasers includes guitarist and producer Raymond Richards, Adam Beam, and Alex Chapman, with additional players Michael Blake, Eric Earley and Ben Latimer.

“Gone” was one of the very last songs written and recorded for the album. I remember immediately thinking about how perfect it would be for my friend Ben Latimer to play sax on. He’s a genius musician, and I know he could translate the emotion of the song into an expressive solo, and sure enough – he went above and beyond my expectations. It’s a simple two chord song about lost love, but I think with the help of Ben’s playing and some choice Luna-inspired guitar work from Raymond, we were able to elevate it to something really special.”

“Long Distance” will be released May 3 on Portland label Lung Records.

Evan Thomas Way & The Phasers play May 3 at Music Millennium and May 6 at Mississippi Studios.