Dan Spaugy’s Short Takes

Short Takes82024034_3215704421791938_7875423866997178368_nToday’s Short Takes comes courtesy of guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Dan Spaugy (photo of Dan used with the kind permission of Holding It Still Photography).

To say that Dan is involved in several music projects here in Dayton is to actually under-represent his involvement in the Dayton music community. Dan is in Age Nowhere, Neo American Pioneers and is an often in-demand session player for other musicians’ records. Dan’s guitar work elevates any song her contributes to with his passionate yet deliberate playing style.

We appreciate Dan taking the time out of his busy schedule to share the music that is currently part of his listening journey with us!

Dr. J: What are you listening to right now?

The Wallflowers “Bringing Down The Horse” (1996)

Year after year, usually during the summer months, “Bringing Down the Horse” is a mainstay in my listening rotation.  Some of my earliest, most vivid memories were hearing “One Headlight” on pop radio stations and seeing the music video on MTV when I was around 10 years old.  Out of all the tunes on mainstream radio, this one always stood out to me- the lyrics, driving beat, and that beautiful whistling-sounding instrument which I would later discover was a Hammond B3 Organ through a Leslie Speaker.  I actually still listen to “One Headlight” on a weekly basis and it never loses its luster.  In my teenage years while learning guitar I picked up a used copy of this album on CD at CD Connection (Dayton people- remember?).  I truly feel that there is not a low moment on this album and every song is great, which is something that cannot be said about many albums.  It is safe to say I will continue to praise this as one of the best albums released in my lifetime.  

The Black Crowes “Before the Frost…Until the Freeze” (2009)

Recently I was out at a local show (finally!) and I had a conversation with a fellow Crowes fan. I don’t know if I had declared it out loud in the past, but in that moment I made up my mind to answer the loaded age old question that music fans always get-  “Who is your favorite band of all time?”  Now of course there are the Stones, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and Led Zeppelin, but having witnessed over half of the Black Crowes career unfold as a fan, I can safely come to the conclusion that they are my favorite Rock & Roll band of all time.  This double album was recorded live at Levon Helm’s barn in Woodstock.  The “Before the Frost” section of the album contains all things Crowes – the dual guitar work, Chris Robinson’s howling vocals, some long jams, and a couple of ballads that hit the sweet spot.  The second half “…Until the Freeze” showcases the depth of the Crowes musical influences.  The songs on this side of the record have a timeless feel and sensibility. I feel that this side of the album was a bit overlooked and would have been a strong contender for Roots/Americana music awards the year it was released.  My personal highlight of this album is the track “So Many Times,” which is a cover of a Chris Hillman penned tune for the Stephen Stills “Manassas”  project.  Chris and Rich deliver an intuitive brother vocal harmony performance that is reminiscent of the Louvin Brothers or Everly Brothers.  To top it off, guest multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell (Dylan, Phil Lesh, Levon Helm) delivers a beautiful pedal steel performance that sends this track to the next level. 

Erika Wennerstrom “Sweet Unknown” (2018)

There are so many great local albums that have come out over the last several years.  It would be hard not to leave someone out while writing this blog post so I have selected an album with a Dayton connection that has been in regular rotation. Erica Wennerstrom’s 2018 release “Sweet Unknown” often makes its way into my listening rounds. This album clocks in at almost an hour and nearly every song is over five minutes and all of them are wonderful. That is a lot to be said for me because nowadays albums with that long of a duration usually don’t hold my attention very well. For the guitarist in me this album features some of the most inspiring guitar work that I have heard in recent years. The songs are very atmospheric and contain many sonic layers.  It would be a goal of mine to make an album that had a fraction of these elements.  Seeing Erika and her band perform at Dayton Music Fest at the Brightside in 2019 was definitely a high point of my concert experiences for that year.

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Many thanks to Dan for sharing some of his musical journey with us!

If you would like to contribute to a future Short Takes essay, just let us know at drjytaa on gmail.com! Our contact us through this page. We would love to feature more artists and listeners of Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative!

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Kurt Lee Wheeler’s On Our Way

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Kurt Lee Wheeler melds rock and roll, alt-country, Americana and folk into something vibrant and captivating. The lyrics draw a picture of precarious life on the edge through no one’s fault. In the best tradition of storytellers who do not shy away from raw, challenging life experience, Wheeler explores what it means to lose no matter how hard you try. Wheeler comes from Cherokee County, Georgia. The son of a cattleman and homemaker, he is a self-taught guitar player who began experimenting with sound at an early age. Between his chores tending to cattle, playing sports and his school work, Wheeler recorded songs on any tape he could find whether it was reel to reel, cassette or 8-tracks.

‘On Our Way’ is a record of experience and life that explores sonic textures that move across genres. Equally at home with country, alt-country, bluegrass, folk and rock and roll, Wheeler weaves stories in a manner that regardless of your musical taste, you will enjoy that tale. And not to mention his cover of Billy Idol’s ‘Rebel Yell’ is worth the price of admission.

Take a moment and check out Wheeler’s music, social media, videos and more!

Video of the Day – girlpuppy – As Much As I Can

Atlanta, GA based musician Becca Harvey records under the moniker of girlpuppy. Her extended play ‘Swan’ comes out August 20, 2021 on Royal Mountain Records. The atmospheric jangle of ‘As Much As I Can‘ captures vulnerability within a captivating melody. The video, directed by Savannah Hughes, shows Harvey in unique locations singing the song.

girlpuppy begins touring at Riot Fest in Chicago, IL on September 17 with dates throughout October and early November.

Video of The Day – illuminati hotties – Pool Hopping

‘Pool Hopping’ the second recent sing from illuminati hotties (the first was “MMMOOOAAAAAYAYA” which came out in April) is from the forthcoming album ‘Let Me Do One More,’ expected on October 1 on Snack Shack Tracks/Hopeless Records. The video by Katie Neuhof shows Sarah Tudzin in pools with and without water. The lyrics and the video capture a free sense of summer fun. The band is a side project of producer, engineer, mixer Tudzin.

Larry Evans’s Short Takes

Short Takes20861905_10155163938436032_8287770607918622248_oToday’s Short Takes comes courtesy of Dayton musician, bass player and writer Larry Evans.

Larry was part of the Dayton-based punk musical force Lurchbox. You can hear some Lurchbox on their Soundcloud page! And we recommend that you do so!

He has been in several projects including Smug Brothers, Goodnight Goodnight as well as playing in The Last Waltz tribute project, contributing bass to the most recent DirtyClean album among other works! In this brief essay, Larry explores the influences, deep cuts and journey of rediscovery that have shaped his recent musical experiences. It is a real pleasure to have Larry share the music and songs that he has been enjoying with us. 

221456_419792818062825_117903429_oDr. J: What are you listening to right now?

Larry: I’ll never claim to have the weirdest preferences in music, or that my edgy taste will “blow your mind” (someone actually told me that, and they – sadly – didn’t). In conversations with other musicians over the years (and in reading through the submissions so ingeniously curated by Dr. J), I am humbled to learn that we all have our diverse reserves of “deep cuts” that have inspired and shaped us. I have been excited to discover the insights of some of my friends and heroes here, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share some inspirations and discoveries of my own as well.

I have to start with an artist who was an early influence on my musical taste and pop instincts, and while I was a child when The Beatles were literally changing the world with their music, I came of age in my teens listening to artists who used the freshly-plowed musical landscape to nurture their inspired reactions to that revolution. So while Jeff Lynn’s tenure with the Electric Light Orchestra furthered the hook-laden, R&B/symphonic-inspired path The Beatles had ended on, a listen to his earlier work shows that he was on the same path all along, and responding in real time. Even before his time with psychedelic pop innovators The Move, Lynn’s work with The Idle Race in the late 60s displayed every bit of the playful creativity and gift for melody that would later become his hallmark. “I Like My Toys” is a perfect example of the tunesmithing that showed the Fab Four hadn’t cornered the market on stunning, seemingly effortless pop.

A lot of what I’ve been listening to lately has been a revisit to an era that I sort of skipped; while I was sold on Industrial groups like Ministry and Nine Inch Nails, I didn’t stray far from that (relatively) mainstream path. So over the years, I’ve been delving into bands I overlooked, like the legendary Killing Joke (who I could devote page after page to), Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, KMFDM, and most recently, Front Line Assembly. Because Bill Leeb had originally been in Skinny Puppy (and I was never really into their sparse take on the genre), I didn’t pay much attention but I recently stumbled across 1992’s “Tactical Neural Implant” and it opened up a whole new world for me. Still relatively minimalist from a melodic standpoint, it brings a broad range of rhythms and synthesizer textures that make me wonder what the last 30 years would have been like if I’d discovered this back then.

I also have to mention that Dayton’s own Hexadiode continues under the same electronic/industrial banner, while bringing their own darkness, passion, and inventiveness into the mix. A band whose musicality and ferociousness couldn’t really (for me) be comfortably categorized under “post-hardcore” (too progressive for punk, too jazz for metal, too melodic for industrial), was Canada’s Nomeansno, and I was fortunate to discover them at a live show in the late 80’s when band founder Rob Wright was already older than most of their contemporaries: I thought he was the band’s dad or something. But then I had my face joyfully torn off that night, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Before retiring in 2016, they recorded 10 studio albums, and there were EP’s, bootlegs, a live album, and a collaboration with Jello Biafra, but 1989’s WRONG has become my favorite.

CocteauTwins.BlueBellKnoll.lpOn the emotionally polar opposite of post-hardcore is another genre that’s also consumed me off and on over the last 20-30 years: Shoegaze. I was never a fan of My Bloody Valentine (which isn’t a popular claim to stake among other shoegaze fans), and while their 1991 “Loveless” is often credited as making them pioneers of the form, I was much more drawn to melodies, as opposed to experimentation with raw noise. The Cocteau Twins’ delicate “Blue Bell Knoll” from a few years earlier in 1988 I consider a precursor, but Slowdive’s “Souvlaki” in 1993 was the defining moment for me (I also have to mention the band Ride, although at the time in the 90’s, they slipped by me altogether). A more recent (2003) entry, however, is from Andrew Saks’s project Sway, employing walls of sound thicker and more layered than anything Phil Spector could have dreamed of, and while some tracks from “The Millia Pink and Green” EP drift into MBV territory and overwhelm you with their sonic spectacle, the haunting, gorgeous track “Fall” makes it all worth the price of admission. Continue reading

Video of the Day: The Connells – Really Great

The Connells have not released new music since 2001’s Old School Dropouts. That now changes! The band has just announced their new album Steadman’s Wake out September 24th on Black Park Records! The new record was recorded at Overdub Lane and Mitch Easter’s Fidelitorium studio. The record was produced by John Plymale (a founding member of the Chapel Hill, NC band The Pressure Boys in 1981 as well as a founding member of The Sex Police in 1989).

The new record can be pre-ordered in several forms: digital, vinyl, and CD on the group’s bandcamp! You can also listen to ‘Really Great’ from any service where you get your music from Missing Piece.

The band has been playing some of the new songs in concert for the past few years whetting the appetites of Connells fans. The new album includes eight new songs (‘Really Great’, ‘Fading In (Hardy)’, ‘Steadman’s Wake’, ‘Song for Duncan’, ‘Burial Art,’ (which features Mike Connell on lead vocals) ‘Universal Glue’ ‘Stars’ and ‘Helium’) and three re-recorded versions of ‘Gladiator Heart,’ ‘Rusted Fields,’ and ‘Hello Walter’ (which also features Mike on lead vocals) from the previous album ‘Old School Dropouts’.

The Connells have also made their 1985 debut Darker Days available on all streaming services and on bandcamp. Give it a listen! And get ready for September 24th by checking the band out on tour!

Video of The Day: The Connells - Really Great

New Show Today!

Hello There music lovers!

Today on Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative with Dr. J we feature new music from The Darling Suns, Lavender Honey, Cricketbows, illuminati hotties, Pat Byrne, Izzy True (see our video of the day!), Oh Condor, The Revelries, Jayne Sachs, The Connells, Hiss Golden Messenger, Phil Yates & The Affiliates, Cold War Kids, Thrasher Cadillac, Paul Westerberg, True Lies, On The Runway and many more! And if that was not enough musical goodness, the show will kick off with new music from Dayton, Ohio’s own Neo American Pioneers. They have a new record ‘Into the Deep‘ coming out in July from the fine folks at Magnaphone Records!

Join Dr. J from 3-6pm on WUDR Flyer Radio! And if you cannot listen to the live show, check out our Mixcloud page! Remember that you can always reach out to us on twitter at drjytaa with your requests and suggestions!

As always: Support Your Local Music Scene!

Video of the Day: Izzy True – You’re Mad at Me

Our video of the day comes courtesy of Izzy True (they/them) The band formed in upstate New York in 2015, currently based in Chicago, IL. The project has gone through many lineups over the years, always led by Izzy Reidy (guitar, vocals). These days, Reidy is joined by their friends Sam Goldstein (drums) and Curtis Oren (bass, sax, flute). The slow buildup of this song captures a feeling and sensibility around trying to understand the reasons that someone is upset. The music sways and swirls around that idea of wanting to know the reason that someone is angry.

11 Questions with… Chad Wells

101714517_10163801825875154_1076073664824213504_nWe could not be more excited about an ’11 Questions with…’ column, then we are to have songwriter, guitarist, singer, visual artist, philosopher, tattoo artist/business owner and Revered — Chad Wells! He graciously answered these questions a few months ago. To call Chad a renaissance man is to understate all of his gifts. As with all of the musicians who are so kind to participate in this effort, we want to publicly thank him for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions!

Chad has a lengthy music resume. His time in COH, The Jackalopes, Cricketbows, Wells & Watson and more has given him the opportunity to make some of the most creative atmospheric psychedelic punk rock this side of… well, to be honest these projects are incredibly unique and comparisons just end up showing that the writer’s reach exceeds their grasp.

We have been fans of Cricketbows since their fantastic album, ‘Diamonds‘. That record careens across classic rock to country to an excellent Monkees cover (Porpoise Song) to straight-forward rock and roll (All the Way Down and Kiss Alive) to psychedelic rock (Little Tiny Houses and Landing on The Moon) and tremendous emotional territory in-between all of those genres. Chad’s music has evolved over time from in your face, direct punk made with an eye toward embracing the emotions you are feeling to reflective psychedelia and folk rock in the Wells & Watson duo. And unlike this writer, Revered Wells’ reach is easily within his orbit.

GEA - dr j guest lecturer finals-13If you do not know the music of Cricketbows then I am excited for you! There is significant music discovery in your future. What started as a solo project transformed over several records into a full band. In fact, the excellent ‘Diamonds‘ which was recorded in 2014 with Grammy winning Producer Brian Olive (Soledad Brothers, The Greenhornes) was the first full length record as a complete group released in 2015. The following EP ‘Communion‘ incorporated pop music intro the band’s repertoire in songs like ‘Beat of My Heart‘. During the challenging year of the pandemic, Chad was even able to create a set of dystopian electronic singles under the moniker New Way Vendetta. Check out the 80’s homage in ‘Light as a Feather.’

197532652_1256634581459071_4922346402199669240_nThe latest Cricketbows album ‘Raised on Rock and Roll‘ raises the stakes higher. While maintaining the sonic elements of their previous recordings, ‘Raised‘ questions the nature of connections that we all too often take for granted. What is it to speak like ‘Electric Guitars’ as Chad sings in the title track? What does it mean to pretend that you care for others when you really do not (‘Saccharine Sweet‘). Remember when you would listen to music when you were supposed to go to sleep but the thrill of discovery kept you awake? The song ‘Raised on Rock and Roll‘ explores the consciousness shaping experience of hearing music that is part of your identity for the first time. Not putting on the cast off identity of your parents and family, but a sense of who you are in music that is not reducible to what others around you are doing. This is so powerful for those of us who had to work to discover music in the pre-Internet era. Even if that experience occurred under the covers when you were supposed to be sleeping. And now when we can hear almost anything at any time in any place, finding music you can call your own is just as life affirming.

Shaped not only by the pandemic but the search for the most captivating melody while still holding the idea of experimentation in their hearts, Cricketbows capture the challenges of identity, social bonds, the faces we show to others and the faces that make us who we truly are as people, as citizens, as family.

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Dr. J: What can you share with us about when and how you started writing your latest Cricketbows record?

Chad Wells (CW): We started writing the songs that would become the new Cricketbows record around the same time that our ‘Communion‘ EP came out (Fall 2017). I’m kind of always writing and to collect my ideas, I use everything from quick iPhone video and audio recordings, to scraps of paper and napkins. Generally, these ideas make their way to the band slowly – a song at a time – and we work them up in rehearsal, play them live for a while and eventually we feel like we have enough material to record an album and we go do that. In this case, Zachary Gabbard of The Buffalo Killers had Produced our EP ‘Communion and almost as soon as that collection was released, he called us back to the studio to start working on the next release before we had even had time to start really working on any new material. So, the songs for “Raised On Rock And Roll” were culled from existing demos I had laying around in various states of non-completion and we also chose a couple songs that we had been playing live for some time that I had released as Cricketbows before the band really existed. We went into the studio at Howler Hills (Gabbard’s studio) but the sessions didn’t end up on the final album because the songs just didn’t feel like they were fully together yet. So we took the songs on the road, playing as many shows as we could and we continued reworking the demos in our rehearsal space and we hammered them into shape. Once we finally had a tight set of songs together, we went into the Candyland Recording Studio in Dayton, Kentucky and laid down the tracks that would become the album.

Dr. J: In the past you worked closely with your bandmates in Cricketbows, did the coronavirus/Covid-19 situation change how you wrote and worked on the record?

CW: The record was fully written and recorded prior to the Pandemic so it didn’t really affect the writing or production of the album. It did monumentally delay the release of the album and the mixing process had to be done remotely. Whereas in the past we would sit in on mixing sessions with an engineer and sort of have our hands on the board and our suggestions acted upon in real time, in this case we would get mixes from Mike Montgomery  via email, listen and send him back notes about what to turn up, what to turn down, what to EQ differently and things like that.

Dr. J: ‘Raised on Rock and Roll is a song that lists several artists, albums and lyrical imagery from several classic rock and roll songs, did you set out to address these particular artists/musicians/creatives when starting to work on that song?

198296616_331569131788983_7778535060744588242_nCW: I definitely didn’t start with a list or motive to include all of those specific artists, songs or albums. I had the first line “I speak electric guitar, in fire orange and bright blue” which was a nod to the fact that Aarika and I both suffer from or are gifted with a bit of Synesthesia – a condition where sounds may be experienced in the brain as a color or shape or taste instead of just as sound. From  there, I wanted to expand on that line in a direction that talked about how my mind works the way it does because I was raised in a world where Rock And Roll music was not just a backdrop to life, but was an important element of life. We weren’t religious really and we weren’t sports or military people. Everything that a so-called “normal” person might get from those family traditions and lifestyles, I got from Rock And Roll – so I tried to touch on some of the cornerstones and recurring images and symbols of that part of my upbringing. So I reference the “lightning” of “Elvis and Bowie and Frehley” as well as referring to The Beatles as the “Saints” I say prayers to along with nods to everything from Fats Domino to Pink Floyd.

Dr. J: ‘Kentucky Mountain Lady also addresses love and personal connection – is that a correct interpretation of some of the lyrics and the feel of the song? In addition, if that is correct, did you intend to address love or did the song evolve in that direction over time?

CW: I wrote that song after a road trip down to Menifee County, Kentucky with my wife and my Father to visit the final resting place of my Grandfather, Bethard Wells. While we were there, we drove around the area where my paternal Grandparents grew up. The smells of those woods and the beautiful fog filled hollows between the hills and mountains was extremely inspiring to me and left me with a yearning to get back there. I imagined a world where my wife and I could live and love and survive on the fruits of what that land provides. I tried to paint a pretty straightforward picture of that magical area and how the environment itself could be a sort of rural utopia perfectly suited to living a life with someone you love outside the rat race of the city.

Dr. J: How did ‘Kentucky Mountain Lady come together musically for you?

CW: I tend to play with a few alternate tunings and one of my favorites is called “open G”. When a player that’s used to playing in standard tunings, sets their instrument up in an alternate tuning, they tend to find and unlock creative ideas that they wouldn’t necessarily stumble upon in the standard tuning. Chord shapes are different and note relationships between the strings are different.  So I had stumbled across these very jazzy, warm chords that ended up being the verse chords of the song. Open G lends itself to a very country, bluesy, rural folk sound so the sound of the tuning and playing around with different droning patterns with moving melodic patterns was the perfect bed for the song. In hindsight I hear a lot of Joni Mitchell influence in the song and music and it also feels very similar to “Echoes” by Pink Floyd – as does our song “Raggedy Hillside” which is also in Open G.  I think that the experiments with Americana style music by Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Crosby, Stills And Nash and groups like that have always been some of my favorite music but I rarely wrote anything in that style until Cricketbows came together and we just sort of drifted into that kind of sound together as a band when we started using less distortion and effects and started playing a lot more acoustic music and using very clean sounds.

a0037514624_10Dr. J: Where do you often derive inspiration to make music?

CW: My inspiration to create is compulsive. I communicate better with lyrics and sound than I do just trying to talk. I listen to a ton of music and when I hear something that gives me an emotional response, I am often inspired to try to recreate that response myself with my own music. I’m not talented enough as a player to just learn someone else’s song and get the emotional response that way, so I experiment and fiddle about until I find things that speak to me. Also, playing with the players in Cricketbows is so inspirational. I can play two notes and everyone will join in and play along and expand a song into new territories through improvisation that is really amazing. The average listener, just happening upon one of our jam sessions would believe that we had written and rehearsed something a million times because it’s so cohesively fluid – but in reality we are probably playing the thing for the first time.

Dr. J: How would you describe the music that you typically create? How has that process evolved or changed over time (especially as you think about your journey from ‘Diamonds’ to the ‘Communion’ EP to the most recent album)?

CW: Cricketbows has always been about being honest. My previous bands were always sort of me playing a character or a role that is about the theme of the band. In Cricketbows I found a place where I could write from my heart and soul and not worry about what the audience might think. As we’ve progressed as a group, I think that we’re developing a sound that is pretty hard to pin down but it’s also extremely recognizable in some way. Our disparate influences come together to form something that’s all at once new and exciting but is also steeped in the traditions of what I can only call “Classic Rock”. Cricketbows is psychedelic but we tend to stray away from the trappings of typical psychedelia. We’re not using silly voices and effects that sound like we’re other-dimensional ghosts. We’re not using a bunch of effects that make the guitars go “WAHWAHWAHWAHWAH”. We’re using ultra clean signals and real voices with minimal effects. It is far more relative to early Elton John, Blind Faith, Eric Clapton and Fleetwood Mac than it is to MGMT. or King Gizzard or whatever modern psych is. I guess in the simplest terms, we’re more like “The White Album” than we are like “Sgt. Peppers”.

Dr. J: What is next for you musically? How would you describe your thoughts at this point for your next project after ‘Raised on Rock and Roll‘?

198345642_792918058089540_3023201045980744783_nCW: I have no idea how we’re going to move forward with a new record in the current state of the world. I hope that vaccines work and that we’re eventually able to be in a room together again. If not, it’s going to be some interesting home recording stuff. We have been playing around with some cover songs recorded remotely. We released a Black Crowes (“Good Friday”) cover back around the beginning of the Pandemic and lockdowns and it was pretty fun and interesting. We have a couple others in the can that we may or may not release. One is a cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now” that is pretty fun. Side projects are also a thing. Aarika and I do a couple different projects together that work well as far as remote recording and things like that – New Way Vendetta, a new-wave influenced electro-punk band and Wells & Watson – a darker Americana themed acoustic project. We have plans to release a bunch of stuff under a bunch of different names in the near future. As for Cricketbows, we’ll just be patient and see where it all goes.

Dr. J: What is your favorite song to perform? What makes it a current favorite in your performances?

CW: “Ride Or Die” from the new album is my favorite to perform as it has a country-gospel intro with lots of harmony and prettiness and then kicks into a beefed up glam punk song that is a really strong, tight rock song.

Dr. J: What is one message you would hope that listeners find in the unique nature of your latest music?

CW:  I think this new music is about honesty and love. Be true and do love stuff!

Dr. J: As a musician, how are you adapting to the challenges of the Coronavirus?

CW: It’s very hard. It’s hard to watch the people who are out trying to play shows and do stuff as if Coronavirus is not happening – or as if it’s worth the risk. We haven’t been in a room together as a band during this whole thing. We haven’t played a note in the same room together as a band in over a year now but I sit at home and watch all kinds of people who are still cramming into studios and onto stages together. I know how little these players get paid to perform. I know how few people are coming out to see them play. Music is my life to the degree that I’ve risked everything to do it. Gone broke trying to do it. Passed on jobs and money and all kinds of opportunities to do other things because the music was more important than anything else. But I’ve seen what the virus has done to friends and members of my family who got it – and if my music was responsible for one single Coronavirus case it would absolutely destroy me. People who are playing shows will say that they’re being careful, but what about the people who might come to your show that aren’t being careful?

So here we sit, not playing any album release shows. Not booking anything for the future and hoping that it’ll all go away. In the meantime, I’m trying to use the time constructively. I’ve learned new recording programs, I’ve learned to do animation that we use in our videos and I’ve focused on a lot of the behind the scenes, nuts and bolts parts of our online presence and band management stuff that usually gets overlooked.

You can follow Chad Wells and Cricketbows on various social media including:

Facebook     Twitter at @cricketbows     Instagram at Cricketbows

Spotify    Bandcamp     YouTube at CricketbowsOfficial

YTAA MonsterWe want to extend our sincere gratitude to Revered Wells for answering our questions and continuing to make some really excellent music! Click on the links throughout the article to visit Cricketbows’ Bandcamp page! If any musicians or artists would like to participate in future ’11 Questions’ columns, please feel free to email us at drjytaa@gmail.com. All photos and images courtesy of Chad Wells and Gabrielle Elizabeth Studios photography.

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Video of The Day: Oh Condor – Colors Collapse

Our fine city of Dayton, Ohio, US not only has a storied history of music with Brainiac, The Breeders, Guided By Voices, Shrug not to mention all of the funk music legends, but it is also home to some of the most exciting music being made today! Adding to that musical legacy is Oh Condor. The post-punk quartet has an exciting new record for you! Equal parts indie, noise rock, math rock, alternative — this is a band that quite rightly defies labels.

Out since May 21, Emergency Psychic is the band’s first Blind Rage Records release and the group’s most recent since 2012’s Reflector. We encourage you to take a trip through the band’s catalog.

You can read about the song courtesy of the fine folks at Punk Rock Theory!

You can follow Oh Condor on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

11 Questions with… Jeffrey Dean Foster

101714517_10163801825875154_1076073664824213504_nIn our latest installment of ’11 Questions with…’ column, we are excited to feature Jeffrey Dean Foster. We reached out to him a few months ago with 11 questions for this column. He is a gifted songwriter, singer, guitarist and more. We want to publicly thank him for taking the time out of his schedule to answer these questions for us here at YTAA!

Jeffrey has been making some of the most thoughtful and energetic  music being made anywhere over four decades. His music encompasses a compassion that is direct and reflective. Jeffrey is able to create rock, folk, alt-country among other genres that feels inviting and invigorating. His touch with a lyric demonstrates both his fresh insight and a call for recognizing the connection and community that we all have a place we can call home together. Add the swirl of electric guitars, bass, drums and keyboards to the mix and then the music feels like an invocation!

518c4deebc145.imageJeffrey Dean Foster has been making music in a prestigious list of bands for quite some time: The Right Profile, The Carneys and The Pinetops are on his resume! He has had an active solo career as well. The Right Profile was sought after and signed by Clive Davis for Arista Records. In these groups and in his solo work, he has created music that tells stories about the social bonds that hold us together even when we do not feel that comfort. His latest record, ‘I’m Starting to Bleed’ is being released on vinyl this weekend for Record Store Day (on Saturday, June 12 this year). All proceeds from vinyl sales will go to support The Shalom Project based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina – an organization that supports families in need. Chris Stamey, The Veldt and The Backsliders are all releasing EPs for The Shalom Project as well. On July 30th ‘I’m Starting To Bleed’ will be made available on CD and on all streaming platforms.

173672123_5328147950588488_6160351963110197999_n‘I’m Starting To Bleed’ channels an inner dialogue over how to combat cruelty and a loss of compassion. Like so many of us, Jeffrey Dean Foster watched the social protests following George Floyd’s murder and he felt the need to respond to the inhumanity and hostility of that senseless death. ‘I’m Starting To Bleed’ is a musical response to that loss. While wide-eyed and recognizing the challenge in creating change and reimagining healthy communities, the songs on this record move between an almost pastoral, agrarian feel to passionate Big Star and Kinks influenced rock and roll. Several of the songs, while hopeful, carry the weight of the difficult worlds we find ourselves challenged to change and remake.

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Dr. J: What can you share with us about when and how you started writing your latest music?

Jeffrey Dean Foster (JDF): I never really stopped writing but this past pandemic year did give me some impetus to focus a few things. Having the world kind of stop and be still had it’s good points.

Dr. J: You worked closely with Don Dixon and Mitch Easter, what led to your recording with them?

JFD:  I’ve known them for 35 years. Dixon was one of the first “rock stars” that would talk to me when I’d go see his totally rocking band Arrogance. They had really great songs AND they were gloriously loud in the clubs. Mitch produced the very first record that I ever made around 1982. Since then Mitch and Don have been involved in almost every record I’ve ever made in one form or another. Dixon produced a tape that ultimately got my first band [The Right Profile] signed to Arista Records. Mitch has mixed my last two albums (‘Million Star Hotel’ and ‘The Arrow’) They are just trusted friends that I can call on for musical or life advice.

Dr. J: Tell Somebody is a personal favorite, so I am naturally curious about it. The song is compelling and driving musically. The lyrics seem very optimistic. Did you set out to write a song about human connection when starting to work on that song?

JDF: I think I was alone at home one night and some fave musician had just died. That of course is going to keep happening with more and more frequency as time marches on. My last album The Arrow seemed to have a lot to do with mortality and we lost a lot of friends in the years leading up to it. Most of Tell Somebody came really quickly as just a wake up call to reach out to your pals  and loved ones before you can’t.

Dr. J: Headin’ Home also addresses other connection and the comfort of home – is that a correct interpretation of some of the lyrics and feel of the song? In addition, if that is correct, did you intend to address connection, love, and community or did the song evolve in that direction over time?

JFD: Headin’ Home was definitely a product of the pandemic lock down way of life.  I just started playing and singing about homebound snapshots.  It’s a bit of a laugh. I recorded it all real quick and then made an entire video on my iPhone in several hours. It was pretty tossed off but it kind of inspired me to see that I could do that, record something at home that folks might wanna hear.

Dr. J: How did the ‘I’m Starting To Bleed’ record come together musically for you?

JDF: After week after week of police brutality last spring and summer I wanted to get something out of me. I didn’t know if anyone would ever hear it or even if they should hear what a white singer songwriter had to say about any part of the black experience. I thought a lot about that and almost thought that it shouldn’t see the light of day. After talking to some friends I came to terms with it. Michael Kurtz from Record Store Day heard the song and came back with the idea of putting it out as a vinyl EP for Record Store Day. We decided that it would be a benefit for The Shalom Project where I work. I help run a free medical clinic, food pantry and clothing closet there. We even talked some of my other NC friends into contributing an EP for the cause. My old friend Tabitha Soren of MTV News fame had the perfect photo for the album cover too.

IMG_6910Dr. J: Where do you often derive inspiration to make music?

JDF: I live out in the woods on a lake and every window I look out shows me some kind of nature and wildlife. I don’t end up writing songs about that wildlife but I think it makes me feel part of something larger than me. A lot of my songs can be pretty internal and puzzling and I like that. The songs that are making up the ‘I’m Starting to Bleed’ record are probably the most straightforward and external that I’ve written. More outward looking than inward.

Dr. J: How would you describe the music that you typically create? How has that process evolved or changed over time (especially as you think about your journey from ‘I’m Starting To Bleed’)?

JDF: I’m not the one to tell you much about the songs that I come up with. I’ve think people that I like write songs because they can’t talk about the ideas or emotions in them. I’m totally fine with art not spelling things out for me, whether it’s Bob Dylan or David Lynch.  I’ll tell you one bit of trivia though. When I was writing and recording I’m Starting to Bleed I wanted something almost like a Smokey Robinson song but with a healthy shadow of dread. Of course, I can’t come anywhere close to Smokey but that was something to shoot for.

Dr. J: What is next for you musically? How would you describe your thoughts at this point for your next project after I’m Starting To Bleed? You can read an early review from The Big Takeover.

JDF: I have some other tracks already mixed and I’d like to finish a few more and make a new full length JDF album. ‘I’m Starting to Bleed’ feels like a kind of special record. Everything about it could have only happened in this weird time of 2020/2021.

Dr. J: What is your favorite song to perform? What makes it a current favorite in your performances?

JDF: Well nobody is performing much these days. I have a song called ‘So Lonesome I Could Fly’ that I’ve probably played more than any other. It’s had a full life, from being covered by Marti Jones to being included in the soundtrack to the Ang Lee film ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’  I still don’t get tired of playing it.

Dr. J: What is one message you would hope that listeners find in the unique nature of your latest music?

JDF: Any message that listeners can tune into is fine with me. If they feel anything, you’ve succeeded in some way. I just know that music that affected me during my life just got under my skin and now is just part of me. I mean ‘Waterloo Sunset’ by The Kinks might as well be tattooed on me. It’s that much a part of me.

Dr. J: As a musician, how are you adapting to the challenges of the Coronavirus?

JDF: I’ve done some streaming shows that some very professional and careful people having arranged. Playing on good looking stages and filming and recording the happening and then beaming it out to the internet. I have no desire to try and take some dumb shortcut and try and get folks packed into a club scene. I’m comfortable out here in the woods too!

You can follow Jeffery Dean Foster on various social media including:

Facebook     Twitter at @songboyfoster     Instagram at JeffreyDeanFoster

Spotify    Bandcamp     YouTube

YTAA MonsterWe want to extend our sincere gratitude to Jeffrey for answering our questions and continuing to make some really excellent music! Click on the links throughout the article to visit Jeffrey’s Bandcamp page! If any musicians or artists would like to participate in future ’11 Questions’ columns, please feel free to email us at drjytaa@gmail.com. All photos and images courtesy of Jeffrey Dean Foster.

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