YTAA Recommends: Nicholas Johnson – Back Upstate

Ever hear a record that you did not know anything about and were completely surprised, enamored and then drawn into a new musical world? Well, that has happened to us here at YTAA.

We are currently listening to the new record from Nicholas Johnson and to say that we are impressed is an example of classic understatement! The music he makes sways from sounding like Whiskeytown (‘Come Around’), smooth LA sounds of the ‘70s (‘I’m a Ghost’, Night Ride’) to rocking like a midwestern Lucero (‘Lonely Girl’), the story closes on a bluesy swirl about getting out and embracing experience (‘Nashville’). The record explores a music space that is reminiscent of the past and stands squarely in the present. For us the standout track is the shimmering vulnerability of ‘Sinner’

‘Sinner’ is a powerful, convincing and decisive tune. If you hear that song and do not feel the naked emotion, then you have some work to do. This song captures heartache, emotion and the soul ache that is part of living. In addition, the backing vocals from the always stellar Amber Hargett are just simply perfect and compliment the contemplative delivery of Johnson. Their voices together elevate the song. When Johnson sings: “I’m a sinner, ’cause I hate myself, I’m a sinner because I want to be” — you feel it because the Ryan Adams like patience in Johnson’s delivery makes it matter, you have felt this way too. You may not want to embrace your brokenness but it is there inside us all, just the same.

We would not be doing our job if we did not complement Rich Reuter’s production on this album which allows each song to shine on its own and as part of the collection. Reuter is a musical chameleon on this record playing guitar, bass, lap steel, mandolin, keyboards, drum programming, background vocals and percussion in addition to producing, engineering and mixing the songs. We have no doubt that the gathering of musicians who worked with Johnson on this record including some powerhouse alums of the Dayton Music Scene Khrys Blank, Jenna De Gruy, Amber Hargett, Patrick Himes, Eric Reith, Sara Gomes and Rob Spahr who all share a musical companionship and vision. Johnson not only has ties to the Dayton area but also has interesting stories from being a touring musician in Italy and throughout Europe. Some of those connections are demonstrated through the contributions of Lorenzo Testa on banjo and Lorena Vezzaro on violin.

Johnson draws on his music and storytelling influences while showcasing his unique focus on the textures of each song. While the songs stand on their own, the assembled music together paints a narrative that is relatable and meaningful. This approach should occur far more often than it does in music. And Johnsons voice is perfectly authentic as he sings across forms and styles in this incredibly catchy collection about human foibles and insecurities without sounding downtrodden.

Nicholas Johnson has crafted a fantastic record that has strong Dayton Music Scene connections both behind and in front of the microphone. Our compliments to Ninja Jam Records. Get this record! Get it right away!

New Show Today!

Hello There Music Friends,

Today on Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative we have new music from Kurt Lee Wheeler, The Lighthouse and the Whaler, Cat Ridgeway, Jason Matu, Chapell, Rise Against, Ghost Hounds, Bat Fangs, Moviola, The Color Fred, On the Runway, Oh Condor and much more.

This week we will be spotlighting several artists such as The Grief Brothers, Peter Hall, Burning Ferns and Bandicoot who are on the V4Velindre charity mixtape created by Kevin McGrath! We will be playing a #rearviewfrontview set of songs from The Connells. As well as discussing what it means to go to a music show in 2021.

So, join Dr. J & Flower for YTAA over at Flyer Radio

New Show Today on http://listen.streamon.fm/wudr

Video of The Day: The Typical Johnsons – Optimistic Nihilism

The first single from The Typical Johnsons‘ December release is here now. And what a welcome return this is for us music fans. Choosing an advance single is always tricky work. As they always do, The Typical Johnsons have chosen well. ‘Optimistic Nihilism’ works that magic space that all Typically Johnson songs inhabit. It’s real. It brings you along to face the fact that you may be your own worst enemy and that is ok because understanding that is part of how you change it. We cannot wait for the full album!

This is also the first song we will play on the program today! Remember to tune in from 3-6pm eastern time so set the ‘ol clocks. Listen online at http://listen.streamon.fm/wudr

V4Velindre: A Collection with Heart and Purpose

Our good friend, journalist, music fan and writer Kevin McGrath has curated an amazing collection of alternative and independent music that includes some of our favorite musicians from his native Wales and beyond. What started as a few tracks continued to develop and grow into a vast mixtape like experience of compelling music that makes for hours of sonic adventures. The project grew to include 50 songs! The word impressive does not do this initiative justice.

This collection is not only an ambitious songscape but it is a project with heart. The proceeds for this initiative is a thoughtful effort to raise funds of the Velindre Cancer Center in Cardiff, Wales where McGrath himself received care for his own challenge with cancer. Money generated from the sale of this ‘Charity Mixtape’ are also being shared with the UK’s National Health Service which has been involved in a heroic struggle with the Covid-19 virus which claimed nearly 900 employees in that fight. In true community spirit, McGrath’s music collection draws attention to bands and musicians that we would all do well to explore in more detail and at the same time raise funds for a cutting edge cancer treatment center.

The music on this compilation includes newly recorded songs as well as music that has been out for a time. There are also some incredible reworkings of past music. When McGrath began contacting musicians for possible inclusion in this effort, he was overwhelmed with positive responses far exceeding his expectations. Community is built through commitment, involvement, attachment and demonstration of shared beliefs and this collection draws upon all of those characteristics of healthy community creation.

The music in this compilation includes several genres that we appreciate here at Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative such as folk/singer songwriter (Jodie Marie), catchy indie (The Grief Brothers, Bandicoot), indie rock (Walter Etc. – one of the few American bands to be included), lo fi (Armstrong), thoughtful melodic pop (Super 8), punk (Turin), surf rock (Eggs on Mars), orchestral pop (the criminally underappreciated Peter Hall) and rock and roll (Burning Furns, oh let’s just be honest and say… far too many artists to mention here).

John Harris, who we all should know called the collection a ‘brilliant, lovingly compiled album that showcases a lot of superb new music from Wales’. Pete Paphides (The Times, Mojo) labelled this musical experience ‘a magnificent anthology’ and The Welsh Music Podcast claimed it as a ‘Who’s who of Welsh Music’. There have been a variety of celebrity endorsements from Billy Bragg, Andrew Collins and Ian Rankin.

More details can be found on McGrath’s excellent blog, RedSoapBox.

Or better yet, purchase a copy of this fantastic collection at the bandcamp page for the project and support this effort.

Lisa Gain’s Short Takes

Short TakesToday’s Short Takes arrives from the pen of singer, guitarist Lisa Gain of Lisa Gain & The Rusty Silos. She has a new song ‘Run’ featuring Tino and Erin Coburn. The song is a Columbus – Dayton – Cincinnati “Ohio Super Collab” and will be released on August 27th!2020-03-03 17.40.08-2

Lisa’s powerful voice captures such raw and stark emotion that to experience her music is to be transported into a space where we reflect on the decisions we and others make everyday. Her arrangements vary from Americana, folk, rock, country and beyond. The songs paint a picture on the emotional canvas.

We greatly appreciate Lisa taking the time out of her busy schedule to share the music that she is listening to right now with us.

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

I have always been a true lover and supporter of local Ohio music! I’m blown away by someone every time I get to go out and see live music in Ohio! So I am proud to say that the majority of my digital music library is currently music by Ohio musicians. Many of whom I’ve been fortunate to meet over the years. Ohio is chock full of talent! So before I get to the local musicians I’ve been jamming to lately, I’ll start with the much more widely known artist Suzanne Vega and her hit song “Luka” from 1987. I was only 10 years old when this song came out. All I knew was it was a nice happy tune that I found to be very catchy and enjoyed hearing on the radio as a child. Once I started playing coffee shops back in the mid 90’s I decided to add “Luka” to my setlist. Almost 10 years later hearing the song again, learning those lyrics it hit me that whoa this tune was really heavy! The story is way heavier than the sound. Suzanne Vega has some great more recent slower acoustic versions of this on youtube that are more fitting to the mood and I prefer those versions over the original recording now. Unfortunately there are a lot of Luka’s out there so the subject of domestic abuse is still relevant 34 years later and sadly it will always be a subject that should be spoken about and acknowledged.

My second recent jam is provided by Dayton’s Rap Artist TINO! (P.S. I’m SOOO Excited about our collaboration that will be coming out soon “Run”!!! I am not worthy!). His EP “Past Due” that he put out during the pandemic (May 2020) is great! One of the reasons I reached out to Tino and asked him to work with me is because in my opinion he has that old school 90’s sound that I always loved! I think some of the best rap music came out of that era and he takes me back to that time! His opening track “You know” is a great example of that. Nice catchy hook and you will know it’s TINO-O! His track “95 Tribe” really takes me back since I graduated High School in 95′. It’s always nice when you have a personal connection to a song. Even if it may mean something different to us the listener sometimes than what it means to the artist who wrote it. If you buy the EP you will get his bonus track “Summertime” which is one of my favorite tracks on the EP and it’s PERFECT for this time of year to jam to! All in all I love every track on this EP and highly recommend that you check out TINO and his other collaborations!

My third recent jams are provided by Cincinnati based Blues/Rocker Erin Coburn! I bought her album “Out from Under” at a live show a couple months back and had her sign it because if you don’t know who Erin is yet I’m sure you will in the near future! She recently got 2.9 million views on a Facebook live stream concert and I predict she is on her way to doing big things! I am so happy to support her along her journey! (P.S. Erin also collaborated with Tino and I on our upcoming single “Run”. I am not worthy!!.) She just turned 20 and has been playing guitar since she was just 7 years old. She plays like no woman I’ve ever had the pleasure to personally meet! Like an old soul that should have played in Woodstock! This album proves that not only is Erin a genius on the Guitar she also has soul in her voice and the subjects she writes about. The ENTIRE album is Fantastic, but some of my favorite tracks are the title track “Out from Under”. “Diggin’ you Heavy” is Amazing! “Your mind Gun” has a great guitar solo in it that reminded me of something Slash would do. “Trip on this” grabs you at the 1st line “Trip on this we don’t need the shrooms to get high”. Honestly all 11 tracks are standouts to me! I also HIGHLY recommend you see her live if you get the chance! She and her current band mates are phenomenal!!!

2020-03-03 17.52.30-1And last, but certainly not least is Dayton’s very own Gem, Windsor Knotts. I bought his album “Forgotten… But not Gone” the last time I went to the Dayton Songwriters Showcase Thursdays at the Yellow cab Tavern last June. I feel like Windsor is one of those unsung heroes. I met him over a decade ago when he was hosting the Showcase at the Canal Street Tavern here he is 10 years later still doing it to feed us artists. To feed our Souls with what we love to do. He and the yellow cab tavern helped me to keep my sanity by continuing to host these safe outdoor events during Covid-19 and providing me with a creative outlet that unfortunately my hometown of Columbus was not able to offer me at the time.

I can’t thank them enough for supporting local artist’s such as myself to the ones that may just be beginning. Windsor cheers us all to get on stage! I feel like I found a second home in Dayton with my music and the songwriters showcase is a huge part of that! It’s where I have meet so many other talented musicians! So when I bought Windsor’s album he warned me and said “It’s not normal”. I played it several times on my ride back home to that night. I truly enjoyed this album! Even the “Opossum” singing… lol.  I’d describe it in the vein of Bluegrass/Country. Sometimes it reminded me of old Grandpa Jones that my Dad used to spin on record. Comedic sometimes, yet other songs are serious. If you see Windsor out and about in Dayton buy his album and then please thank him for encouraging so many Ohio artists like me!

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Many thanks to Lisa for sharing some of her 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! Photos of Lisa Gain taken by Dr. J in the WUDR Studios.

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11 Questions with… Nick Kizirnis

101714517_10163801825875154_1076073664824213504_nThe 11 Questions with… column returns with guitarist, songwriter Nick Kizrinis! He graciously answered these questions about his latest music projects. We want to publicly thank him for taking the time to answer these questions!

Nick has been involved in numerous music projects. He first picked up a guitar at the age of 12 and one could say that he never really put it down. Some of his earliest music followed the creative playfulness of the surf rock guitar sound. The overlooked band The Mulchmen played an updated surf rock that captured the energy of that style while simultaneously exploring new musical terrain.

Nick has released some tremendous solo work including the incredible ‘Into the Loud’ that expanded on the guitar driven rock genre with a touch of pastiche and a heart full of passion. More recently, Nick has explored the textures of guitar driven melody with elements of jazz and swing in The Nicky Kay Orchestra. Work with several notable Dayton musicians like Paige Beller led Nick to an enthusiasm for adventurous lyrical expression. This led to the expansive latest record, The Distance. A musical work that stretches across rock, folk, Americana, jazz and more. That record includes the contributions of veteran songwriters and performers Kate Wakefield (Lung), Mark Patterson (Son Volt), Tod Weidner (Shrug), “Crazy” Joe Tritschler and Patrick Himes (Bribing Senators, Black Jacket Symphony, Reel Love Recording).

Nick Kizirnis 1 by Jennifer TaylorThe Distance demonstrates Kizirnis’ remarkable skill as a guitarist and a songwriter. Bridging musical spaces that make for an emotional listening experience, the record reveals lessons to be learned about the affairs of the heart. The collaborative process that Nick undertook allowed him to move past any limitations of his own perspective and voice and give flight to songs that drew stories about life, love, loss and the discontinuity of connection that is universal to all of us.

The album begins with the emotional devastation of ‘The Beginning’ in which Wakefield sings powerfully about loss with lilt that has the impact of a million sledge hammers, especially when she sings ‘used to hold me as I slept at night, now I sleep alone’. ‘Way To Me’ counters with an almost hopeful quality that the path back to one another may be difficult and treacherous but is not and should not be impossible. And then ‘The Distance’ patiently takes the listener into the social dislocation of impending separation where the music and the lyrics wrap and twist around one another implying and delivering that sense of falling apart. And that is only the first three songs on this record! Listening deeply to ‘The Distance’ and not experiencing an emotion is simply not possible. The inclusion of a few covers on this collection of songs only adds depth to the ideas explored.

Built by many gifted players over several years, Kizirnis has created an album that bridges different tones, textures and colors that explore the dilemma of love, concern and connection without unnecessary drama.

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

Nick Kizirnis 2 by Jennifer TaylorNick Kizirnis (NK): I started writing the songs for the album back in 2016 as a challenge to myself to see if I actually could do it. I’d written a lot of songs before, but most of them were actually instrumentals.

I started waking up at 5am every day to write, which turns out to work well for me (I still do it today). Once I had a good routine (coffee, write, more coffee) I found that the work of writing became easier, and then I found other times that I could take advantage of because I was ready. And it became really enjoyable.

At some point I realized that writing for my own singing voice was really limiting what I thought I could do with these new songs. I decided that my songs could be in anybody’s voice, it didn’t have to be mine. Suddenly that limitation disappeared, and everything started coming together.

Around the same time my friend Mark Patterson was in town and we decided to give the songs a try between his tours with Son Volt. Patrick Himes challenged me to just come in and record a song. At that point everything started to move forward very naturally.

Nick Kizirnis Band Live 2 by Chris CosenzaDr. J: You worked closely with several local musicians, especially Kate Wakefield, what led to your collaborations? Can you discuss your partnership with Kate?

NK: After deciding that I didn’t have to sing the songs, I started thinking about where else I could take the idea of removing limits I usually put on myself (that is do it mostly myself). I started asking other friends to come in and play guitars and other parts that I would usually do. I invited Patrick, Tod Weidner, Kate Wakefield and Joe Tritschler see what would happen when they interpreted the songs. While I was still playing a lot on the record, I intentionally took my hands of the steering wheel and listened to what everyone else came up with and let that guide the recording process.

I would work out the arrangements with Mark, then we would record demos of each song, get everything mapped out, and send them to everyone so that they would know what we were going for. And then everyone would come into the studio and recorded what they felt the song should be. It was a great experience to watch these songs evolve as we all worked together.

Nick Kizirnis Band by Jennifer TaylorThe band (or part of the band) would record a few songs, scheduled around Mark’s tours with Son Volt. Kate was also on tour with Lung during this time so she would record vocals and cellos separately. Between Lung and Son Volt, Mark and Kate have never met. Kate worked off my demos or the band’s rough tracks, using them as a reference to build out the melodies and harmonies. Regarding the cello, those parts were always thought of as mood/texture – same as the keyboards Patrick would play later. We ended up with a couple of songs, especially “The Distance,” where the cello and keys created a very heavy mood, which I loved – and which I had never planned for on the original demos. That was one of the many great things about the process. We would build these songs up and then opportunities would present themselves.

The Distance Album Cover Art by Rachel BottingI want to mention here how amazing and generous everyone was, and how grateful I am for the help and support and their friendship. Patrick is an amazing multi-instrumentalist and studio magician and really know how to work with me through the process of making album. Mark taught me all about touring and running a band when I was a teenager, and through his years in Austin is this brilliant “song-writers drummer” … he helped coach me through the song arrangements and that alone was an amazing experience. Tod has been a friend and I’ve long admired his singing, playing and writing. Kate is my favorite singer in the world, and I think she’s an amazing cellist with a really unique voice and also a great songwriter. Then of course there is Joe who has been my friend and musical partner for years. Joe. The brilliance and “effortlessness” in his playing is so inspiring, and I feel very lucky to have played, recorded and travelled with him over the years.

And while I’m at it, I really appreciate Rachel Botting’s beautiful album artwork, Sean Haney’s precise mastering, and Scott Kinnison at ATOM Records who has been releasing my albums since 2000. To have that kind of support is truly amazing and I am very grateful.

Dr. J: ‘Tell Me Tomorrow‘ is a personal favorite, so I am curious about it. The song is catchy and very different than some of your previous music. What were you trying to capture with that song?

NK: Thank you! That song is different, maybe even from the rest of the album. I’m really happy with it. By the time I started that song I was knee-deep into songs about heartaches and heartbreaks, and of course this one was going to the same, but it’s actually about trying to on after a relationship falls apart. So it’s bit stronger – it rocks a bit harder (for me), and as you said, and for some reason it’s catchier. All of the other songs have people who are caught or left behind in their relationships, but this is the first one who is actually breaking free (actually it’s the second, I’ll let you guess who was the first). It was always intended to be the last song on the album, and it actually is IF you think of the last three as more of a coda to the album (which I do).

I did not know that Kate would add a mini-choir to the end of the song. That’s one of my favorite moments of the album, I love the way it works with Tod’s guitar solo. There are a few moments like that on the album where vocals, cellos, keys, and guitars work together and add textures that I’ve always wanted to hear (but didn’t know it).

Dr. J: ‘The Distance‘ also seems to addresses not simply physical separation but social distance. If that is correct, did you intend to address that theme? Is there a theme to the songs on the record as a whole?

NK: ‘The Distance‘ is a collection of songs about the loss of love, separation and emotional distance … but I never thought of the album as having a theme or concept. In my mind I was thinking about how albums by Roy Orbison, Gram Parsons, George Jones and similar artists collected these sad love songs and stories and presented them not as a theme but maybe as a soundtrack for the sad and lonely, maybe as they drive around late at night all alone. I’ve had people tell me as much, which feels nice – oh, not nice, I guess but validating.

Social distance is an interesting observation … all the songs on ‘The Distance‘ deal with relationships ending and people leaving, but also the emotional and social separation of partners and their interactions as they go through these ordeals. Not sure if that’s what you are getting at it, but it seems like everyone on the album goes through it in quite a bit of detail.

Dr. J: How did The Distance come together musically for you? What was it like to collaborate on a video for the song?

NK: I was looking for the chance to collaborate on a music video during the pandemic – obviously all plans were halted, we were all trying to figure out what to do. (Artist/Animator) Katie Marks reached out to me with a treatment for “The Distance” and I loved it. Katie went all out, creating 2,000 images, elaborate puppets and backgrounds, and an amazing storyline that really communicated the song in a new way. It was such a great experience for me and I hope folks will check out the video and Katie’s other work (www.katieannmarks.com) … and hopefully it’s a good example of what can happen when two people get together and trust in each other to make something really exciting.

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

NK: I’ve been listening to music since I was kid – at first it was Elvis, Johnny Cash, Duane Eddy, and then a crash course in jazz, blues and classic rock before I discovered punk. By then I started playing guitar, I was in a band, and I wanted to write my own songs based on all this music that inspired me.

At first it was the sounds that artists made – with their instruments, but later in the recording process. To this day it’s a huge influence. But as time passed, the stories that artist told and how they told them (through lyrics, voice, instruments, recordings, arrangements) really motivated me. I’ve always wanted to figure out “how did they do that,” and that’s led me to listen to many styles of music to better understand and to take away as inspiration.

Sometimes that can result in a very weird mix of inputs – imagine a mix tape with GBV’s “My Son Cool” and the first Trio Bulgarka album and Sleepwalk (Danny Gatton’s version). But I love it all. I love discovering new music and realizing that there’s so much I have yet to hear (and so much amazing music still to be made).

How many times I tried - The Distance music video - Katie MarksDr. 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 across your various projects such as your earlier music – I am a big fan of ‘Into the Loud’, the Nicky Kay Orchestra, The Distance)?

NK: I have always been interested in playing different styles and exploring different sounds, and so I’ve never stayed in one place too long – I started in Ramones/Replacements punk rock, then Devo/CVB/Robyn Hitchcock/XTC – influenced indie/alternative, and it just kept changing from there, including alot surf instrumental, some rockabilly, and finally what I think I do now, which in my mind is a combination of all these things – but not directly.

I used to write with a band, within a style of a band. Now my main focus is on writing songs that I could perform on my own but could also play in record in other styles with different sounds. It’s a great feeling to not worry if a song doesn’t fit a style or genre for a specific band. I love having a band, I love having friends to work with, but for whatever reason when I get outside of a given group I am more creative and productive. Maybe that will change as I learn to be a better songwriter, which would be fine with me! I’m enjoying the journey, it makes me feel happy.

Dr. J: What is next for you musically? How would you describe your thoughts at this point for your next project after ‘The Distance’?

NK: I am very happy with how ‘The Distance’ turned out and how it was received, so now I am also asking myself “what’s next”? I thought I would just keep writing, maybe in the same style, and then the pandemic put an end to any expectations. I didn’t write for a few months, and when I did the songs were very different. That’s fine of course, who knows what songs will become, but it did make me start to wonder where I would go from here. Now I have enough songs to start work on another album, and while I don’t feel it will sound like The Distance, I do think there are sounds and ideas that will be a continuation, or a next step.

I’m challenging myself again – how can I continue to improve? What do I need to learn? Who could I work with to help me progress? It’s all really interesting to me, just to find out what I can explore as a songwriter. Last time I worked alone, then brought in a friend to help with arrangements, and then had more friends really take over the recording, although I was still there to direct. Where could I go from there? What else can I do to experiment?

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

NK: “Cone Back to Me” from The Distance is definitely my favorite. I’ve played it with the band, as well as solo (for the NPR Tiny Desk Contest, as well as live), and we are working on a video for it. It was the second song we recorded together (the first was “The Beginning”) and it turned out so well that I was really encouraged to continue working on the album. I’m very happy with how the song turned out, but really the experience of recording it was a great one. “Slipping Away” is another one, because I get a lot of positive feedback about it (always nice!), I made a fun video for it with Sam Manavis, Mark and I had a great time arranging it, and it just turned out right (I think).

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

NK: Well, this may sound strange considering most of the songs on the album are about the loss of love and the failure of relationships, but through the songs and the way we recorded them I hope the listener will hear that love and every happiness that brings is possible – even when we have some seemingly bad experiences and/or learn some hard lessons. Maybe some of these songs remind people of their own experiences and help them see that here they are, they’ve been able to learn and move on.

(I actually wish those experiences on no one ever, but hopefully whatever people do go through will help them get to a better place in their lives).

Nick Kizirnis Band Live 1 by Andy ValeriDr. J: As a musician, how did you adapt to the challenges of the Coronavirus? Is that changing for your now as music events are opening up again?

NK: The big thing for me was recording at home and collaborating with other friends and musicians virtually. I had recorded songs but never anything I would think about releasing. I had the opportunity to record music for an animated short titled “Darryl” produced by Lydia Kladtis at the University of Dayton. I recorded guitars and sent the tracks to Kate Wakefield who added cello and vocals. We produced three short songs for the film.

That motivated me to record an (unreleased as of yet) acoustic instrumental EP following the same process. Once the record is finished we are going to create a second version with a friend that will be a percussion-based, completely remixed treatment of the same songs. All remote.

That went so well that I started reaching out to other musicians to contribute tracks to some new songs I have been writing. Soon we’ll take my tracks and theirs to the studio and merge them with new in-studio tracks.

I also recorded a song for The Breeders where we were in their home studio, but everything was being edited and mixed at another studio in New Orleans at the same time. It was a really fun experience.

So, I guess being quarantined led me to an opportunity that was always there but I never took advantage of. I’m excited about what else I may be able to do once I’m better at recording and collaborating with other people.

You can follow Nick Kizirnis on various social media including:

Facebook     Website     Instagram    Twitter

Spotify    Bandcamp     YouTube   Atom Records

YTAA MonsterWe want to extend our sincere gratitude to Nick Kizirnis for answering our questions and continuing to make some really excellent music! Click on the links throughout the article to visit Nick’s social media or to listen to various songs that were discussed! 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 Nick Kizirnis, Andy Valeri, Chris Cosenza and Jennifer Taylor Photography.

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Video of the Day: The Nautical Theme – Somewhere Just Ok (But Not Alright)

The modern folk-rock duo from Dayton known as The Nautical Theme have released their latest video from their recently released EP ‘Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed‘ entitled ‘Somewhere Just Ok (But Not Alright)’. The EP includes this new song, plus an older song and a Jimmy Eat World cover. The lifting arrangement carries lyrics that are profoundly felt and universally shared by all of us. Keyboardist, vocalist Tesia Mallory and guitarist, vocalist Matt Shetler formed the group in 2017. When you listen to them sing you will feel as if they were born to sing together. The harmonies between them can send shivers down your spine.

The EP can be found everywhere you stream and download music. We highly recommend grabbing the music from TNT’s bandcamp page! Those of us in the Dayton area can see them play St. Anne’s Hill Porchfest on August 21, 2021 at 4pm.

Video of The Day: The Connells – Steadman’s Wake

Returning after twenty years since their last record (‘Old School Dropouts’), The Connells have just released a lyric video for the title track from their new record ‘Steadman’s Wake.’ The song captures social commentary on the opioid epidemic and more. With a build that leads to a rousing chorus and stunning guitar solo, this song captures many challenges in the current zeitgeist without leading listeners to predetermined conclusions. If the rest of the album is as captivating as the early singles ‘Really Great‘ and ‘Steadman’s Wake‘ suggest then the band in on most solid terra firma.

The album releases on September 24th and we could not be more excited.

Preorder Steadman’s Wake https://found.ee/v4M1 For more information about The Connells, visit theconnells.com

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.