YTAA Conversation with Jason Trout of The Touchy Feelys

Jason Trout of The Touchy Feelys joined Dr J in the studio for Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative on Tuesday, January 18, 2022. This was our third new show of 2022. Jason talked about songwriting, working as a duo with Amanda Dawn Courts, their approach to recording and their debut record. The Touchy Feelys is an indie/folk band from Athens and Dayton, Ohio.

Their debut album BREAK-UP SONGS ABOUT STAYING TOGETHER was released on December 3, 2021. You can learn more about them on Facebook and Bandcamp. You can also contact them on email at thetouchyfeelys@gmail.com. The duo is also on Instagram as thetouchyfeelys.

Thank you for visiting this site! YTAA goes live Tuesdays 3-6pm on WUDR Flyer Radio.

You can watch more videos of past studio guests on this page or over at our YouTube Channel. Past episodes of YTAA are available on Mixcloud. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please contact Dr. J on gmail at drjytaa.

11 Questions with… Super 8

Paul “Trip” Ryan of the one man band, Super 8, has been making some of the most melodic psychedelic indie-pop music around! Much of UK-based Trip’s music shimmers and sways into exquisitely crafted ear worms. In addition to his knack for melody, Trip also makes music with a lightness that sometimes hides the melancholy. This back and forth is most welcome in these days of challenge. As a one man band playing all of the instruments, an atmosphere is raised that allows listeners to drop into a musical concoction that does not ever disappoint. Each delicious single and the incredible collaboration with the incredible Lisa Mychols, crackles and glistens with just the right amount of sonic tension. If one were to look up ‘catchy songs’ in an encyclopedia, the entry would simply say ‘Super 8.’

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

Super 8 (Trip): Well first off, thanks so much for taking the time to formulate these questions and for your interest in this music I make. OK, here goes then … I have always loved music! A very early memory of mine was listening to Simon & Garfunkel played in the family car when I was a kid and really connecting with the harmonies and rhythms. Later in my early teens I found an old, beat up guitar in an attic. In hindsight it was a truly terrible instrument with only four (rusty!) strings but, for a few months at least, I actually thought it was the greatest thing in the world! To encourage my enthusiasm my Folks later bought me a better acoustic guitar and, from there, I saved up pocket money to buy an electric one. I’m still ‘wheeling’n’dealing’ musical instruments to this day and still get that buzz that I had as a kid when I get to play a new instrument. In fact, my latest musical instrument fixation is the birthday present I received from my thoughtful wife at Hogmanay – a small bass harmonica. I’m so taken with it I put it to good use straight away – it’s a feature instrument on the new single (‘Out of My Head’). You can see me getting to grips with it in the video.

As for how I started writing music … it’s something I just fell into naturally. It just feels like the right thing for me to be doing in this life. I’ve had no formal training as such, I just try to capture the sounds I hear in my head as best I can with whatever musical tools I have at my disposal at any given time.

Dr. J: What first led to your recording music as SUPER 8? How do you approach production?

Trip: I trod the musical boards in a few local bands growing up in the North West of England. With Liverpool a short train ride to the west and Manchester another short train ride to the east it was an inspiring place to grow up (Warrington). I moved north to Scotland around the turn of the millennium and, borne of necessity without any band mates around, I tentatively started to make music on my own. (I had never sung one of my own songs prior to coming to Scotland – there must be something in the water here!) There was a brief spell at the beginning of the century where I tried the whole ‘band thing’ again but it didn’t work out… so ever since I’ve just accepted that I’m a solo studio artist (read: ‘hermit’!).

That said over the last couple of years as well as keeping my hand in with solo SUPER 8 stuff  I have been collaborating remotely with the LA-based artist Lisa Mychols (more on that later).  As to how I approach production? I’m not the world’s most technical guy I must admit. I’m not interested in the latest ‘must-have!’ fad gadget nor tweaking software for hours on end, I just use my ears until I find sounds that work well together. I play everything you hear on my solo records. Some instruments I can play better than others but I will give anything a go to try to get a tune out of it, whatever works for the song really. At the end of the day it’s ALL about the song!      

Dr. J: Out of My Head is your most recent music, what led to the making of that song? What was the main influence on your songwriting at that time that you wrote this?

Trip: ‘Out Of My Head’ came together really quickly. I had the embryonic idea for it just before Christmas and threw down a rough musical sketch before heading south to England for the festive period. On my return I realized it would benefit from being faster and ‘quirkier’. As I said, I had been gifted a bass harmonica by this point so, after a quick crash course in bass harmonica technique (and discovering you can only blow into it, there’s no sound if you suck!) I attempted to put it to good use right away. The single came together really quickly after that. The wife and I made a quick (daft!) video for it last Wednesday and it was released (via Bandcamp) over the weekend just gone.  As a composer I like it when inspiration strikes like that! What was just a rough idea can become a fully-formed & finished piece with a quick turnaround. I feel I do my best work when I’m ‘lost in music’ and ‘in the zone’ as it were! It’s inspiring and keeps me on my toes. I’m naturally a pretty impulsive person who needs to keep motivated. I tend to tire and lose interest when projects drag on.

As for the main influence for this particular song. Hmm… I hadn’t really thought about it but, now you ask, MAYBE it’s about a love that has been lost? And/or rejection? Or a feeling of being stuck in a certain situation out of one’s control with no apparent clear plan for the way forward. That and the knock-on doubts, personal frustration and disorientation as a result hence the title ‘Out Of My Head’. Or maybe it’s not about any of that and it’s about what book to read next? (I’m currently reading Brian Wilson’s autobiography). I dunno, some songs are hard to explain. They just ‘are what they are’ – a musical snapshot of a moment in time. I personally don’t write a diary so it all has to come out in some way I guess. As you can see, I’m not that great at explaining my songs – I prefer to just let the songs do the talking.        

Dr. J: ‘Lisa Mychols & SUPER 8 album was the album you released in 2020 with Lisa Mychols. The songs on that record seem almost purposefully lighter hearted. Is that a correct interpretation of the record? If that is correct, did you intend to create an album that was purposefully more fun?

Trip: Ahh yeah, the debut album with Lisa was great fun – an absolute blast from start to finish! It just seemed to come along at the perfect time (for both of us I think!) It all started with a one-off single (‘Time Bomb’). We had such a laugh making that one (including being cast as clay figures in the video by my talented wife Gill!) that we decided to carry on and see where this 5,000 mile remote collaboration might lead. (Lisa lives in LA, I reside in Scotland so the whole album was made via file sharing. Believe it or not we have never actually met in person!)

Before too long we had what we thought was going to make a strong EP but then we did a couple more songs together and just thought: “Hey! What the heck? Let’s try for a full length album!” We were ping-ponging files back and forth across the Atlantic and just vibing off the whole project. It wasn’t our intention to make an entire Summer-themed album, that’s just the way it came out. We just let the songs inform us as to how THEY wanted to go. All very organic and natural sounding, nothing on that album was forced or premeditated, not written to order, we just went with the flow and within the space of just a few very creative months we had our album ‘in the can’. On its release (via the cool Canadian label: ‘The Beautiful Music’) it received numerous rave reviews with many folk referring to it as their ‘Album of the Summer’. I’m still very proud of that album. It definitely bottled a musical moment in time. Happy days & good vibrations! File under: ‘California/Brit Pop!’  

Dr. J: How did the song ‘All My Worries come together musically for you?

Trip: I have to hold my hand up and admit that I was listening to a lot of Beatles around the time this was written. (Who am I trying to kid, I’m ALWAYS listening to The Beatles!) I guess I just soaked up some extra Beatles vibe around this time and it came out in this song. Again, not premeditated, the way this one panned out is the way this song informed me how it wanted to be. (That said, I admit it IS very Beatles-y-sounding …. to my ears anyway!)

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

Trip: Well, there’s The Beatles (see above – LOL!) but it doesn’t just come from listening to other folk’s music. It’s hard to explain really but I shall at least try …. most of the music I write actually comes to me ‘from within’ … and usually at the most inopportune moments! For example, I’ll be out walking somewhere and “BOOM!” I get a melody or a riff popping into my head and have to scrabble to capture it before it’s gone. (The voice recorder on my phone has helped me remember quite a few songs that would otherwise have been lost!) Another example? I could be mid-shave say and … “AARGGH! Here we go again!” It’s a curse at times but I can’t complain. The most exasperating situation?  At night. I’m a light sleeper and most nights I find it very difficult to get off to sleep – it takes a long time for my mind to shut down! It’s often just when I’m (finally!) in that strange Twilight Zone place between conscious and unconscious thought that “PING!” a new song idea will choose to present itself!  When it does, I either have to: A) wake myself up to capture it somehow or B) just let it slide hoping that, by rights, if it’s good enough then I should be able to just remember it until I wake at a civilized time in the morning, right?

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 in the last few years?

Trip: Again, quite a difficult question as I find it very hard to describe my music ….. it’s more ‘a feeling’. I try not to pigeon-hole the music I make. There’s plenty of acts out there that play to their strengths and tastes as in: “We’re a Ska band!” or “We’re a Power Pop band!” (Whatever ‘Power Pop’ is – ha!) but, for me, I like to mix it up and keep fans of my music on their toes. I like the fact that I can, for example, write a little jazzy bossanova tune with Lisa (eg: ‘Your Summer Theme’) then go from that to an out ’n’ out Rocker with a medieval baroque section in 6/8 timing just thrown in for good measure (LOL!) There’s actually a lot of humour embedded into these songs I write. How would I sum them all up? It’s all just a big pick’n’mix musical melting pot really! As to how my songwriting process has evolved, I’d like to think I’m getting better as I go along here but, that said, I do not wish to get ‘too good’. I like all the ‘happy accidents’ that happen in the studio …. and the things that don’t seem to make sense. If I actually knew what I was doing and all the theory behind it then perhaps these chance moments would vanish and I’m not prepared to take that risk so I’ll just keep doing this while I can and not think too much about the process. So long as making music continues to be a fun, creative outlet for me then I shall endeavour to keep making it.  

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

Trip: Well it’s the start of a new year so we’re supposed to have resolutions, right? Musically speaking I already know I don’t want another year like last year! Looking back on it I got way too distracted with musical commissions and I completely took my eye off the ball (or should that be ‘ear’?) where making NEW music was concerned. So much so that I actually only managed to finish a mere handful of self-penned original songs (which is not like me at all – prior to 2021 I had a reputation for being prolific!) Here now in 2022 I need to turn that around and ‘get back’ to the one thing I feel I’m good at i.e.: being ‘a songwriter’. I hope to have two new albums out in 2022, one SUPER 8 solo and a follow-up with Lisa – watch this space!

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

Trip: Like I say, I’m more of what you’d call ‘a studio musician’ nowadays. Being a solo ‘one man band’ as it were, I haven’t played a gig in the longest time. I guess my performances these days are on the records I make, what I play into the microphone when I’m multi-tracking a song. I tend to just let the songs do the talking now pretty much! I don’t really tend to have ‘a favourite’. I just go from recording one song to the next really.

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

No real ‘message’ as such more ‘a feeling’. That the music I present makes the listener feel good in themselves. Not one ‘thing’ in particular, just ‘a connection’. I write from the heart I guess and just try to be true to my school as it were – to write music that I like and, if I like it, hopefully others might too. ‘Tis a strange and magical thing ‘music’. It’s all so subjective!   

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

Trip: Like everyone, I wish this thing would just disappear and let us all get back to and on with ‘normal’ life as we knew it – we live in hope! In the meantime we have to just keep our heads up and deal with the cards we’ve been dealt here. Musically speaking the one good thing to come out of all of this I guess is that us musicians have realised the potential of making music via file-sharing. I can’t really think of anything else positive to say on the whole ‘Corona’ front! Anyway, stay safe and thanks for reading!

We want to extend our sincere gratitude to Trip for answering our questions and continuing to make some really excellent music as Super 8! Click on the links throughout the article to visit his social media or to listen to various songs that were discussed! If any musicians or artists would like to participate in future ’11 Questions with…’ columns, please feel free to email us at drjytaa@gmail.com. All photos and images courtesy of Trip.

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Video of The Day: Get There – Yuppie

The indie-rock Rust Belt Dayton band Yuppie led by Zack Sliver has been making some of the most enthralling rock and roll over the past several years! ‘Get There’ continues the musical vision that speaks to the authentic emotion of community.

Zack notes that: “The song is about how someone’s words can follow you throughout your life, taking on different forms; through different people and weigh on you. The choice is whether you listen to them, or strive to find where you belong in this weird place we all call ours.

We also highly recommend the bands’ A Place to Call My Own and the compelling video the band made to go with that terrific song:

Maybe this becomes a two video recommendation?

Check them out.

You can find Yuppie on Soundcloud and their website! And all of their socials – facebook, Instagram and Youtube!

Getting close to our goal of 24 hours of Local Music

It has been our goal since we started the Gem City Alternative Playlist to get to 24 hours of all local and Dayton music. We wanted to create 24 hours of music that is amazing and under-represented on radio! We are sooooo close. Suggestions for the playlist? If you are a band in Miami Valley of Ohio, we want to hear from you!

Support Your Local Music Scene!

Video of the Day: Molly Nilsson – Sweet Smell of Success

This concept video for ‘Sweet Smell of Success’ from German musician Molly Nilsson‘s latest album ‘Extreme‘ just out on January 15, 2022 is our latest video of the day. The melancholy of this song is built around powerful guitars and a swirling mix that continues the evolution of sound away from the neo-synth of her previous music. The song holds a heavy ‘almost’ shoegaze feel. Combining elements of pop, indie, shoegaze and synth, Nilsson sings about a begrudging optimism delivered in her impassive vocals that deliver emotion without having direct statements about love, shame or anger. The chorus will become stuck in your head for days. Check out her other music on bandcamp.

11 Questions with… Kim Ware of The Good Graces

Drummer turned guitarist Kim Ware has been making emotionally powerful indie folk rock since 2009’s Bring on the Tambourines! Her last full length, 2019’s Prose and Consciousness merged her sense of melody with layered songwriting that pulled the listener into a rich world of Southern culture, meditations on life and efforts to improve ourselves. Kim’s music often raises questions about how we make real lasting relations in our communities. Stand out tracks like ‘Three’, ‘His Name was the Color that I Loved’ and ‘Wants + Needs’ brought Ware’s mature songwriting together with music that allows listeners to feel the experience even if it is for all too brief a moment. Kim has continued to release new music such as 2021’s ‘capital R (single)‘ and 2020’s powerful ‘Stopped Making Plans‘ and ‘Things Will Be Better in the Morning.’ These songs demonstrate her commitment to intelligent musical discourse. It was a real pleasure to correspond with Kim about her music.

1. What can you share with us about when and how you started writing your latest song, ‘Stopped Making Plans’?

This song had some pretty weird origins that were both very intentional but also very accidental at the same time! I say that because it came to be thanks to an assignment for a songwriting group I’m part of.

We meet on Mondays; it was a Sunday afternoon and I thought, “I don’t have a new song to share tomorrow.” The prompt was “foreign languages” so I simply started by thinking about countries I’d like to visit. My mind went to Germany first; my husband is from there but I’ve never visited. I was thinking about how my friend Andy had also booked a trip to Italy in late 2019 but of course it didn’t happen.

Anyway, I sort of organized those thoughts to be more about plans falling through, and missing loved ones. In the case of the Italy mention, rather than focusing on Andy’s trip I very intentionally thought about Michele Gazich. He plays violin for Mary Gauthier, and though I don’t know him well I’ve met him at Song School in Colorado, and we’re friends on Facebook. Back around last February / March, before Covid had severely impacted the US but was taking its toll on Italy, where he lives, he was posting about what was going on. It was so frightening. That, plus my working for a major digital publisher at the time (which happens to be health-focused), led me to take all this pretty seriously from the very beginning.

It’s been such a mental and emotional drain. I kept thinking it might be something I’d write about but it all just seemed too big. Suddenly, approaching it this way (very indirectly at first) just worked. Once I realized what I wanted the song to capture (the trials of last year, with a focus on plans being cancelled), it came together pretty quickly.

I also feel the need to say before writing it I had just finished reading Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” for graduate school. In it, he focuses a good bit on hope, and imagining a future, and how important it is to our existence. That seemed to be top of mind – that the roughest part of all this, for me (a natural planner) was adapting to not making plans.

2. In the past you have had strong collaborations, did the coronavirus/Covid-19 situation change how you wrote and worked on the song?

Very much. In November 2019, the Good Graces played our release show for “Prose and Consciousness.” That was such a wonderful experience, like everything just came together for that show. Little did we know we’d only be able to play a couple more together. I would have loved to have included the folks who played that show with me on this song, but logistically that’s a lot harder to coordinate now. I also moved last summer, from Atlanta (where they are all based) to North Carolina, to be closer to elderly family members. The combination of Covid plus just being in a place where I don’t know as many musicians meant I felt very, very isolated. That’s definitely changed how I work on music now. I wrote the song alone, and then recorded my guitar and vocal tracks at home. I sent those to engineer/producer Jerry Kee, and he added everything else. We’re working on a full album this way. Though it’s not what I would have imagined had you asked me last year how I’d make my next album, it’s working really well.

3. ‘Stopped Making Plans’ is a song that explores the impact of the pandemic, police violence and other social issues, did you set out to address these particular ideas when starting to work on that song?

Not at all! As I mentioned up top, it didn’t start out being about that at all. But, it quickly turned into that. I just wanted to be very honest. Those are the things that took so much of my mental energy and empathy last year. So once I started going there, I couldn’t really avoid them.

4. Many of your songs have addressed the strength or weakness of social bonds – is that a correct interpretation of some of the lyrics and the feel of your music? If that is correct, do you intend to write about social bonds and connections or did the song evolve in that direction over time?

That’s so interesting, and really insightful. I put a lot of thought into relationships, I suppose. And not just a-b relationships, but like my place, my role in a given community. How we all “relate”. And connections – that’s definitely something I’ve been very focused on exploring, for years now. All that said though, I don’t think I ever intentionally write about them. I’m very much an in-the-moment songwriter. Something comes to me, and I try to follow it. Sometimes I can shape it into something that makes some sense, but as often it falls by the wayside, I guess to make room for something else. I’m studying to get my master’s in counseling, and social bonds and connections is a big focus there. So I imagine that will continue to come up, either directly or indirectly, in my music.

5. How did ‘Stopped Making Plans’ come together musically for you?

Once I figured out the direction and general melody, the vocal part came together quickly. That tends to be what happens for most of my songs. The guitar part was the challenge. I’d say my finger-picking skills are pretty novice. But I really pushed myself to give this particular guitar part a real “part,” a real presence in the song. Really I thought the recorded version would stay pretty minimal. So I worked really hard to figure out that guitar melody and actually be able to execute it. The bridge was particularly tricky! But finally I got it; it’s a lot different from my playing on most all my other songs which is typically either very strummy and rhythmic, or very very simple, repetitive picking. Anyway, as I mentioned above, once I sent it to Jerry he had a very different vision for it! At first I wasn’t sure about it, but by the end I really loved everything he brought to it (and I still have my original demo with just me – that’s posted on my Bandcamp, too – If I ever really feel like hearing or sharing that more minimal version).

6. Where do you often derive inspiration to make music?

I think of songwriting a lot like dreams. I’ve always thought dreams just “mean” whatever you decide they mean, and if you asked someone else, they might have a very different interpretation. To me, dreams seem to mostly just be a way of processing whatever has happened that day. Songs are very much the same. I process through them. I’m not sure I “figure stuff out,” but – when I get it right – I manage to put something pretty complex and challenging for me to even talk about into a 3-or-4-minute piece of art. That is just the coolest thing to me! It’s the single thing I love most about songwriting.

So I guess I’m saying I get inspiration from challenges – but it’s almost never intentional. My mind just always wants to solve problems, I think. Or at least take a complex problem and break it down into something simpler, more manageable. I think it’s my need to do that that inspires me to write songs. It’s my means of processing.

7. 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 Set Your Sights (in 2017) to Prose and Consciousness (2019) to your recent music)?

I think it’s always been really personal and honest. That’s sort of the metric for me; sometimes I write for “side projects” and one of the things that makes it a Good Graces song vs. a song for one of those other projects is if it’s so honest that I’d probably be uncomfortable talking about it.

I think that’s been consistent, from my very first song back in ’07 or so. It’s evolved a lot; I guess it’s gotten a little more polished? And I’ve had a lot of different folks contribute to it over the years. They’ve all inspired and had an influence on me, the songwriting, and the final product in one way or another. I do think now I’m starting to veer just slightly from Americana and folk and maybe more towards indie and bedroom pop (which is a place I’m also pretty familiar with, I think my 2014 album “Close to the Sun” was more that sort of style). The southern influence isn’t going anywhere though, I think that’s unavoidable due to my vocals. But working with Jerry here recently, and him adding things like drum machine and keys, has made me realize a sort of different way to present the songs.

8. What is next for you musically? How would you describe your thoughts at this point for your next project after Stop Making Plans?

Jerry and I have about 16 or 17 songs we’re trying to get through this year. I think we’ve finished up 5 so far. I’d like to release a few more singles and then maybe around the fall or so start pulling everything together for an album. But that said, last year taught me to just sort of be more in the moment and not get too married to any one idea or method when it comes to releasing music. I recently launched a Patreon which I’m really enjoying – my focused is shifting just a little from “the next album” to “what am I making this week?” I will always love making albums though, and the format, it’s just that right now it feels like there’s got to be something more, or different from that, you know? One thing I’ve noticed is that I’m pretty burnt out on the traditional way of making and promoting music. It was getting so focused on likes, pageviews, followers, etc. That’s why I like doing things like Patreon. Sure, it’s great if the numbers go up. But for me what’s far more important is the connection I’m making through songs. If I’m even lucky enough to make one. That’s the greatest thing. I’m trying to focus more on little things that remind me of that connection.

Oh! I also recently launched a podcast that sort of talks about these things so I may as well plug that here! It’s called Quarantined With the Good Graces and you can find it on most all the podcast platforms. It’s an interview podcast and I’m releasing a new episode each Tuesday. At the moment, I’m focusing as much on that as I am my songs, and it feels really right to me.

9. What is your favorite song to perform? What makes it a current favorite in your performances?

It’s almost always “7-Year Sentence (Going to Hell)”. Back in Atlanta, I’d usually have a group of friends come sing the end choruses with me. It was a highlight of our shows, and really cathartic. I tend to sing that song louder and more emotionally than a lot of my other songs, and it always feels really good.

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

That we’re all struggling through this in our own way. If nothing else connects us, I think that does.

11. As a musician, how are you adapting to the challenges of the Coronavirus?

I’ve really been trying to immerse myself in my new life – my husband and I moved into my aunt’s old farmhouse at the beginning of this year. It’s right beside my dad’s peach orchard. He passed away a couple of summers ago, but being here, right beside everything that was so much a part of him, I feel really close to him. The other day I walked around the perimeter of the orchard; it was soooo cold! But during that time, I thought, this is exactly where I’m supposed to be, and exactly what I’m supposed to be doing in this moment. I guess that’s how I’m trying to adapt. By being present and focused on thethings that are important.

I left my day job at the beginning of the year (2021), so I could focus more on school and all this life stuff with the house and my family. So, I’m still sort of trying to figure out what my new life even is. But I’m also doing some things that I wanted to do but never had time to. I took an online improv class through Second City and I absolutely loved it. And I’m currently taking a songwriting class. That’s a little more like “work” for me, which is interesting. But I’m grateful to have a little more time to spend on that now. I’m viewing this time as a transition for me; I don’t feel particularly settled yet, but I feel like that’s starting to come more into view.

We want to extend our sincere gratitude to Kim Ware for answering our questions and continuing to make some really excellent music! Click on the links throughout the article to visit Kim’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 Kim Ware/The Good Graces.

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Uncool Music Conversations with Andy & Art

The fabled rock music critic Lester Bangs once wrote that “the only currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone when you are uncool.” That idea of sharing your passion as honestly and directly as you can became the basis of a new effort.

Today our first episode of the new podcast ‘Uncool Music Conversations with Andy & Art’ is available at Anchor and Spotify.

The purpose of the podcast is to explore music in deep conversation. Andrew Hunt, the original host of The Local Show on WUDR, and our own Dr. J have been talking about launching a podcast for quite some time. And now we believe that the time is right. The point is to have fun in investigating local music, Dayton music, the music we love and the reason we feel called to that music. These are two nerdy music fans want to find a way to take the necessary time, roll up their sleeves and push themselves to show everyone that music matters and that music chooses you. A podcast gives the opportunity to untangle the complexity that surrounds music and the reasons that we love it so much.

We hope that you will join us in this exploration into the heart of music, song creation and performance.

If you have any interest in being in a future episode of the Uncool Music Convo podcast, please reach out to us! We are on twitter at uncoolmusiccon1 and instagram at uncoolmusicconvo.

11 Questions with… Jayne Sachs

Some time ago songwriter Jayne Sachs agreed to answer our 11 Questions for this column! We appreciate Jayne taking the time out of her busy schedule to respond to these questions about songwriting, music making and performing. In 2015, she was a Daytonian of the Week!

Singer/Songwriter Jayne Sachs has been crafting songs in the Dayton Music Scene and beyond for several years. Jayne is currently a songwriter at Matt Lindsey Music in Nashville. She is an award winning songwriter with two first place wins in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the country and pop music categories, a rare occurrence. She is also a top winner in The UK Songwriting Contest and the International Acoustic Music Awards in the country category, we could go on and list the extensive recognition for her songwriting skills and techniques but that is not what this column is about. Our purpose here is to learn about songwriting and music directly from Jayne. However, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to thank her because Jayne has also been very kind with her time agreeing to speak to Dr. J’s classes about music and songwriting.

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

For the last eight years I have been writing songs for pitching in the Nashville country market. Before this, I was in the indie/alt pop genre as an artist and performer.

When my dad on his death bed (sorry, I always go dark!) asked me about my future in music he asked what publishers do and if I could “get one”. I was pretty sure I couldn’t just “get one” but didn’t know enough about what they do and how I could actually ever get signed by one. I knew that publishers were located in all the music cities, with Nashville being the closest.

After my dad died, I received a letter that he had written to me while he was still alive. He told me how proud he was of my music journey and if I should ever decide to not continue, I should be happy with what I’ve done. Since I had no intention of slowing down I thought back to our conversation about publishers and decided to understand that side of the industry. One thing lead to another and I learned the country genre inside and out and actually ended up getting signed by a long time Nashville publisher. I write daily and turn songs into him for pitching. I wish I could tell my dad.

2. You worked closely with several musicians throughout your career, what led to your collaborations?

The musicians I’ve worked with the most and the longest are my band mates Steve VanEtten, Scott Shiverdecker and Kelly Morelock. I worked with Kelly prior to that with a different line up as well. What lead to that collaboration originally was my need for a live band, but also musicians who could take the songs and help arrange them in cool ways. Each one of these players is an expert on his instrument. Without them the songs would have remained acoustic based, but these guys put muscle behind my singer songwriter diddies.

3. Rain is a personal favorite, so I am curious about it. The song seems different to me from some of your other songs and music. What were you trying to capture with that song?

I wrote “Rain” about the music industry. But it’s a song that can be interpreted in any way that resonates with the listener. I guess I was feeling that the rain I was hoping for would wash the dirt of trying to get signed off of me so I could just feel free.

4. Rain also seems to address some ideas about expressing oneself. If that is correct, did you intend to address that theme?Is there a theme that you find yourself working with in your songs?

If that is your interpretation, then I meant to address it! I am all for the meaning of a song being how the listener takes it, except for my Nashville songs which can’t leave anything up for interpretation. Stuff is very literal in that market. But the theme of Rain for me is breaking out and washing shit off of myself and feeling carefree. I’ve always wanted to dance naked in an alley.. who wouldn’t?! Well maybe not in the bitter winter.. but even…

5. How did Rain come together musically for you?

Rain is on a cd called Velveteen Girl. It was the only project I recorded with musicians other than my mates. I was working with a producer in Nashville, Lij Shaw, and he brought in his friends who do a lot of studio work. My band was on a break at that time as Scott and Steve already had kids and needed some time with their families. I’m proud of that cd and then my band emulated the songs so well once we got back together for live shows.

6. Where do you often derive inspiration to make music?

My songs as an artist tend to be dark and somewhat personal, whether they sound more ballad or more up tempo, sad or sarcastic. The song may not be about me specifically, but there is always an emotional bed that the song is lying on that I can relate to completely… the emotion. So to answer your question, the inspiration is the emotion. I may have just heard something that made me tear up, or laugh or feel empathy… and then if that feeling sticks around longer than a minute I may grab my guitar and try to dance with that feeling a bit. Listening to other’s songs that resonate with me is always inspiring. When I hear something I really love, my favorite thing to do is grab my own guitar and write.

7. 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 compared to the music you are making now)?

 Writing for the Nashville market is what I’m concentrating on now but my journey in music started around age 18 at OSU when I started playing out a bit. As soon as I started writing original songs, I always wrote to perform them and then to record them and then to play them for an audience. I left music for a long while to have a normal career, even though I picked TV (a story in itself), but brought music back into my life in my 30’s. That is when I really got serious about writing and finding my true voice as an artist. That’s when I started playing live with a band and my career grew beautiful and crazy fun wings! This continued for years and years until I started writing for Nashville, a total shift in focus.

Learning how to write for the masses was like getting a PhD in neurosurgery. I dove into it with a fierce need to understand It and it’s been no different than learning a very specific skill.. or maybe brainwashing.. not sure! I feel I am a better writer now in general because I understand crafting for marketability purposes, but the trade off is not having the carefree heart as I did as an artist just writing for my project. I struggle to keep “me” in my writing now, but too much of “me” limits the chance of an artist wanting to record it. I’m writing for other artists now who are looking to record songs that resonate with them… and those artists are choosing songs that their audience will like… and those songs are being dissected by their label and team to figure out which ones could become singles and possibly a  #1 on radio. So when I sit down to write now, I am trying to write a hit. And I’m still trying to keep a bit of me in it so I can still somehow relate to the emotion in the song.. but writing it in a way that will appeal to the masses. It’s f’n hard!! It’s the hardest writing I’ve ever attempted. 

8. What is next for you musically? How would you describe your thoughts at this point for your next project?

I’m not sure what is next. I’m neck deep in Nashville. If I drown, I drown… but I’m a fairly resilient human who can dog paddle like an expert dog paddler! I’m extremely goal oriented and the goal is to get a major artist to cut one of my songs. I’m getting closer. Garth Brooks put a vocal on one of my co-written songs but then he ultimately passed on it. I heard that he sent it to another artist who he thought it might be better suited for. But we didn’t hear anything else on it. Ugh!! We were all holding our breaths on that one!

9. What is your favorite song to perform? What makes it a current favorite in your performances?

Oh let me see… a favorite? That’s hard to pick. I have a song I wrote for the Nashville market called “Somewhere” which I love to perform. I wrote it two years ago. It happened to win The John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the country category which was pretty darn validating.

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

Since my latest music is not for myself as an artist, I would say I hope listeners would still hear “me” in there as I struggle to keep that heart beating while writing in a completely different way.

11. 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?

Since Covid, I’ve been co-writing via Zoom instead of being in a physical room with people in Nashville. I was traveling to music city every three weeks or so but I haven’t been back since the beginning of Covid. During the last year, I’ve done a few sets live via Facebook, so that is new territory for me. I miss the stage greatly. It’s where I honestly feel at home. Now that things are opening up, I hope to do a few shows every now and then.

You can follow Jayne Sachs on various social media including:

We want to extend our sincere gratitude to Jayne Sachs for answering our questions and continuing to make some really excellent music! Click on the links throughout the article to visit Jayne’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 Jayne Sachs.

Touchy Feelys on the show this week

This week we joined in the studio with some incredibly authentic Americana musicians, The Touchy Feelys! Their latest record Breakup Songs about Staying Together is available now! Andrea Dawn Courts and Jason Trout — collectively known as The Touchy Feelys — are incredible songwriters and vocalists. The ability to create meaningful songs about the pressures, pushes and pulls of relationships and make those feelings understood within a prism of release for each listener is a rare talent. To call these songs evocative is to give a slender acknowledgement to the portent captured in this record. Produced, engineered and mixed by The Wizard Patrick Himes at Reel Love Studios in Dayton, Ohio, this record captures a raw authentic feel when two voices collide together around a swirl of guitars, drums, upright bass, piano and more. Our good friend Mr. Himes did incredible duty on this record! Patrick contributed drums, guitar, piano, organ, banjo, mandolin, omnichord, xylophone, vibraphone and pedal steel. Yeah, he helped out a little. But no matter the brilliant cacophony, without excellent songwriting and emotional singing, even the best of intentions would fall flat. We are happy to say that is not the situation here. These songs are the real deal.

Whether Andrea Dawn or Jason take the lead, there is an inescapable realization that these songs come from a genuine and authoritative vision. The best moments for me are when they sing together complimenting their individual strengths. Andrea Dawn has voice that draws from great roots voices of the past yet turns her phrasing around into something quite modern and relatable. Jason sings each song as if it is to be the last song he ever sings. These songs should be heard. Any fans of country, folk, Americana and roots music would be well served to give this album a passionate listen. Standouts on the record for us at YTAA include the driving ‘Hard Time,’ the rollicking “If You Weren’t My Lover,” the propulsive “Left Me Lonely” and the pensive “On High Lullaby.”

We are looking forward to speaking with them this week in the studio! Join us from 3-6pm on Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative on WUDR Flyer Radio.

Video of The Day: Lavender Honey – Did It In The Dark

You can see the video on Lavender Honey’s YouTube page! (for some reason the preview does not work)

Dayton’s own neo-soul electronic groovemachine Lavender Honey have a new video for us music lovers! Their latest song ‘Did It In The Dark’ swings with a shimmering electronic swagger. The video was created by OnlyNoise and set in the Zen Lounge in Dayton, Ohio and captures the magical dreamscape that Lavender Honey expertly craft with their music. We are excited about the band’s forthcoming debut album that was recorded with Samuri Sound. You can hear more of their music on the Lavender Honey’s bandcamp page.

Web: www.lavenderhoneymusic.com
Email: info@boggyboyrecords.com
Instagram: @lavender.honey.music @spanishtori @datascott @bigbeatdance

Check out one of Dr. J’s favorite songs from Lavender Honey, In The Evening:

Guests in the Studio

Many thanks to David Scott and Tori Adams of Lavender Honey for joining Dr. J in the studio today to discuss their music, upcoming music video (releases this Friday!!!) and sharing their creative process with us here at Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative. Next week our good friend Paul Monnin of Age Nowhere join us in the studio!

Video of The Day: Flying Colours – Big Mess

‘Big Mess’ was on Flyying Colours Poison City Records‘ release Fantasy Country. The album was released in February of 2021 and brings attention back to melodic big guitar shoegaze indie music! And we adore that sound here at Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative! Do yourself a favor and give the enter record a listen.