Video of the Day: Charlie & Amanda – Call This Home

96112891_2270047886637202_1346419578112049152_nThe first couple of Dayton Country Music have their first single from their upcoming debut record! Harkening back to the classic country duets and duos of classic country past, Charlie & Amanda craft songs that address and document the challenges of real life with heart, sincerity and authenticity. Their music reminds us of the legendary country duos of Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Kenny Rodgers and Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash and June Carter. The most appropriately titled full length album “The King & Queen of Dayton Country” is available for pre-order now at at the duo’s bandcamp page. The record will be available everywhere on July 25, 2020. You owe it to yourself to check out the first single!

Follow them on Facebook!

They have some cool merch as well!

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11 Questions with Amber Hargett

101714517_10163801825875154_1076073664824213504_nThis essay marks our inaugural new YTAA series: ’11 questions with…’. The idea is to learn about the artist and how they create, compose and make artwork in the present moment. We have approached several bands and artists to answer some questions about their latest music, a song that they have recently worked on and how they are managing the current extraordinary challenges during the Coronavirus pandemic.

A hearty thank you to all of the artists and musicians for taking the time to answer these questions! We appreciate you answering these questions for our readers/listeners on YTAA!

A few days ago, Dr. J reached out to Dayton powerhouse singer, songwriter and guitarist Amber Hargett to answer our first ’11 Questions with…’ column. If you do not know, where have you been? No, seriously Amber Hargett released the acclaimed record Paper Trail‘ at the end of March 2019. The artist’s first record included songs with emotional heft ‘Carolina Blue’, surviving the challenges of everyday life ‘Broke’, and the power of real authentic head over heels love ‘Fallin’ for You’ among several other stellar tracks.

HORIZONTAL NAMEMore recently, Amber has finished a new song, Painting Pictures, that addresses several important features of the calling to create music and art. We want to extend our deep appreciation for Amber for answering these questions!

Dr. J: What can you share with us about when and how you started writing your latest released song, Painting Pictures?

Amber Hargett (AH): I spent the first five or six weeks of quarantine in a weird funk. I needed rest, anyway. But I had been struggling to find any motivation to pick up my guitar, write, or perform. One night I couldn’t sleep and started thinking of the kindred spirits I knew who were probably up, too – struggling with expressing their feelings, but determined to keep creating. I wound up staying up until 4 a.m. to finish the song.

Dr. J: You worked closely with Patrick Himes at Reel Love Recording Company here in Dayton, Ohio, what led to your recording with Patrick?

AH: Back in January, I booked studio time for a single (‘Shine On’) in March and additional dates to begin an EP in May. The pandemic led to an automatic cancellation of the March dates, but when May approached and I had new material, Patrick and I felt we could work together safely. We were both eager to get back to work.

a0025564858_16Dr. J: Painting Pictures is a meaningful song for those involved in creative work/pursuits; did you set out to address the concerns and challenges of artists/musicians/creatives when starting to work on that song?

AH: I guess so. The very first line I wrote was, “I’m down here writing music that nobody’s gonna hear.” Because that’s exactly where I was – in a basement, at 1:00 a.m., alone, writing a tune that I was never sure would see the light of day. Every song feels that way at some point. But then I thought of Megan Fiely, my friend and amazing artist, and how she probably felt the same way sometimes about her paintings. I actually completed the third verse of the song first, with her in mind.

Dr. J: Painting Pictures also addresses other forms of work – for example service – is that a correct interpretation of some of the lyrics? In addition, if that is correct, did you intend to address many forms of work or did the song evolve in that direction over time?

AH: Yes, absolutely. My husband is a commercial construction foreman. He hasn’t missed a single day of work for the sake of his health during Ohio’s Stay At Home order. (Except for vacation days I begged him to take, just for mental health and rest.) The idea that SOME work is “essential” and other work is not was a big topic of discussion in our house. Nick called himself “an expendable essential worker”, to express his frustration with the fact he was required to work and finish building a hotel for a major chain. That really stuck in my craw, as they say. While we are very grateful for the steady income, we both struggled with the fact that Nick was expected to keep on working – at the risk of his health – for something that seemed like it could wait?

On the other hand, I felt as though artists and songwriters and such were just considered unimportant during these times. For me and my cohorts, it is unlikely unemployment will ever be granted, yet I’ve already lost a couple thousand dollars in promised gigs and in merchandise costs that I doubt I’ll recoup. I guess the main point is: everyone’s work is essential. It all matters. If you’re writing songs, building infrastructure, creating art, or serving and ministering to your own family or the community, it’s all essential.

0020197789_10Dr. J: How did the song come together musically for you? I began with writing lines that would fit the cadence of the last line of each verse, and then worked backwards to create a “character” for each segment of the song.

AH: Where do you often derive inspiration to make music? Oh boy. Many sources. Sometimes it’s my most passionate opinions on a sensitive subject, (like ‘Churchmouse’), personal experiences, or it’s observational, like in Painting Pictures. I also like the challenge of stepping inside someone else’s shoes and trying to present their voice through a song – but only if I have something personal to lend to it. Otherwise I think it would feel disingenuous. Listening to other people’s music is also a huge pathway to writing new music. Especially LIVE music! Experiencing someone else’s work is a constant source of inspiration. A sound, a chord change, a vocal moment, or its presentation often sparks something in my brain to take home.

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 Paper Trail to Painting Pictures)?

AH: Well, Paper Trail was really a “catching up” project, composed mostly of songs that existed for several years. I dusted them off and “hodge-podged” a record together. I liken it to making a quilt out of scrap fabric. Don’t get me wrong! I love how she turned out. But it was also my first fully-produced recording experience, so there was a learning curve.

Since then, I would say there has been more of a change in me as an artist than in the writing or creative process. I feel myself maturing and growing more comfortable calling myself a songwriter. I’ve finally begun to embrace it, and I think that shows.

Recording ‘Painting Pictures’ was such a pleasure because Patrick and I had already established a great working chemistry both in the studio and as band-mates. It was also the first time I was writing something especially relevant, so I felt more of an urgency to share it. There was a time I would have sat on the song and poked holes in it a few months before I dared record it.

100731620_3890002181041330_5834964301433012224_oDr. J: What is next for you musically? How would you describe your thoughts at this point for your next project after Painting Pictures?

AH: The next project will be unlike what I’ve done so far. It will be an EP featuring a collection of songs that feel connected to one another, and with a sound that suggests they come from another time. My artistic vision for this work is far more specific and I can’t wait to get started. The grouping will include ‘Churchmouse’ which is by far my heaviest writing yet, but a piece I feel is incredibly important for me to take to a fully-produced form. Overall, the EP will have a darker tone, but it will still contain glimmers of hope and light. Something I intend to be true of the majority of my writing and performances.

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

AH: In a solo set, I think Somebody Loves You will always be my favorite song to perform. It is the first song I memorized, and I think it’s because I feel it’s message is the most important. Once in a while I can hear the crowd sing the phrase and it moves me to tears.

With the band? Probably ‘Without You’. That song is the prayer of my heart and one of the most personal from Paper Trail. Fun fact: Brian Greaney insists that song go on every set list! Ha ha!

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

AH: That they are loved, seen and appreciated.

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

AH: From a business perspective? I am forcing myself to apply my 10+ years experience s174958706945291087_p3_i1_w1815in advertising and branding (in my past life) to promote myself and the new music. I eternally loathe this part of being an artist. But, the quarantine did offer me time to get an online merch store up and running, which helps out here and there.

Musically, it is harder to find inspiration. The loss of live shows is definitely taking a toll on the inspiration bank. But I have also taken some of this time to reach out to my other artist friends and encourage them to keep doing their thing. I think the community here is looking out for one another in big ways, and that encourages me! It will make our reunions that much sweeter.

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Amber is playing a safe socially distancing show at The Yellow Cab Tavern tonight! Please check with Yellow Cab regarding their procedures for a fun and safe event! Then on Saturday, May 30th, Amber is joining other luminaries of the Dayton Music Scene for a virtual concert, Tip Jar: A Show of Thanks to benefit hospitality workers.

Thanks again to Amber for answering these questions! If you would like to participate in a future ’11 Questions with…’ column, please feel free to email us at drjytaa@gmail.com. If you have, a particular picture you would like used in the article, please feel free to attach that as well. All pictures and images of Amber Hargett courtesy of the artist.

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Amber Hargett on Bandcamp     Amber Hargett on Facebook

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Video of The Day: The Nautical Theme – One More Left

One More Left is the second single from the album Lows+Highs, the second full length album from The Nautical Theme.

Story behind the song: Thinking about how One More Left came together for Lows and Highs as this delicate, sweet, and simple arrangement, prominently featuring Tesia playing the mountain dulcimer, it’s funny to remember that the song once had a completely different life as a failed synth-laden indie-pop song. But, this helps to reinforce some of the message and imagery of the song. Despite dark clouds overhead, we can find the strength to try again, at least one more time. Somewhere between the destruction of the six-piece indie band Tesia and Matt fronted and the formation of The Nautical Theme, the duo, along with long-time friend and musical collaborator, Justin Smith, dabbled in synth driven pop. Eventually, that project led Tesia and Matt back to the acoustic, harmony driven music The Nautical Theme has established as their own. The theme of the song is one of picking yourself back up again, finding that you have “one more left”. Matt proposed that, based on the strength of the melodies, the song could be reworked for Lows and Highs. As the album took shape, it became one of the duo’s favorites.

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YTAA 15 Year Anniversary Show

This weekend is our 15th Anniversary of Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative. We have bands who represent a wide swath of great independent music joining us to celebrate this milestone. We are very excited for the 15 Year Anniversary Weekend at the Yellow Cab Tavern on Friday and Saturday!

Celebrating a decade and a half on the airways of the University of Dayton’s WUDR 99.5fm Flyer Radio has taken Dr. J and Mrs. Dr. J by surprise! What started as a show built around a popular music course has become an effort to share terrific Dayton, regional and independent music with listeners.

This weekend music experience features a baker’s dozen of artists from Dayton and beyond whose music we have played over the years. Many of these bands and artists have been frequent guests on the show as you can see through some of the videos here on this site! It is a real honor to have the opportunity to share this music with all of you this weekend! See you there!

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Video of the Day: Smug Brothers

Smug Brothers’ All Blur & Spark, out on CD on Gas Daddy Go Records on Monday, July 8

From the band:  Fifteen years since forming as a home recording outfit, Smug Brothers continue to find new ways to shake things up creatively. That’s certainly true of the new full-length, All Blur and Spark. Work on the Ohio band’s latest offering on Gas Daddy Go Records began before the February 2019 release of the crowd-funded vinyl album, Attic Harvest, and was curated by some of the group’s supporters.

“The songs were the result of the Attic Harvest fundraiser,” leader Kyle Melton said. “We offered contributors the option to have a custom song recorded as part of their contribution and 11 people participated. Each person was offered to choose an acoustic or full-band track and was then given a list of five titles from which to choose.

“We then recorded the songs quickly in late 2018 in time to send a CD copy of each song out with each person’s vinyl copy of Attic Harvest. When we had completed that project, we realized the 11 tracks would make a cool fan-curated album worth sharing with more people. We got each person’s permission to use their track and put it all together. And here we are at All Blur And Spark.”

Before these two 2019 albums, there were the studio projects with Darryl Robbins at BHA in Dayton (Woodpecker Paradise, 2015) and Micah Carli at Popside Recording in Troy, Ohio (Disco Maroon, 2017). Following these experiments in higher fidelity and the departure of lead guitarist Brian Baker and bassist Larry Evans, Melton and drummer Don Thrasher returned to the home-recording approach they’ve favored since joining forces in 2008.

“We really enjoyed recording studio albums with Darryl and Micah,” Thrasher said. “We’re proud of how those full-lengths turned out but working like that takes a lot of time in pre-production and post-production, not to mention tracking and overdubs. That’s how most bands make records but it’s not a very Smug way to work. Kyle and I prefer to get in the basement, take a few runs through a song and then lay it to the four-track cassette recorder while the material is still fresh.”

Melton and Thrasher perfected that approach on early releases like the digital LP Fortune Rumors (2011) and the cassette EP Strictly Triggers (2014), recording overdubs and vocals with Robbins (Overthought Musik, Motel Beds) as engineer/co-producer. That changed with Attic Harvest and All Blur And Spark, a one-two-punch that shows there’s still a lot of life left in this scrappy band of rockers.

It also marks a period of firsts. These are the first projects recorded with Melton at the helm in his basement studio and the first with the band’s new guitarist/keyboardist Scott Tribble, who is opening up new sonic dimensions in the music.

Being fully self-contained has also allowed Smug Brothers to increase its pace in Melton’s basement, with the group deep into sessions for several forthcoming releases. With the looming 20th anniversary of the band’s debut CD LP Buzzmounter (2005), it’s evident this scrappy outfit from Ohio will continue to grow.

Listen to All Blur And Spark at: https://gasdaddygo.bandcamp.com/album/gdg-024-all-blur-and-spark-cd

Activism, Local and New

DSC_0001On the show today we have an interesting mix of powerful songs, local music and new music! We have brand new music from BRAT CURSEMike GaleCharlie Jackson and the Heartland RailwayThe Paint SplatsShrugThe Typical JohnsonsMike Bankhead MusicTrue lies and Age Nowhere!

We also have some inspiring political activism courtesy of Iggy And The StoogesIron & WineChuck Prophet OfficialThe ClashThe Sex PistolsThe RamonesHusker Du (band) and The Skids!

We also have tunes from The Story ChangesSeth Canan & The CarriersnovenaDavid PayneSadboxSmug BrothersGretchen’s WheelCage The ElephantTrees & Wells MusicThe Boxcar SuiteDementia PrecoxGuided By Voices and several songs from Steve Makofka!

Speaking of the talented and kind Mr. Makofka — he is our guest this week to talk about his activism and the work he has been doing on strengthening families! So, 3-6pm on WUDR for Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative!

Steve Makofka returns to YTAA to Discuss Strong Families

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Freight on YTAA

39751125_2100024070315564_2545344842498572288_oThis Tuesday join us as we welcome Freight to Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative

This week one of the youngest bands in Dayton joins a slightly older — shut up with your judgement — Dr. J on Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative. In the spring of 2017, five friends got together with the goal of creating catchy, funky, rock and roll. From that musical inspiration, Freight was born. The band is known for high energy, genre crossing, odd time signatures, blended with driving rock and roll. In the spring of 2018, Freight released their debut album, “Start the Night Off Easy” under Gem City Records which you can listen to on spotify. Their sophomore album is in the works for everyone. 

BandYou should make some time to join us on Tuesday as Freight joins us in the studio to play some acoustic tunes and chat about their first and making second records on Tuesday, May 7th from 3-6pm on WUDR on 99.5 & 98.1fm and online at wudr.udayton.edu! See you there music lovers!

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Today’s Program Best of 2018

your-tuesday-afternoon-color copyThe annual look back at the previous year in music is one of our favorite shows to do! This year Tom Gilliam joins Dr. J and Flower to play and discuss some of the best local, indie, alternative, folk, Americana, alt-country and more that came out in 2018!

We give thanks for great independent music by playing an assortment of local, Dayton, and indie songs! What songs have been so powerful on you that you cannot imagine your world without them?

During the show contribute to the discussion by giving us a call 937-229-2774 or a tweet for drjwudr with the songs that were released in 2018 that matter to you.

Join us online at wudr.udayton.edu or 99.5 & 98.1fm in Dayton, Ohio, USA!

Novena on YTAA

On October 23, 2018 an exciting band Novena joined us in the studio! Jennifer Taylor and Emma Lee Woodruff bring a wealth of experience to the songs that they play. Novena play some powerful folk rock with a few unexpected covers. If you have a chance to see them, we highly recommend that you take this musical journey.

Nathan and Kim of Far From Eden

This past Tuesday we had a blast with Nathan Goff and Kimberly Weiss of Far From Eden! Their latest record Time For A Falling Sky is out now! Many thanks to Kim and Nate for joining us in the studio! You can see them on July 21st at Oscars and July 27th at the Yellow Cab Tavern!

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Thanks to The Next One Up Sextet

DSC_0107This past week we were joined by a cool jazz group in town, The Next One Up Sextet. The Next One Up Sextet is a cool music group performing America’s music, Jazz. Super swinging, cool and hip, with swanky, jump, jive, and wail thrown into the mix for good measure. The group features Ayn Wood on vocals. Don’t pigeonhole them, they play Jazz, Bebop and Swing!  They often play at Hannah’s in Dayton.  If you get a chance to see them, take the plunge. You will not be disappointed. During their stop on YTAA, we talked about jazz, how they select standard and current songs to perform, the challenges of forming a group with busy musicians and to top it all off they played three songs for us live in the studio! We hope to convince them to return!