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

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

New Show Today!

Hello There music lovers!

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

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

As always: Support Your Local Music Scene!

11 Questions with… Chad Wells

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook     Twitter at @cricketbows     Instagram at Cricketbows

Spotify    Bandcamp     YouTube at CricketbowsOfficial

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

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11 Questions with… Jeffrey Dean Foster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook     Twitter at @songboyfoster     Instagram at JeffreyDeanFoster

Spotify    Bandcamp     YouTube

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

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11 Questions with… Kailynn West

101714517_10163801825875154_1076073664824213504_nThe seventh installment of 11 Questions… comes courtesy of Kailynn West of Tiny Stills. It is difficult to separate Tiny Stills from her vision!

In 2015, after an unexpected situation left an opening on a national tour with Anthony Raneri and John-Allison Weiss, guitarist, songwriter and vocalist Kailynn West stepped in at the literal last minute to finish the tour with her power-pop project Tiny Stills.

LA-based Tiny Stills have released some of the most engaging and catchy emotional indie power pop beginning with a series of terrific songs and albums including the excellent “Falling is like Flying” from 2014 and the independently released “Laughing Into the Void” in 2018!  Recently, the band has released a series of compelling and catchy singles!

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104164797_1857630154373724_1517628563165917919_oTiny Stills arose from intense personal experience as a direct response to West’s experience being held up at gunpoint in 2011 and as a way to work through the inevitable social fallout that occurs so often after traumatic experiences.  Tiny Stills craft honest and intense songs with powerful guitars and inescapable melodies that pay homage to early ’90s and 2000s indie and pop-punk. At the end of the day, Tiny Stills and the music they make is an effort to remind you that even the worst days have a silver lining, that at the very least you are not alone in an overwhelming world.

a4066922409_10Dr. J: What can you share with us about when and how you started writing your latest released song, “Craigslist Bed“?

Kailynn West (KN): It started as inspiration after a most recent breakup. I had to move out of my apartment and start over. Specifically – I didn’t have a bed. The apartment I now live in (a garage, with a bathroom, literally.) came with a bed that the previous tenant left. I was otherwise going to look at craigslist beds because I didn’t have one at the time, but I ended up just keeping this one. It all worked out! But it was definitely the inspiration behind the song.

Dr. J: Tiny Stills evolved out of a personal experience for you, can you describe that experience and how it shaped the formation of the band?

KW: I was held up at gunpoint in about 8 years ago in Los Angeles. After that, I had a hard time relating to people and connecting. People couldn’t understand what I was going through, rightfully so, and I was dealing with coping with trauma and PTSD. I lost a lot of friends and my social circle during that time, and so I started writing music to try to work through some of the pain I was feeling trying to function. Tiny Stills was originally a solo project, that has morphed into a band. I’ve found that sharing
my story helps me connect with people, so I try to write honest songs.

Dr. J: “Craigslist Bed” is a meaningful song for all of us who deal with challenging relationship and the breakup of relationships; did you set out to address those concerns and challenges of when starting to work on that song?

KW: 100 percent yes. Particularly the bed, and do have a key ring with a million keys on it and I don’t really know which ones I need to keep at any given time.

a1000195355_10Dr. J: A previous song “Everything is Going Great” is a powerful song for the current moment we all find ourselves in today. Do you think that is a correct interpretation of some of the lyrics? Can they apply to the world today? Or would you say the focus should be more internal to the individual?

KW: I think songs are meant to be interpreted however feels best for the listener. For me, this song was about an internal battle of trying to pretend everything was OK, but I do think that’s a very universal experience, and definitely applies to today- mostly because the title of the song is sarcastic!

Dr. J:  How did “Everything is Going Great” come together musically for you?

KW: It came together pretty fast. I actually do a “song origin” on my patreon where I break down the different levels of demos- from the very first voice memo, with different lyrics and melody, to the demo we took into the studio, to the final version. It evolved pretty naturally, but it did start in a different place than where it ended up.

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

KW: I have something I need to get off my chest.

a4048710410_10Dr. 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 the album “Laughing Into the Void” to the current single “Craigslist Bed“?

KW: I’ve gotten better at self editing. With “Laughing Into the Void” I wrote a song and it was done. Now I go back and I’ll rework the chorus multiple times until it says exactly what I want it to say, or until I can’t get it out of my head. “Craigslist Bed” originally had a completely different Chorus! I do a “song origin” breakdown of that one on Patreon too. I’ve just gotten more critical of my writing and where I want the song to land.

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

KW: We have new music coming out basically every month. Our next two singles are coming out August 7 and September 25th. They are two songs that were meant to be on the EP we were originally planning on releasing on our EP in April 2020! The second single is called “Resting in Pieces” and the third single doesn’t have a title yet!

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

KW: My favorite song to perform right now is “Small Talk” because it’s a straightforward fun pop/rock song and when the band comes in live, we feel huge.

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

KW: That just because you’ve failed at something, it doesn’t make you a failure.

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

a2642919434_10KW: I’m spending time working on myself. It’s leveled the playing field – No one can tour. We only have our songs now. I’m honing my craft and trying to elevate my work so it’s more than just noise. I think you have to practice being honest with yourself, and this is one of those difficult times when no one can really ‘look away’ we can only look at the problems we’ve created for ourselves as a society. I don’t like saying that we’re going to ‘get a lot of good art out of this (quarantine/the COVID crisis)’ because artists are under the same kind of pressure everyone else is, and our industry was collapsing years before COVID. Touring was one of the last ways musicians could make money. Artists can’t survive on streaming royalties- please directly support the artists that you like if you want them to continue making music. Between the death of album sales and now touring, we sure could use a break. I just want to survive this in more ways than one.

You can follow Kailynn West and Tiny Stills on various social media including:

Facebook     Twitter at @tinystills     Instagram at TinyStills     Links     Spotify    Bandcamp

YTAA MonsterWe want to extend our sincere gratitude to Kailynn for answering our questions and continuing to make some really excellent music! Click on the links throughout the article to visit Tiny Still’s Bandcamp page! Thanks again! 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 care of Kailynn West.

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Today’s YTAA Playlist

The playlist today includes new music from Lydia Loveless, Al Holbrook, Bob Mould, Chris Forsyth, The Beths, Momma, Mike Bankhead and Tino, Waxahatchee, Speaking Suns, Rufrano, Nada Surf and more! Plus music from David Payne, Wussy, The Story Changes, The Typical Johnsons, Shrug, The Pullouts, Tim Pritchard, The 1984 Draft, The Nautical Theme, The Flamin’ Groovies, Me & Mountains, The Mayflies USA, Toxic Reasons, The Regrettes, American Werewolf Academy, Ass Ponys, Greg Dulli, Son Volt and Samantha Crain.

Some looking back indie courtesy of James, The Smiths, Graham Parker and The Rumour and Brainiac. And a live classic from The Replacements! We pay some small tribute to far overlooked songwriter Emitt Rhodes.

So give the playlist a listen or three!

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Interview Part 2 with Charlie & Amanda

It was a real pleasure to talk with Charlie and Amanda about their music! The new record ‘The King & Queen of Dayton Country‘ is available this Saturday! You can follow them on Facebook! Their CD release is happening this Saturday at the Yellow Cab Tavern. Check the Yellow Cab Tavern’s page for information regarding the social distancing requirements and policies.

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Video of The Day: Semi-Functional – ‘Talking About Ourselves Among Ourselves’ (acoustic)

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An exciting new band to check into is Semi-Functional. Find them on Facebook and Twitter! Scroll over to their bandcamp page and give a listen to their music! You will be glad that you did!

Interview with Charlie & Amanda Part 1!

Part one of our interview with Charlie & Amanda Jackson about their new record, ‘The King & Queen of Dayton Country,’ recording, songwriting and their approach to music. We can consider this record to be a powerful return to a classic country duet sound that has been missing for quite some time. Check out their Facebook page! You can find their music on bandcamp! They are playing a safe outdoor show at the Yellow Cab Tavern on Saturday! Please check the Yellow Cab Tavern’s page regarding their policies for a social distancing outdoor show!

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