2018 was a great year of growth for us, culminating in the release of our Self-titled EP at the Home for the HoliDAZE festival.
We began as a duo of just Bob and me in November, and when Butch asked to join around December we needed a bass to anchor our sound. Butch wasn't a bass player by trade but picked up the rudiments quickly, and we were out playing shows as a trio with a little preparation. Something was definitely missing from our sound, but we still managed to piece together some great songs and performed at many of the spots we'd always wanted to like the Mill and Awendaw Green by June of 2018. We started off strictly acoustic, and a foray into electric guitar was short lived for me. The semi-hollow body Jay Turser I had picked up (my first electric) was causing aches and pains in my wrists and hands I hadn't felt before, and the tone control at live shows with the electric was and is something I haven't mastered. I quickly went back to my Takamine G-Series, my go-to guitar. The electric experiment yielded some fresh perspectives on chord usage and overall tone that I brought back to acoustic delivery. Maybe sometime in the future we'll introduce it again and piss off our fans.
At the start of Fall 2018 (September?!) Butch was unable to attend a show at CommonHouse Aleworks, and we recruited Drew Washington as a fill in bassist. We had all met the summer before and performed at the benefit for Emmanuel AME. We were all part of the Dear Charleston Project, which is based around a song our friend Dan Riley wrote and performs in memory of the victims of that tragedy and for the survivors. I was in the choir with Butch, and Bob and Drew were the rhythm section at that event. Joan Baez was the headliner that day, so we enjoy telling everyone we opened for her (not as a band)! We knew immediately there was chemistry on a musical, professional, and personal level so we quickly began rearranging our lineup to include him. Drew and Bob also function as the rhythm section for Dan Riley and have begun recording with him as well.
The recording process! Long, grueling, difficult, taxing, and frustrating at times. All this was eased by working with Cody McGuire of Cambirela Productions, who is featured on the album as the lead guitar and engineer. We met at our day job when I was discussing releasing a video for the band. He made my first recording experience feel comfortable, and his additions to our songs were always tasteful enhancements of the original material. We finished the process in October and released it on Dec. 29th, 2018 with just two days left in the year. I'll never schedule a release in the middle of the holidays again if I can help it!
I always like to find out people's motivations and the factors that allow them to succeed in an endeavor like this, so here are a few tips and ideas that have assisted me:
- Faith: Regardless of how you practice, however you connect with the universe, whether you're atheist, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, some type of connection with the grander scheme of things is empowering and humbling simultaneously. Have a sangha, or group to connect with. I personally practice Nichiren Buddhism with the SGI International, a lay buddhist organization that originated in Japan. I could go on, but that's for another blog, another time!
-Respect: Fellow musicians, bands, member's families, the venues that book you and the people that work there. Always recognize the people who create opportunities, thank them for having you even if things go wrong, and never see the next band as competition. Remember to apply this principle to yourself as well. If someone asks to sit in or wants time on the mic and you're uncomfortable, say no. If a band member is misrepresenting you, talk it out. On the flip side of this, as you're beginning in the scene, never say no to an opportunity. Take what you can and create a name for yourself. At least get a bar tab though! Never play for free unless it's for charity, and never pass up an opportunity to give back if you can afford to! Recognize you are part of a community and find the best way to contribute to it.
-Integrity: Never bad mouth anyone, always be on time, deliver the best performance possible. If an individual or party violates their end of a deal feel free to share with other musicians, but keep it private, between friends. If you make an appointment, keep it. If you have a date on the books, be there on time. If you run up a tab, remember to pay it! (screwed that one up twice but returned the next day)
2019 Started with a few shows, a TV appearance, and plans for more festivals and events! Stay tuned...