WARMFEST - SAT AUG 31 - SINGLE DAY TICKETS, Mayer Hawthorne
Delta Spirit, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., RJD2, Kopecky Family Band, We Are Hex, Roadkill Ghost Choir, The Pieces, John Larner, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, Party Lines, Sleeping Bag, Denney & The Jets, Pravada, The Lonely Wild, Coyote Armada, Andy D, Know No Stranger, Gentlemen Hall, Gabby Love, Ranch Ghost, Brooks & Daegar, kyle long, Lockstar, Cadillac G, Dolfish, Magnetic, Anderson East, Fortissimo
1550 Broad Ripple Avenue
Indianapolis, IN, 46220
Doors 10:00 AM / Show 11:00 AM (event ends at 10:00 PM)
Watch & Listen
WARMFEST - SAT AUG 31 - SINGLE DAY TICKETS
Mayer Hawthorne grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, just outside of Detroit, and vividly remembers, as a child, driving with his father and tuning the car radio in to the rich soul and jazz history the region provided. "Most of the best music ever made came out of Detroit," claims the singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, who counts Isaac Hayes, Leroy Hutson, Mike Terry, and Barry White among his influences, but draws the most inspiration from the music of Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield, and the legendary songwriting and production trio of Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, and Eddie Holland Jr. ~ Ronnie Reese (Wax Poetics / Rollingstone.com)
When it came time to record Delta Spirit's third album, the band members knew one thing: It was time to shake off the stylistic labels that have shadowed them since they formed in San Diego, CA, in 2005. Though lyricists Matt Vasquez and Kelly Winrich were grateful for the warm reviews that their previous albums Ode To Sunshine (2008) and History From Below (2010) received, they were perplexed at being called "rootsy Americana" or "twangy folk." In their eyes, Delta Spirit has always been a thoroughly modern rock band, and, with their self-titled new album, they set out to prove it.
We found the sound that we've been looking for, that we've been growing into, and as soon as we hit on it, we ran with it," Vasquez says. "That's why it's a self-titled record, so we could connect our identity with the album, because this album is what we think Delta Spirit is. People make records for their time and we wanted to make one for our time. Just like novelists want to write the Great American Novel, we wanted to make a Great American Record. Not one about yesterday, but one about right now."
To help them realize their vision, Delta Spirit recruited producer Chris Coady, not only for his indie-rock credentials (he's worked with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, Beach House, and Smith Westerns, among others), but also because, with five strongly opinionated band members, Delta Spirit needed a producer who wouldn't be pushed around easily. "We also wanted a great engineer and someone who knew how to make sounds that didn't sound stock and average," Vasquez says of Coady, who brought in a home-built synthesizer, which was used on the song "Home."
The band also experimented sonically, creating layers of texture by using previously verboten instruments like MPC samples and drum machines. They also empowered their new guitarist, Will McLaren, to create stand-alone parts, and to go to town on electric instruments. The experimentation can be heard throughout the album, which opens with the rollicking
opening number "Empty House," and serves as a transition between Delta Spirit's previous sound and its new one. "The intention was to introduce the album with something that hints at what we used to sound like," Winrich says. "We wanted to ease people into it." The band, who recorded the album at Dreamland — a converted church built in 1896 in Woodstock, New York — also upended traditional song structures, playing around with writing songs with no choruses ("California") and generally throwing off simple verse-chorus-bridge conventions, making sure each verse felt different from the one that preceded it.
When it came to lyrical content, Vasquez and Winrich stuck to what they knew. "We're not hearkening back to anything in the lyrics," Vasquez says. "We're writing about situations that are mostly personal. I think the topic of love has affected us the most." The most direct approach comes from Winrich. "My songs all seem to pertain to one situation, a failed relationship," he says. "'Anyone who's been in a long-distance situation will be able to relate to 'California.' 'Otherside' is about being delusional and holding onto something that may or may not be real, and 'Time Bomb' is about being blind to what the future holds and how happiness and sadness are kind of intertwined."
Several (though not all) of Vasquez's songs tend to make their points through the perspective of others, a style favored by some of his favorite songwriters, including Tom Waits and Nick Cave. On "Empty House," he takes on the persona of a construction worker who is seeing the Dharma in his work. "This guy is mixing concrete and suddenly notices the tiny glinting specks in it," Vasquez explains. "He begins to wonder 'What got me here? Where am I headed' and relating that little speck to his life." "Tellin' The Mind" is about Colton Harris Moore, the teenager known as the Barefoot Bandit who became an internet sensation after committing several burglaries, and stealing and crashing a plane. "I loved him," Vasquez says. "I thought he deserved an anthem." "Tear It Up" was originally inspired by the events in Egypt during the Arab spring, but morphed into a more universal song about what can happen with people get together with a common goal. Vasquez's most personal song is "Yamaha," which he wrote for his wife when she grew upset about his being away on tour for long stretches of time. "I felt like shit but I couldn't do anything. A guy's first instinct is to fix it, but you can't when you're three time zones away, so I wrote this song for her."
The album's raucous energy and no-holds barred performances will appeal to Delta Spirit's fanbase, which has grown consistently thanks to their explosive live shows. The band, who have completed headlining tours of the U.S. and Europe and appeared at SXSW, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Coachella, are looking forward to hitting the road and playing the new songs. "There's no other experience on earth like playing music with people and feeling that kinetic energy," Vasquez says. "I want to do it even when I'm old and it's ridiculous to see me on stage. If I can hold on to even a tenth of the feeling we have when we're playing, I'll be happy."
Matt Vasquez (lead vocals, guitar), Kelly Winrich (keyboards, vocals, drums), Jonathan Jameson (bass), Brandon Young (drums/percussion), Will McLaren (guitar, vocals)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
""Formed in late 2009, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is the off-kilter title under which Detroit-area natives Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott record, release and perform music.
Initially beginning as an exercise in collaboration undertaken with very little intention of ever being publicly consumed, the band's trajectory has been as unexpected as it has been unlikely. In just a few short years, fans have seen the project grow from basement recording project--to media curiosity--to an international touring ensemble widely recognized for their joy-fueled live offerings.
While Epstein and Zott have no ties to popular NASCAR circuit driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. nor his late father, the band's peculiar name was initially suggested to the duo on a lark. The pair assert that the strange moniker has been kept in tact due to the freedom they came to realize such a title gave them to explore whatever musical endeavors they could think up. "The idea being", Epstein says, "that if one can accept a band being named Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., then you've already opened yourself up to listening to anything that band can come up with. You've already decided to leave expectations behind".
From that mantra, the foundation of their partnership was built. Each having spent a good deal of time in various recording and performance environments prior to working with one another, Epstein & Zott set out to explore the many intricacies of cross-genre songwriting and production together with a willingness to borrow as much from the Beach Boys as the Geto Boys if it meant a more dynamic form of pop music. An organic vs. synthesized perspective which by necessity lacked a specified audience or desired outcome, outside of challenging oneself."
10 years! My god, that is a LIFETIME! I cant believe I have been making records on a national level for 10 years. In 1999, I was just making these little beats in my bedroom for release on an independent label. Fast forward to 2009, and I'm….making these little beats in my bedroom for release on an independent label. Ok, to be fair, some things have changed; a bigger studio, I OWN the studio, I OWN the independent label, and instead of driving 10 blocks to a gig in m hometown, I fly 10 hours to a gig in another country. But when it all comes down to its most base level, the goal is still the same: to make a piece of music that is going to hopefully rearrange your brain, or at least provide some relief from real life for a moment or two. So let's take a look at what's happened over the course of those 10 years….
Things all started in Columbus, OH with Fondle 'em records and a rap group I was in called the MHz. We did a few 12" singles in the late 90's on (the now defunct) Fondle 'em, which lead to one of the members, Copywrite, doing a record on (the now defunct) Eastern Conference, which I produced some of. Those early singles also brought me to the attention of Definitive Jux, with whom I signed to(after having my demo turned down by virtually EVERY label in the US and UK that did anything remotely instrumental or weird in hiphop!). After a few singles and songs came out in 2001 under "rjd2", 2002 saw the release of "Dead Ringer", my first solo album. That year became the first in a series of whirlwinds that seem to change shape annually, but never slow down. I toured the world for the first time-Europe/Japan/the US several times, licensed music to an auto company of yesteryear called Saturn, spent time opening for DJ Shadow, and moved to Philadelphia. The following year of 2003 saw the release of "The Horror EP", remixes for Massive Attack, Mos Def, Polyphonic Spree(among MANY others), more touring, and the release of the first Soul Position album, "8 Million Stories". While traveling the states in support of the Soul Position album, I had my MPC plugged into the cigarette lighter of a rented minivan, feverishly slaving away. These tracks I made during drives across the US would become the 2004 album "Since We Last Spoke". By then, "Dead Ringer" had surpassed 75,000 copies worldwide, and had gotten a fair amount of attention, including folks like David Lynch and Mark Ecko, among others.
With the 2004 release of "Since We Last Spoke", I hit the road for my first headlining tour ever. Armed with 4 turntables, an mpc and a video rig, I made my way across the US and Europe for the third year in a row. The production work for other artists also continued for both rappers and singers(Diverse, Tweet, Fallout Boy,Cage, etc). But unbeknownst to the rest of the world, this year was critical in the path that lead me to where I am now: I made the decision to not resign with Definitive Jux. It was really my first move outside of a comfort zone, and into uncharted territory. It was also the start of realizing a vision of being my own boss, both creatively AND business-wise. 2004 was also the beginning of my love affair with "vintage" synthesizers and restoring them; this would lead to things later…
The next few years saw the release of many side projects: a 2nd Soul Position LP-"Things Go Better With RJ and Al", a collaboration with Aceyalone-"Magnificent City", the scoring of my first video game-"Mark Ecko's Getting Up", and the usual remixes and production work for other artists. I also contributed to the cookbook "I Like Food, Food Tastes Good", a cookbook of musicians' recipes. Still waiting for a Vol. 2 so I can include my homemade apple/walnut/raisin pie. Of course, I toured to support the records this year as well(I have traversed the continental US at least once a year since 2001-watch out for my comprehensive guide to espresso in America). But throughout this period of 2005-2006, I was working on some recordings that would mark the furthest reaches of anything I had done to date….
These recordings became 2007's "The Third Hand", a record that was done with a specific methodology in mind: get as far as I could using strictly my own resources. This meant using the MPC sampler, as I always had for my solo records, but primarily for the drums. But save for a few small passages, all of the instrumentation was performed by myself in a studio I had spent years building up to mimic the types of keyboards/guitars/amps/synths/etc that would have appeared on the types of records I COULD have been sampling. And in keeping with the intent of weaning myself off of the samples I had relied on for so long, I took on the duties of vocalist as well. My take on "sample based music" had always been to try and make things that felt like pop records, in the sense that they had a vocal element, but had the urgency and immediacy of funk or hip-hop records. To boot, I arrived at the decision to do the record on XL recordings, as I felt they believed in the record the most. Thus, 2007 was a year that many saw as one of departures, but to me was more another stop in what is hopefully a long journey. I decided at a point that I'd rather look back on a varied catalog that was interesting and challenging, than one of multiple attempts at the same vibe, with varying degrees of success. Furthermore, I just cant get excited about doing the same thing over and over. And if I cant get excited about the music im making, how can I expect someone else to?
Which brings us to now. After two years of touring as a headliner in support of "The Third Hand" with a full band, as well as winning my first award, ASCAP'S best TV Theme for my recording the Mad Men theme-its time for my 4th solo album, "The Colossus". As "The Third Hand" was my first TRULY solo album, with NO guest performances whatsoever, I decided to do the opposite of sorts this time: an album that is as collaborative as possible; an "overview" of all the different types of working approaches ive used over the years; some strictly sample-based material, some live; some guest vocalists, a few songs I sing,; both instrumental and vocal. As this was all tracked at the same time, I think it has a cohesive feel to it. Featuring Phonte Coleman(Little Brother, Foreign Exchange), Kenna(Star Trak, VA Beach), Aaron Livingston(The Roots' "Guns Are Drawn"), Columbus mc's The Catalyst, Illogic, and NP, and a slew of instrumentalists, I think I can safely say this is the most sonically lush and varied record I've ever done.
The last piece of the puzzle is that this record marks the first album I will release on my own label, RJ's Electrical Connections. In addition to re-acquiring the master recordings to ALL of my Definitive Jux catalog, and re-releasing them, this marks a massive step towards being completely working on my own terms, artistically and business-wise. Cheers-here's to many more to hopefully come.
Kopecky Family Band
Kids Raising Kids out 4/2/13 via ATO Records
Sometimes song is thicker than blood.
First drawn together amid a college dorm ‘pass the guitar’ session in 2007, Kopecky Family Band co-founders Kelsey Kopecky and Gabe Simon quickly realized that they shared something beyond their alma mater.
“Gabe started playing and I was totally blown away,” Kopecky remembers, “by his melodies, his talent. Something in the way he played felt so familiar to me and moving. I asked him if he wanted to get together and play some, sing some. And a few days later we did that. And it was crazy, it came together immediately– it just fit.”
“I had just met her,” remembers Simon, “but when we sang together, it sounds corny, but it felt like we’d known each other forever. Old souls meeting again. We were finishing each others lyrics, just immediately connected in the music.”
This synergy propelled the duo forward and within months they had wrangled the rest of their sonic siblings – Steven Holmes on lead guitar, David Krohn on drums, Markus Midkiff on cello, and Corey Oxendine on bass - making them six in total. Within the year the burgeoning Family had released an EP, Embraces, and embarked on a nearly nonstop touring schedule, garnering fans around the country and developing both their sound… and their ties with one another.
“When we were originally trying to figure out a name,” says Simon “we felt that Kelsey’s last name had the right ring to it and we added the ‘family’ because that’s really what it feels like when we all play together.”
And that is what it sounds like, too.
The Kopecky Family Band are built on a foundation of intimately connected musical tones, warm and welcoming melodies, bright and epic symphonic layering - and vocal harmonies that recall all the greats – Gram and Emmylou, June and Johnny and onward and up…
You can hear the band’s hometown of Nashville in this music too, the rich history of place - but past is always brought gently into present. This is not country, not pop, not folk, not rock, but something much more complex - call it a Brave New Nashville. It is a music that contains all the comfort of home while simultaneously embracing a bright, energetic openness - a willingness to explore and expand.
Over the past few years there have been two more EPs from the band – The Disaster and Of Epic Proportions (both released in 2010) – as well as a split 7” with Seattle’s Ivan & Alyosha and revelatory performances at the Next Big Nashville and SXSW festivals. 2011 saw the Family on tour with artists including Devotchka and Gomez, and year-end accolades such as Paste naming them one of the ‘25 Best Live Acts’ and ‘20 Best New Bands’ of the year. And after last year’s exhaustive co-headlining tour with The Lumineers, and performances at Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits festival, the band finally got off the bus and into the studio, settling down for their first full-length.
The result, Kids Raising Kids, is a collection of tracks that reveal a band fully formed. This is sing-along, clap-your-hands, stomp-your-feet music. But it is also deep music, rife with emotion and layers of feeling – from melancholy to elation and back again.
“With this new record,” explains Kopecky, “we tried really hard to be in our bodies, to be responding to the music not only with our heads and hearts, but in a visceral way too. We wanted it to be honest and emotional and true.”
As a result, songs like “The Glow” soar and sweep, while tracks like “Change” keep it quiet and fragile. “She’s the One” rides a dark, propulsive beat while “Waves” is shimmering and blindingly bright and “Heartbeat” is playful, sing-along pop. The record is a study of opposites, yet the refreshingly distinctive, unified sound these six musicians make together bleeds through each and every song. The album holds the cohesiveness and the complexity that belie true family bonds.
“We didn’t want to be afraid to explore,” says Simon, of Kids Raising Kids, “we wanted to go deep into different sounds, textures, genres – whatever fit the song and the story we were telling. If there’s a thread that runs through this record it’s the idea of ‘kids raising kids’, of each of us in the band really raising each other these last few years, and of everything that comes with that, the frustration and the fun and the good times and the bad times too. You come out the other side and you hope you’ve helped each other grow.”
We Are Hex
Party Lines is a dance rock band based out of Ftn Square in Indianapolis that falls somewhere on the sonic spectrum between Jamariquai and Chromeo. Started as a duo between front man Jerred Lowe and producer Aaron Hogan, the band now includes up to 9 members for performances. Party Lines frequently includes the horn section from ska legend Johnny Socko.
Stripped-down, unblighted, bedroom pop songs... about girls. "Women Of Your Life" is the intimately facile sophomore album from indie-slackers Sleeping Bag.
The Bloomington, Indiana based trio is spearheaded by Dave Segedy, who is the group's drummer, songwriter and primary vocalist (that's right: a drummer who writes and sings all the songs!). Specializing in simple and honest songwriting, Malkmus-deadpan vocal delivery, and unusually addictive melodies, Sleeping Bag craft songs that are at once familiar and fresh.
The band's debut s/t album was released on Joyful Noise in August 2011, receiving praise from Under The Radar, Impose Magazine, Village Voice, RCRD LBL, and My Old Kentucky Blog. With their second album, the trio have matured in the ways one might expect: songs are a bit longer, lyrics a bit more personal, and arrangements more developed. But all of Sleeping Bag's signature elements are well represented throughout: the heartfelt ("In The Pocket", "Still Life"), the playful ("Allison Cole", "Saturday Night") and the unbelievably catchy ("Soccer Ball", "Walk Home").
Segedy's effortless melodies, accompanied by the distinctively jangling guitar work of Lewis Rogers and the tastily minimal bass of David Woodruff, combine to form a sound that summons the energy and earnestness of 90s rock, while sidestepping throwback territory. Familiar influences are organically reconstructed into relevant, captivating pop. These are instantly accessible songs which gain surprising depth with each obsessively repeated listen.
The Lonely Wild
“The Lonely Wild’s music is a fresh but familiar, dreamy yet aggressively percussive soundscape. Beautiful and vibrant with a healthy dose of strange, like My Morning Jacket. Vivacious and accessible, L.A.’s current ‘buzz band’ has more than enough potential for longevity and keeping the buzz. Their lack of strict adherence to any discernible genre affords them the freedom to get as weird as they want on their next album and go in pretty much any direction. The greatest gift that artists can give themselves is indefinability from the start, which will give The Lonely Wild the freedom of versatility for the long run.” – Music Connection Magazine
“I needed a cigarette and a damp rag after these guys played. My world exploded that night inside the Constellation Room and I sat there in silence in a sea of people as I rebuilt my mind from the rubble that it was after the Lonely Wild’s last song. Truly excellent display of creativity, passion, and musicianship all wrapped up in a package that is just waiting to be discovered.” — Unearth Music
“The Lonely Wild has produced the best debut of 2013.” – Coachella Valley Weekly
Rarely does a young band emerge with a combination of skills, talents and vision fully developed. But the LA-based quintet The Lonely Wild is that true gem who’s writing and arranging talents are only surpassed by its members’ ability to work seamlessly as a singular, dynamic voice.
Picking up solid momentum from their critically acclaimed debut EP, Dead End, The Lonely Wild quickly made a name for themselves in and around greater LA with fans such as Nic Harcourt (KCSN), Chris Douridas (KCRW) and Kevin Bronson (BuzzBands LA) on board, and supporting the likes of John Doe, Damien Rice, Phosphorescent, The Elected, Laura Marling and Lord Huron in addition to their sold-out shows at influential venues like the Bootleg, Satellite, and recent headline date at The EchoPlex.
The Lonely Wild’s The Sun As It Comes is a record that reflects upon the times in which we live while taking the listener on a sonic journey of impressive heights.
Lucid folk music from the Crossroads of America. We specialize in crop dusting.
"Coyote Armada is a young project consisting of college-age members from Butler University. For now, they appear content playing music that they and their friends find enjoyable, unconcerned with fitting their style into a neatly labeled box. This lack of pretension is a plus and will likely carry the band as it evolves. One thing we know for certain: these kids can play and sing. Everything else is inconsequential anyway."
- Musical Family Tree
Andy D fancies himself the anachronistic love child of Punky Brewster and Lee Van Cleef – the perfect amalgam of a fictional rogue and a real-life badass. He plays music this like he lives life and it sounds like Andrew WK meets Grand Master Melle Mel or Like Prince if he couldn't sing that well and if he weren't a hyper-talented multi-instrumentalist. This is what his music is all about: part epicurean hip-hop-dance songs and part sincere dance rock songs, being eclectic and catchy is the only goal. "God Loves Drunk Chicks" is a infectious dance ditty lamenting date rape culture and "Just Push Play" is a witty indictment of "the next big thing" trend in the music industry and pop culture in general (both tracks are from the debut album Choose Your Perversion). This is rap but not hip-hop. It rocks but it's not rap-rock. These songs are meaningful party songs but maximized! Andy D bends the genres but his influences are pretty apparent. And people take notice where ever he goes. From rapping about having sex with Werewolves to singing about knife fights in a roller rink, no subject is taboo in an Andy D song; and he gets raunchy with it. Half of the fun of Andy D is hearing what he will say next… the other half is dancing. Welcome to your new addiction!
Standing strong between the high-handed anthemic choruses of the Killers and the retro synth melodies of MGMT along with a dash of wildman flutist antics, Gentlemen Hall has established itself as one of the most talked about bands to emerge from Boston in recent years. Beginning as a group of friends hanging in college dorms in the mid 2000s the 6 guys formed the band in 2008. After winning numerous accolades such as MTV's Best Breakout Band in 2009 and Boston's Best Act in 2011, the band was nominated and won Billboard's Battle of the Bands and made history being the first independent band to perform on the Billboard Music Awards in 2011. In September 2011 they released their debut EP "When We All Disappear" (http://gentlemenhall.com/freedownload) to critical acclaim and toured nationally throughout 2012.
They are currently finishing their full length album which is due out in 2013
andy plus josh plus matt plus tanner
Dolfish is the moniker of 23 year-old Cleveland born songwriter, Max Sollisch. His debut EP, Your Love is Bummin' Me Out was released on vinyl last December by Minneapolis based Afternoon Records (home to Pomegranates, John Vanderslice and The Poison Control Center) and met with great praise by taste-makers My Old Kentucky Blog, Daytrotter.com and You Ain't No Picasso among others. Your Love is Bummin' Me Out's lyrical wit and lo-fi production gained comparisons to folk heroes Daniel Johnston, John Darnielle and Neil Young while it's concise songwriting (5 songs in 8 minutes) yielded comparisons to Ohio-based rockers, Guided By Voices and Times New Viking.
For the first proper Dolfish LP, Sollisch enlisted like-minded label-mate Patrick Tape Fleming (The Poison Control Center) to produce the album in the living room of a friend's apartment in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Recorded and mixed to 1/2" tape in just 5 days, I'd Rather Disappear Than Stay the Same features a backing band of all Iowa musicians whom Max had only met upon arriving in Des Moines to record. Tracked live with little overdubbing, these 12 songs were rarely rehearsed more than a hand full of times by the all-Iowa, all-star backing band giving the record a spontaneity and rawness rarely achieved on a studio album.
Anderson East wasn’t planning to release his September 18 debut, Flowers of the Broken Hearted, as a two-disc set. Though multiple CDs are usually reserved for anthologies and the like, for East it was a matter of storytelling. After recording the songs for the first set of lovelorn characters, the Athens, Alabama native was compelled to write retellings of the stories, but from the opposite vantage point. The result is a 15-song package that explores two soundscapes. Disc One (White) pulls from soul and Americana rock sounds, while Disc Two (Red) is more modern, dark, and moody.
He originally set out to L.A. to craft his debut album with Chris Seefried, producer for Fitz and The Tantrums among many others. With acclaimed musicians like Don Heffington (Bob Dylan), Charlie Gillingham (Counting Crows) and Rob Wasserman (Lou Reed), East’s first batch of songs and soulful voice were wrapped with classic instrumentation via plenty of old school keys including the Hammond B-3 and Wurlitzer organ, alongside thick electric guitars and retro backing vocals.
Justly happy with the album, it wasn’t until he returned to his studio in Nashville that the other songs came about. In addition to producing The Vespers, East began casually recording the new tracks without any speculation that it would affect the work already on tape. “It was a gradual ‘aha’ moment,” he shares. “It was very organic, the song told me what the music was going to be. But I slowly started seeing that it could blend with the first record, in that the stories, genres and styles threaded together.” The second record came about quickly with local musicians and engineer friends Tim Brennan and Daniel Scobey.
Like most artists, East, who plays both guitar and keys, is an audiophile – but his musical education veers from the backgrounds of the majority of musicians. Instead of growing up with a wealth of music at his fingertips, it was just the opposite. The grandson of a Baptist Preacher, he says, “it was a tiny southern town with no music scene at all. All I can remember hearing was talk radio. The only time I heard music at the house was Sunday morning before church when my dad would listen to country music.
Although profoundly influenced by the sounds of his childhood, East knew early on that his musical landscape was much broader than his conservative upbringing and embarked on a pursuit that would encompass both reverence and rebellion.
“It was hard to find music, so whatever I heard was the most amazing thing on the planet. I heard Led Zeppelin, and then I would hear something like Snoop Dogg,” he says. “I was immediately intrigued with how people made records. I got Michael Jackson’s ‘Black or White’ single on cassette, and my first thought was ‘how did they get that sound out of a guitar?’” He starting learning how to play music at age 10, but while his friends played covers note for note, East had no patience for playing other peoples’ chords and began writing for himself.
“Better” aptly kicks off Disc One like a revolver tied up in a pink bow. It’s both angry and danceable with Motown undertones. “Lyrically it’s right in line with the other songs, but asked for that Jackson 5 thing. It had to come first, it sets up the album in a positive mood before moving on.”
The soul-tinged title track captures the people that populate his songs. “Flowers of the Broken Hearted” is about an ex sending flowers to his girlfriend, and as East shares, “feeling a little sorry for the guy after the initial shock wore off.”
“New Life/New York” introduces another dynamic on Disc Two, a mournful ballad of the pain of restarting life yet again. It’s followed by the atmospheric and sinister “Fire Song,” about a woman burning down her house to get rid of her old life. Disc two (Red), closes with homage to the gospel music his grandparents so loved.
Bearing an unforgettable voice that range from soulful cries to haunting whispers, he’s been described as sharing qualities of Otis Redding, Ray LaMontagne, and Ryan Adams. Now living in Nashville (“must be present to win,” he says) East has the industry buzzing. He will announce tour dates soon, and was recently interviewed by CNN about the successful PledgeMusic campaign to help fund the release of Flowers of the Broken Hearted. He’s also featured on Balcony TV and will film a segment for The Attic Sessions. East is about to show you what he’s made of.