Better Know an Artist (Vol 22): VVOES

VVOES is a Fort Worth based band made up of lead vocalist/guitarist Elijah Wichryk, lead guitarist Rene Floyd, drummer Ricky Williford and bass player Tyler Moore. The band started as kind of a joke band called ill smiths, but when people started taking them seriously and then expecting them to play sets of Smiths covers, they decided to go with a proper name. Anyways, their debut EP drops soon, and they’re playing around town pretty regularly, so get out and say hi to them. The guys sat down for the usual questions and this is how it went down.

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

RW: I used to sing with my mom all the time, but by the time I was in Junior High, it was decided.

RF: I started playing guitar because I broke my finger and needed an outlet for my boredom. I was also a band nerd. I played trombone and was a drum major. I have learned that no matter what I do – I will always play music. I found that out about 5 years ago.

EW: I played around on piano and keyboards as a kid and got my first guitar at age 16. Music is my drug and I want to be in and around it until I’m dead.

TM: I started by playing upright bass in jazz band in high school. Once I had gone on my first tour I was hooked and immediately knew I would always play music in some aspect for the rest of my life.

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

RW: Uhhh, dreamy Cheap Trick?

RF: We are calling it scuzz-pop or surf-gaze. It’s shoegaze inspired pop.

EW: Happy melodies with sad lyrics, with the reverb on 10.

TM: “Yes sir, you in the back. What’s that? You said you like being sad and listening to bands from 25 years ago? Well, this song’s for you.”

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

RW: Nirvana and the Melvins. Something about those bands always stuck with me. Best drummers of my generation.

RF: Nirvana is the reason I play guitar. My influences are wide ranging, but for this project, I like to listen to Wavves, Best Coast, and My Bloody Valentine for inspiration.

EW: the Smiths, the National, Beach House, Vivian Girls, Tame Impala, Stax Records.

TM: Joe Lally for showing how to not overplay. Dave Brubeck’s arrangements. Paul Westerberg’s songs about other musicians, for a good dose of awareness as a musician. Peter Hook’s chops and melody. Mike Watt’s vision.

Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

RW: I really like “Arsonist of Hearts”. Has all the elements of a pop song, without coming off as corny.

RF: I really like when we play “Who Do You Know” Besides being a great song, it’s chill enough for us to listen to one another and create a nice dreamy soundscape.

EW: They are all personal in some way, but I like lyrics that are vague and open enough to apply to different situations. My favorites to play will depend on how I’m feeling at any given moment. “Who Do You Know” always feels good. I’m most into two new ones that we haven’t recorded yet.

TM: “Arsonist of Hearts”, ’cause it’s real fun to play.

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

RW: Thin Lizzy. No explanation necessary.

RF: Probably Nirvana – We may not have been an even match, but I was too young to attend a Nirvana show when they were playing.

EW: Tame Impala, the National, Alvvays, BRONCHO, the Smiths

TM: Cheap Trick, Richard Pryor, Harry Houdini triple bill. You like showbiz, right? Well, you got three generations in one night at the Staples Center right there, buddy.

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

RW: UMO is pretty new to me, and sick as hell. I wouldn’t call teenagesexxx local, but these boys from Waco are killin it.

RF: Whitney out of the Chicago area is my new favorite band. Local – Pearl Earl

EW: I’ve mostly been listening to a bunch of trap, rap and slow/dark/hazy electronic, and then favorites that aren’t new, but Spooky Black, Girls’ Names, Dawn Golden are a few.

TM: Protomartyr is going to be huge. My dudes in Pujol from Nashville are great. My buddies Andy Pickett and Jake Paleschic from the neighborhood both have just come out with superb new records.

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

RW: QOTSA’s Songs for the Deaf

RF: Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm

EW: I’m bad at decisions… The National’s High Violet

TM: Miles Davis’ Bitches’ Brew

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

RW: The way bands really support one another. It’s a network of really good hearted individuals.

RF: Favorite: the fact that any given night you can see world class bands without really trying. Fort Worth has some of the best bands around and hardly anyone knows. Least Favorite: Fort Worth has some of the best bands around hardly anyone knows. (Editor’s Note: I see what you did there.)

EW: I focus on the positives. The good energy and encouragement from local musicians and that there are so many venues to play at. There’s no hate in my blood.

TM: Favs: my friends. Least favorite: my friends

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

RW: Really stoked about the Under Where. It’s the sequel to the Wherehouse that touched all of our hearts the last couple years.

RF: Doublewide – Yoohoo Yeehaw

EW: I’m still bad at decisions… I’ve seen so many great shows at Trees and Three Links. 1912 in Ft Worth because it feels like being in a Nicolas Winding Refn movie. The Boiled Owl, because it feels like home.

TM: Three Links Deep Ellum. Best staff, best sound.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

RW: Teenagesexxx and the Loafers have new albums out on Dreamylife! As well as Andy Pickett! Damn fine music.

RF: If you are into the blues, catch John Zaskoda whenever you can. He’s one of the best guitar players I have ever seen. I also really like Sealion, War Party, and Pearl Earl.

EW: Field Guide rules. I really feel Honor System, War Party and Rat Rios too. Pageantry is moving into a new level, definitely catch them if you can.

TM: Loafers and Teenage Sexx. Both Waco ex-patriates. I’m still bummed they moved to Dallas and not Fort Worth.

Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

RW: I haven’t seen any of the Star Wars movies.

RF: I lived in Alaska for 4 years.

EW: I just learned something about Rene. Thanks, Asa’s Records! I lived in Japan for 4 years. Ante up.

TM: I can’t stop watching Air Disasters on Netflix.

Much thanks to VVOES for taking the time. You can catch them laying down grooves for all your chilling needs around town. Their new EP will be available soon, but for now, here’s some of their demo tracks from their time under the ill smiths moniker.

 

 

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Top Records for March 2016

So, March had some really strong releases, including the surprise return of King Kendrick, the full maturation of one of the country’s top young songwriters, and a few strong returns from some of music’s biggest icons. Oh, and the excellent solo debut of what could be the newest country star. Also, like last month, I listened to a lot of stuff this month, so I think I’m going to expand the normal list to 25 this month.

1 Parker Millsap “the Very Last Day” 8.6
2 Kendrick Lamar “Untitled Unmastered” 8.5
3 Margo Price “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter” 8.4
4 Ray Lamontagne “Ouroboros” 8.4
5 Richmond Fontaine “You Can’t Go Back if There’s Nothing to Go Back To” 8.3
6 the Range “Potential” 8.3
7 Iggy Pop “Post Pop Depression” 8.2
8 Loretta Lynn “Full Circle “8.2
9 Esperanza Spalding “Emily’s D+Evolution” 8.2
10 Bob Mould “Patch the Sky” 8.2
11 Damien Jurado “Visions of Us on the Land” 8.1
12 Steven James Adams “Old Magick” 8.1
13 Anna Meredith “Varmints” 8.1
14 Meilyr Jones “2013” 8.0
15 Mmoths “Lunkeworks” 8.0
16 Grant-Lee Phillips “the Narrows” 7.9
17 Thao & the Get Down Stay Down “A Man Alive” 7.9
18 the Coral “Distance Inbetween” 7.9
19 Robert Pollard “Of Course You Are” 7.8
20 Domo Genesis “Genesis” 7.8
21 Matt Corby “Telluric” 7.8
22 Lapsley “Long Way Home” 7.8
23 Sam Lao “SPCTRM” 7.8
24 Hightower “Echo Springs” 7.8
25 Polica “United Crushers” 7.7

 

Better Know an Artist (Vol 21): Kevin Aldridge

Kevin Aldridge is a local rock-n-roller, who crafts songs with strong hooks and clever lyrics. His recent single, “Winner Leaves Town”, got the attention of a lot of local writers and fans. He’s continued to release quality singles leading up to his next album release, with the release of “El Juando” not too long ago, and this week’s release, “Faux Bluze”. Kevin sat down (or walked around, I don’t know) and answered the usual questions, so you know, find out about him, and check out some tunes or catch him live.

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

KA: Every weekend, my mom would put on a stack of records while she cleaned the house. that was the beginning of it all for me.

In terms of working in music, I was broken into the business in 1992 by some friends in a band that needed a road manager and I figured that sounded waaaay more fun than college. So at 18, basically a young boy, I started lugging gear around the country, selling merch, driving a crappy van and haggling with club owners. You learn a lot about the non-glamorous side of the music business very quickly. I didn’t have a timeline. I figured I’d do the grunt work until I had the juice and gumption to start my own group. I just fell in love with everything about this thing and even though the business side of music brings out the absolute worst in people, I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life.

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

KA: I tend to describe it in very simple terms. It’s rock and roll. Sometimes loud, sometimes not. No gimmicks needed. That’s very generic to a lot of people but it isn’t something I think about. Ever. Sub genres and classifications don’t interest me. For me, music is about creating things. I’m find with letting the papers & dirt sheets come up with how to describe it.

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

KA: My mother’s stack of house cleaning records was headlined by acts like the Carpenters. Karen’s voice was really quite something and an early influence for me. REM is my favorite act of all time. I’m the biggest mark for those guys. I connect to their stuff like nothing else I’ve ever heard. Great craftsmen and workers. Their records are timeless to me. Ice Cube, Neil Young, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and the Jayhawks are all giants to me as well with the way they can turn a phrase.

Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

KA: “Layin’ Around” is probably the one that means the most to me. It’s about my dearly deserted dog, tag team partner & best friend, Trapper. He was a basset/bloodhound mix who lived for 14 years. The rhythm of the song is based on how he walks to I can’t help but think of him when we play it. I don’t think that will shock anyone.

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

KA: Easy One. If I had the booking pencil, we’d open for REM on the Work Tour. That would be 87-88 when they were white hot!

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

KA: I’m a broken record when it comes to my favorite local bands. These aren’t new bands but Oil Boom is DFW’s bell cow for me. I love that band. Ryan Taylor is a treasure as a songwriter & guitar player. That’s an all time strong style trio for me. I dig Gollay so very much. I love the way they play together as a group. Serving the songs in an unselfish way. Daniel Markham is such a dude. Awesome, awesome songs! Same goes for Son of Stan. Amazing gift for songwriting, production & all good things in between. I could go on and on. There are so many good acts.

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

KA: REM’s Life’s Rich Pageant at the moment (and most moments). Sometimes, it’s the Jayhawks’ Sound of Lies.

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

KA: Least favorite – nothing. You can’t dwell on that stuff. I’m not into shooting on people or burying anyone.

My favorite thing about the scene is the diversity and wealth of talent. It is bigger than ever and full of people who can go.

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

KA: I love the Chat Room, Magnolia Motor Lounge & Lola’s but for different reasons.

The Chat Room. It’s always a home game there even though it’s smaller than a Philly bingo hall. Plus, Jon Carney is a top guy and like a brother to me. He always takes care of us at the Chat.

Solo shows at Magnolia are the best. Reminds me of playing Caravan of Dreams. People are generally engaged and into what’s being done on stage so you don’t have to do a bunch of high spots or have crazy theatrics to get their attention.

Lola’s is still the best place to take your loudest amp to play your loudest tunes. And now that the Trailer Park is up and running, there’s no telling what Forella and Co. have cooking for Lola’s.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

KA: I can put over an act that’s new-ish to me – Jake Robison. His record, Como Mansion, is really cool.

Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

KA: My resting heart rate is 56. That’s a shoot. I’m not joking.

Thanks so much to Kevin for taking the time. You can catch Kevin at Magnolia Motor Lodge this Saturday for the release of his latest single “Faux Bluze”. Show starts at 10:00 and he’s got Darth Vato and Jake Robison along for the ride.

Listen: “El Juando”

Listen: “Winner Leaves Town”

Photo credit: DFWNL.com

Better Know an Artist (Vol 20): Roy Bennett (Used Bonneville, OXYMORON)

Roy Bennett is a local singer/songwriter from the bands Used Bonneville (an Americana jam band) and OXYMORON (a synth pop Americana band (is that possible?)). A pretty traditional American songwriter sound with some piano based harmonies and some jam tendencies, it’s a pretty good setting to have a burger and drink a beer, so if you get that opportunity, take it. Anyways, Roy sat down and answered (sort of, there’s a few cop outs here and there) all our questions.

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

RB: I grew up in Southeast Texas and moved to Dallas in the early 90’s. I’ve always played guitar, but not very well, so making up songs was always much easier for me to do rather than to play other people’s music. In Dallas, I got a job working in a commercial recording studio. The natural progression from there was continuing the songwriting and recording the songs I wrote in my spare time. I released my first solo record in ’06, and from there, I’ve scored a few movies and continued to release records.

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

RB: The term Americana pops up the most. Here’s what I’m not. I’m not math rock, I’m not classical, I’m not Nashvegas country, and I’m not punk or metal.

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

RB: Todd Snider, he is an incredible songwriter and a true gypsy. I hang on every word he writes, yet my songs sound nothing like his.

Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

RB: Currently, it’s the Used Bonneville song, “the Love Between Us”, and the OXYMORON song called, I Can’t Break Enough of You”. Last summer I was on a vacation with my family, and due to my own inner struggle with my lack of success, I decided then to basically ruin a vacation over it. Stupidest thing I’ve done in quite some time. Hurt the ones you love so they can feel how you hurt inside. Those 2 songs reflect some of my feelings on that event.

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

RB: Todd Snider or Hard Working Americans

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

RB: Hard Working Americans

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

RB: I don’t really have one particular record that I can’t live without. I guess if I could only have one record to be stranded on an island with, it would be the longest one I could find.

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

RB: The great thing about Dallas is that you never know who will show up. It’s a middle coast, so many artist come through town all the time that you don’t even know about until it’s in the paper a week later. Waco, for example, not many artists just stop in there

My least favorite thing about Dallas is the lack of attentiveness from the crowds. But in a way, that works for people like me. When the crowd isn’t really paying attention, I embrace it. I can do what I want and if I fuck up, “Who cares?” I usually try to find a group or a table that isn’t really engaged and I try to get them engaged. The result is it actually helps me put on a better show sometimes.

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

RB: I like playing Sundown at Granada. It’s not the best live music venue, but the management is solid and respectful. They pay bands and always have a good sound guy with good equipment.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

RB: There are so many local solo artists and bands that are kick ass. The problem is getting a decent gig in this town to be noticed in the first place. It seems club owners and promoters are scared to take chances to book lesser known acts.

Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

RB: I like to watch Antiques Roadshow on PBS.

A big thanks to Roy Bennett for taking time away from two groups (busy dude) to answer our questions. You can catch OXYMORON at their first public performance if you’re heading out to SXSW. They’ll be at Austin Body Works March 17 & 18. Roy may also play a couple solo sets there as well, so get on out, and check out some sounds below. Also, it’s a while from now, but you can catch yourself a real Used Bonneville show, May 28 (Memorial Day Weekend), 9pm at the Foundry.

BKA #TBT: Vodeo

TBT Update: Vodeo will be performing Saturday at the 35 Denton festival. You can also catch them later this month: 3/19 at Magnolia Motor Lounge and 3/25 at the Aardvark. They also finally have that stellar self-titled EP in hard copy form now, so grab that up too, while you’re there. Peace.

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A recent discovery of mine, Vodeo, a Fort Worth quartet formerly known as Shake the Moon, have a sound that hearkens back to the Yacht rock sounds of Kenny Loggins and Hall and Oates. Their self-titled EP, produced by Taylor Tatsch, just dropped back in October, and it’s full of radio-ready goodness. It’s probably my favorite local EP of the year. The boys (frontman Jonathan Gehringer, bassist/vocalist Jacob Pullig, keyboardist/vocalist Drew Harakal, and drummer Jason Whorton) sat down to answer a few questions for us about whether or not they’ve invested in that first yacht yet (or maybe just the same old questions I ask everyone).

Author’s Note: Just caught these guys live, and they’re pretty much a must see, if only to hear the sick grooves that Jacob Pullig is laying down while watching the pure satisfaction that Jacob Pullig is feeling at the sick grooves he’s laying down. Pretty entertaining. High five, Jacob!

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

JP: We had been in several different bands over the years. Jon, Jason and I all went to the same school, but didn’t play together until later on. We joined as a band a couple years ago. We started off as just Jon, myself, and a drummer. We wrote a couple songs and played out a bit. We eventually picked up a keys/synth player along the way to smooth shit out, Drew Harakal, and my good friend of 10 years Jason Whorton when our Craigslist drummer bailed…good ole Craigslist.

JG: Second part of that question is a little tough. It’s just what we do. I personally love it because it’s a great way to express yourself. If you can connect to one person, that’s all that really matters. From the too-drunk 50-something at the club, to the shy kid in the corner, punkers, frat kids, skeezers… you’ve got to entertain. You’ve got to connect by any means necessary. (Short answer: Hanson “Mmbop”)

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

JP: Boz Skaggs, Ambrosia, Alan Parsons, Kenny Loggins, Darrell Hall and John Oates all boned and had a P-Funk baby, LOL, another thing that’s really hard to explain/describe. The term Yacht Rock keeps on being thrown around town. We don’t quite understand it. We don’t even own dinghies.

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

JW: Todd Rundgren, Curtis Mayfield, Hall and Oates, George Clinton and the P-Funk, to Harry Nilsson, Glen Campbell, Paul McCartney & Wings, could go on for about 2 days on this, really anything that comes across sincere and honest.

Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

JP: Tough one, probably “Pillow Talking”. It’s a song I demoed out before conception of the band. It’s kinda one of those “Ugh, I’m fed up with growing up” songs when you look at it. “Trading pens and pencils for bayonets”, dropping out of a rat race and playing war games and being a dirt bag Lord of the Flies style, with a touch of (aye girl, eyebrow raise and wink wink) lust.

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

JW: Foreigner, summer of 1978. Duh…

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

JP: Unknown Mortal Orchestra

JG: Portugal. the Man

DH: Snarky Puppy

JW: Tame Impala

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

JG: Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti

JP: Ned Doheny’s Hard Candy

DH: Todd Rundgren’s Something/Anything

JW: the Beatles’ White Album

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

DH: Ha! I really don’t want to answer because I don’t want to make people hate me. My favorite part of the scene is how much support and response we’ve gotten from our peers on how we stand out a bit from the rest of the scene, musically. The least favorite is that the biggest market in DFW still seems to be for cover bands locally, or larger regional/national acts.

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

DH: I’m a huge fan of Magnolia Motor Lounge. They have a bit of a built in crowd, but they are constantly trying new things with different genres other than what they’ve been known for (Americana and Country). I have to give a shout out to Wayside Ballroom as well. It’s definitely one of my new favorites.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

DH: Criminal Birds from Denton, TX. I know they’re gearing up to go record again, but they’ve got 2 EP’s already out that are some of the best from the DFW scene that I’ve seen in the past few years.

JP: the Hendersons from Fort Worth, TX. Nolan Robertson’s song smithing and voice are something that kinda blew me back first time I heard it. I hear (shh shh) they are working up some stuff with a prominent producer/artist out of state. You’ll def be hearing some stuff from them in the future.

JW: Leon Bridges….duh.

JG: Trái Bơ from Fort Worth, TX. They are truly one of the most interesting and melodic bands in the hometown. Their first album is full of earworms.

Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

JG: I clock in about 30 hrs on average a week in Madden.

DH: I’m an ordained minister, and have officiated weddings before.

JW: I’ve recently started a podcast for fun with a buddy, called the “Primal Vision Podcast”. We talk mostly around music and entertainment.

JP: I binge watched all 11 seasons of Cheers

A big thanks to Vodeo for taking time out to give us the first full band interview in this feature. Check them out at a gig near you when you get the chance, and I guess if you’re getting married and need an officiant, give Drew a call. Check out Vodeo’s new self-titled EP below.

Better Know an Artist (Volume 19): Jacob Metcalf

Jacob Metcalf is a member of local groups, Fox and the Bird and the Dallas Family Band, but over the last few years, he’s been working with some of the areas top musicians to put together his solo debut record, Fjord, which dropped back in January. The sweeping cinematic sound of his indie-folk record placed it atop my list of local releases for 2016 so far, and I hastily got him in for this interview. He’s fresh off of the tour supporting the record, so look for him out and about near you.

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

JM: I knew a decade ago, but I didn’t want to give into it. I resisted. My father told me that I would have to learn to sleep on the floor of a van if I was going to romanticize my life about being a musician. I think he was trying to galvanize me or talk some sense into me (!), but if that was the case, it had the opposite effect. In 2010, I quit my job, sold my belongings, and moved into my 4-door sedan. I lived inside my car off and on for years. It was a visceral experience. In the winters, I wore every article I had and layered sleeping bag inside of sleeping bag. One night, I shuddered awake in Hot Springs, AR to find six inches of snow on top of my aging silver Honda. Every extremity was numb and rolled back over and prayed for daybreak. Summer nights were even more exciting– sweltering saunas with the window up or mosquito-bitten and sleepless with the window cracked. In the peak heat, I eventually learned I could use door codes from friends and I slept on the rooftops of some of the surrounding loft buildings. It wasn’t easy, but I got pretty good at living like that. Early on, I got some help sewing magnets into curtains and blacked out the windows from the inside for privacy from the city. I stocked up on canned food that could be eaten without access to any kitchen equipment. I took ‘five point’ showers in the restrooms of big supermarkets so I could make appearances and not offend away any of my old friends. I learned how to park around the city so as not to arouse suspicion. I thought back to the discussion my dad and I had– why was I doing this? He was right: preparation is essential for the tough conditions ahead. I also appreciated that continuing work while opting out of rent payments afforded the chance to save more toward album costs.

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

JM: I like the term “modern western” because it’s a blend of occidental acoustics informed by the age of internet and easy air travel to other continents. Or maybe, it’s like a folk band ran dry on fuel outside a desert symphony hall. Or maybe the two word answer? Cinematic folk. One word? Music.

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

JM: I had trouble with my ears as a school age child. There was a period where I couldn’t hear anything, I’m told. My mom would be shouting to get my attention and there I was still running toward the blistering hot oven. Visits to the doctor revealed that tubes were needed to clear the passageways. Months later, I healed up just fine, but it later gave me pause thinking about Beethoven’s woe in life, losing his first love, his love of sound. I’ve always been drawn toward Beethoven for that reason. His second movement of Pathetique– I remember hearing that on the old nighttime AM radio as a boy and marveling that he was wringing magic out of the same 12 notes we had on our dusty old family piano.

Samuel Barber played a large role early on. His music had a weight and splendor that seemed unfathomable to me. Is it possible to have nostalgia for memories we haven’t created yet? I tend to think so. Then there was Debussy. His is the kind of music that I’ll never achieve, but I’ll always want to write. It’s asymmetrical and unpredictable and emotive and nuanced and leaves you wanting, all the same things I want for my own music. Danny Elfman, Thomas Newman, Jon Barry, Jon Brion. Decorative and imaginative and makes the hair stand on my neck.

I have to mention M. Ward. Some pretty dramatic changes occurred when I was first introduced to Post War and Transistor Radio back around 2006. Holy smokes! Midlake too. They’ve been an influence, especially the earlier albums like Bamnan and Silvercork. “Balloon Maker”, “Kingfish Pies”, and “the Jungler” are all incredible songs to me. Doug Burr has also been a frequent inspiration, beginning with his gospel album Sickle and the Sheaves and On Promenade and everything following. You can’t find a more imaginative and exquisite songwriter in town, or anywhere. Robert Gomez was always underrated in my eyes. He brought a kind of savant-level understanding of orchestration and song structures and penned these dark tunes, right in line with my aesthetic.

Me: Which of your songs means the most to you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

JM: “Ein Berliner”, because it deals with an imagined future in which I become a father figure and wrestle with my children’s growing questions. That or “Correspondence”, which has evolved for me to be about great love between any two friends.

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

JM: Hmm, I’d put together a traveling event with Bjork and Beck touring across the country and the globe with our fair band. I imagine that eventually I might get to see behind the curtain at how the mystics work. I might get to join them on stage at some point. That would be eye-popping fun.

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

JM: Siamese. Some of the folks that play in our band play in another band called Siamese. I’m infatuated with their sound and their demeanor. They’re so risqué and otherworldly, the ideas so fresh and so exciting. Can’t wait to see what they get into.

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

JM: If I knew I was about to be banished onto an island, I’d put together a playlist of the Beatles and the Beach Boys. If that wasn’t possible, I’d probably go with something instrumental and inspirational like Yanni or Josh Groban. Haha, that is not a joke.

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

JM: I love the DFW arts scene. The creative spirit running through DFW is cooperative. In my experience, everyone has been helpful and willing to share their knowledge, time and resources. I hope to reciprocate as I am able. The thing I like the least is when someone we hold dear moves to another city.

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

JM: There are lots of venues I love in town. Dan’s Silverleaf has always been a favorite to play and to see shows. The format’s wider than it is long and narrow, and that’s appealing when you want to get up-close to the artist. I love AllGood Café for really close events. At the end of the day, though, the Kessler Theater takes the cake. It brings St Vincent, Dylan LeBlanc, Robert Ellis, Chris Thile, Bela Fleck, and hundreds more world-class acts and still somehow rivals the feel of the smallest, most intimate rooms. Plus, it’s two blocks away from home and feels like it’s in my back yard. Plus, I know and love everyone who makes a home there.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

JM: Garrett Owen. Google him. Hares on the Mountain. Google them. Doug Burr, Daniel Markham, RTB2. Again, Siamese. Remarkable music. Google them.

Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

JM: I have never lost a dance-off. I have a secret move that dismantles the competition every single time.

(Editor’s note: I, too, have never lost a dance-off. However, I have never been a part of a dance-off. My wife would suggest this is a positive thing.)

Many thanks to Jacob Metcalf for taking the time to be a part of our series here, and for dropping one of the most beautiful records the area’s seen in a while. Catch him around when you can, and check out some music below. Thanks for reading, and as always, Support Local Music.

 

BKA #TBT: Matt Tedder

#TBT Update: Local boy Matt Tedder will be a contestant on this season of the Voice. His Blind Audition should air this coming Monday or Tuesday. Be sure to tune in and support one of the most talented cats on the scene.

I first found out about Matt Tedder when I used to work with his sister. She’d tell me about her little brother being a musician, but then I finally got around to checking him out, and he’s a regular blues dynamo. His sound invokes all of the masters, and while he’s taken his guitar with him to Nashville to chase his dreams, he’s still born and raised in DFW and he’s currently in residency at Magnolia Motor Lounge. Here’s what Matt had to say.

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

MT: My dad was really into guys like Hank Williams and Merle Haggard. He used to sing a lot of songs like that around the house with an acoustic guitar. I remember being interested in music, but it wasn’t until I found an electric guitar that I became addicted. The first genre I attached to was the blues, because of guys like Freddie King, Muddy Waters, and Johnny Winter. The way they played and sang sounded so real and heartfelt, which gave me something to aspire towards. And I was set on being a musician when I first picked up the electric guitar when I was 7. It was all I wanted to do. Once high school came around, the option of college came up and I turned it down. I figured the earlier I start at this stuff full time, the better.

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

MT: Rootsy Rock N roll. Like putting blues, folk, soul and country in a blender.

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

MT: B.B. King has to be well up there. He was the only idol of mine that I ever got to meet. It always makes me get so much more into an artist’s music when they are nice people, and he was the nicest to me. Musically, what a master? He puts so much raw emotion into every lyric and every note. Ray Charles is a huge influence because of his versatility. He put unique interpretations on all of my favorite genres of music and I always thought that was so cool. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, because of everything: simplicity, tasteful musicianship, authentic songwriting, and their longevity. They put out another record last year that I thought was golden, after 40 years of being together. And lastly, for this condensed list, the Rolling Stones, my favorite Rock N Roll band.

Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

MT: “Down the Road” means a lot to me. The song itself is pretty straight forward about a restless feeling and an ambition I still feel to travel. It seems like the crowd always enjoy it when I play out too, and when that happens with a song, there’s no forgetting that one.

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

MT: I would love to open for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers or the Rolling Stones, because they are some of my favorite classic rock acts still around putting on killer shows.

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

MT: I found the London Souls online not too long ago, a rock band out of Brooklyn, and they are nothing short of amazing. Locally, I think Rise & Shine, Jonathan Tyler, and the Texas Gentleman are solid artists really keeping Rock N Roll alive on the scene.

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

MT: The first Crosby, Stills & Nash record. Musically, lyrically, and vocally, that record is flawless.

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

MT: My favorite thing about the scene is the people. They’ve always been really supportive to me and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. My least favorite thing is that it could be so much more. This city is steeped in musical tradition, from Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dallas & Fort Worth sits on a gold mine of musical history, and yet we don’t attract as many music lovers as somewhere like Nashville does. I think more people need to know about this place!

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

MT: Magnolia Motor Lounge. It has great sound and atmosphere.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

MT: Rise & Shine, those guys rock.

Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

MT: I would love to be able to dance like James Brown…

Matt Tedder is yet another young player with a passion for the history of the music he plays. He wants to follow in the footsteps of some pretty big ghosts, and I’m not sure there’s any reason to think he can’t. He’s a fabulous player who’s still quite young, so expect a long career doing what he loves. You can catch Matt every Tuesday until the end of the year at Magnolia Motor Lounge in Fort Worth.