It seems that after making music together in some form for over a decade, any sort of a fresh start would be virtually impossible. But don't tell that to Ticonderoga , the Raleigh trio of Iowa City transplants Wes Phillips, Mark Paulson and Phil Moore that hopes to use their new hometown and new three-man format to make their most ambitious and honest music yet.
"Hopefully, we'll be releasing a lot of music here because we've decided that we don't want to self-edit as much as we thought we had to in the past," says Wes Phillips, who moved here two years ago and immediately started longing for his childhood friends, Mark Paulson and Phil Moore. "Everything we do, it's going to be released."
And they do a lot. Though they've only played a handful of shows so far, they gained instant attention for their plans to have burned discs (sometimes an entire album or EP) of their new material for those interested at each of their shows. For their Raleigh premiere at Kings two months ago, the band recorded their entire set in advance and produced dozens of free copies for the people at the show.
"I'm not sure we're going to be able to keep up with the pace of a new CD at every show...we may have set the bar a little bit high for ourselves on that one," says Paulson, sitting in the band's house on Ashe Street in Raleigh.
The bulk of the material stems from the band's songwriting philosophy: Phillips, Paulson and Moore all write songs individually and then present them to the group with the idea that they'll immediately be split apart at the seams and reconstructed.
The formula, as indicated by the band's two releases to date, works. The "folk aesthetic" inherent in the group's songwriting is twisted around a Sophtware Slump-type seamlessness and John Vanderslice-size smarts.
The band--whose reception in the downtown music circuit has been extremely warm (deservedly so)--headlined the Cat's Cradle Sunday Showcase last week and already has five more shows booked for the next month. They will play April 2 at Bickett Gallery .
Clay's Hot New Video
Local pop folkster Kenny Shore has been making music for nearly as long as Clay Aiken has been alive, but he owes the American Idol runner-up a debt of gratitude for inspiring his hometown radio hit "Chasing Clay," a song Shore penned after witnessing the spectacle (read: circus) surrounding Aiken's appearance at Raleigh's Christmas parade last year. Days later the song was on the air, creating such a subsequent national buzz among Aiken devotees that one Claymaniac sequenced the song with video from Aiken's parade stop. Shore, of course, was stunned that someone had taken the time to make a music video, but he was especially shocked when he saw his own son, Will, run through a frame during the video on his way to take a snapshot of Clay's procession.
Shore has been unable to contact the person who made the video, posted in early February on one of the half-dozen online message boards pertaining to all things Aiken.
"Some of my friends in Nashville who are all about copyrights and such say I should find this guy and get a cease-and-desist because he didn't ask for my permission," laughs Shore. "But a lawyer told me it was just free publicity, and he's exactly right. I even got a sale out of it!"
Shore is currently recording an album at Osceola Studios with producer Dick Hodgin and his new trio, consisting of The Feebles' Carla Burgess on brushes and Steve Samosky on bass. He just returned from the Nashville New Music Conference during which he crashed with former Fuquay-Varina coffee shop owner and veteran songwriter Kurt Fortmeyer. Shore is beginning to pursue a publishing deal in Nashville for some of his work, and he hopes to get his work onto a few soundtracks and television shows in the next few years.
"It's a long, slow process, but I've made a commitment to myself that it's what I want to do," Shore confides. "So I'm going to keep sending them demos and going out there two or three times a year until I can get it done."
The Cartridge Family is getting closer to the completion of their long-awaited debut record. The Faces-meets-Greg Allman quartet has been working with Kenny Roby and Rob Farris for six months on the effort, and--according to keyboard player Greg Rice--it's "starting to sound like a real rock 'n' roll record...Get Ready!"
The Cartridge Family plays with Earwig, International Orange and Proof Friday, March 26 at Kings.
Rob Watson is done mixing his proper debut, due out later this year on Abray Records . The release will mark the first Abray Release in more than a year, but--thanks to Watson's warm voice and his knack for finding a melody's sweetest spots--it should be one of the more important local releases from any singer-songwriter this year. Caitlin Cary lends violin work, and Dave Bartholomew is credited with production.
The Bleeding Hearts are also looking towards Abray Records for the release of their first disc. Plans are still in the works, but it looks like the excellent Stayin' After Class will finally have its release day. The Bleeding Hearts will be the only band to play both days of the Guitartown Rock 'n' Roll Revue at The Pour House on April 9 and 10. Chip Robinson, Marah, Two Cow Garage and Glory Fountain will play the first night. Night two of the fifth-anniversary party is set to include The Vibe Killers and Patty Hurst Shifter, among others.
Brian Quast of The Cherry Valence has been living one of his rock 'n' roll dreams by recording some of his favorite local acts--The Greatest Hits and Mothlight--in TCV's practice space for the past few months. Quast and The Hits' bassist Kerry Spring did a bit of construction work prior to the sessions, covering the walls and adding a drums riser.
"I didn't have to do a whole lot of producing with either of these bands because they're so good and they know how to play the stuff," Quast says. He plans on recording some things with his latest Big Star/Cheap Trick side-project, The BQ's, very soon. The BQ's also features TCV's Paul Siler, Polvo's Ash Bowie and The Dynamite Brothers' Scott Nurkin.
Nathan Asher & The Infantry proved to be one of the most exciting new live acts in town with a well-mapped, well-executed headlining set at the Lincoln Theatre last Friday. Asher delivers charged, forceful melodies about society, sex and leaving women in a cigarette-stained voice of vulnerability, backed by one of the more powerful and fierce bands to emerge in a while. And watch out for opener
Nathan Davis : He's got old-soul blues and fresh-face flair.
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