THE ORPHEUM PRESENTS:
The Jealous Sound
Ascend the Hill, Goodnight Neverland, Despite Distance
Tue · October 9, 2012
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm (event ends at 11:59 pm)The Orpheum
This event is all ageshttp://www.theorpheum.com/event/150751/
"I got zeroed out, and I had to figure out how to do things in a healthy way," the singer-guitarist says, recounting the long, strange trip it's been to 2012, when the Los Angeles quartet will release its first album in nine years, A Gentle Reminder. "I've been humbled, and now I'm a very different person than I was in 2003. I've learned a lot about just being in the world."
Many of those life lessons are revealed in the grandeur of the new album, a poignant and emotional triumph that not only proves a worthy successor to Kill Them With Kindness — named one of Spin's best albums of '03 — but reveals the foursome at the top of its craft. Open-hearted, yes, but not really gentle at all, A Gentle Reminder represents a 44-minute epiphany set to cascading guitars, thundering rhythms and Shehan's evocative vocals.
Made in the Foo Fighters' Studio 606 with John Lousteau producing, A Gentle Reminder features founding members Shehan and guitarist Pedro Benito working alongside the Foos' Nate Mendel (filling in on bass for the departed John McGinnis) and new drummer Bob Penn. Josh Staples (the Velvet Teen) contributes backing vocals and bass on two tracks.
How the quartet coalesced to recapture the magic is a labyrinthine tale that covers three states and includes a lot of emotional baggage, but the first turning point came in late 2004 after rigorous touring behind Kill Them With Kindness. A major label was poised to come on board and help with a follow-up. "But we were simply out of gas," Shehan says. "I was spent. I remember John telling me, 'You know, you don't have to feel bad if you don't want to do this."
A half-hearted attempt at carrying on yielded only 2005's Got Friends EP, and it was painfully evident The Jealous Sound had stalled completely. So Shehan set aside the band life, moved to Las Vegas and got a day job.
"There's a sense that I flipped out and left; people thought I went crazy," Shehan says. "But what's crazy? Staying in a band at my age with no stability? Ignoring the normal parts of becoming an adult? People don't necessarily understand what we do, and the commitment it takes to do what we do."
After two-plus years in Las Vegas, "things there fell apart in very dramatic fashion," Shehan says, so he moved to Florida and at one point was even poised to take the LSAT. He bought a guitar instead, and reconnected with Benito, whose friendship with Mendel helped The Jealous Sound land a spot opening a 2009 tour for the bassist's previous band, emo pioneers Sunny Day Real Estate. The old juices started flowing.
When that tour ended, The Jealous Sound began meticulously piecing together the ideas that would become A Gentle Reminder, an experience that at once thrilled and horrified Shehan. "Sometimes I'd be writing a song and think, 'Oh, man, I don't really want to say this, do I?'" Shehan says. "But the process of writing removes any filters you have — you're not as in control of things as you'd like to be. It ended up being very liberating."
That sense of freedom rings throughout "A Gentle Reminder," which finds Shehan taking inventory of the past, for better or worse, and looking stoically toward the future. He acknowledges the weight of his regrets in "Here Comes the Ride" but sounds up to the task of bearing it. The effervescent "Your Eyes Were Shining" seems on the surface directed to a sweetheart, but when Shehan sings "The heavens opened wide / and let you in," he could just as easily be talking about reconnecting, happily, with his songwriting muse. That theme of renewal re-emerges in the "beating drum" and "beating heart" of "This Is Where It Starts." There, as he likens his visions and dreams to "a rush of blood," fans of The Jealous Sound's open-hearted buoyancy will be happy that the quartet has once again opened a vein.
Indeed, after almost a decade, Shehan is still spilling blood. It's just more mature blood.
A.W. Tozer said, “thirsty hearts are those whose longings have been wakened by the touch of God within them.” Our desire is that every person who comes in contact with our music will have the opportunity to be “wakened by the touch of God,” and will never be the same for it.
The ministry and anointing that has been entrusted to Ascend The Hill is that of:
RESTORATION – preparing a spotless bride for Christ
RECONCILIATION – bringing the gospel of Jesus to the lost
It is our conviction that through the power of His presence, and the gospel of Jesus Christ preached in every gathering – this world will experience an awakening.
Ascend The Hill is: Joel Davis, Jonathan Thomas, Hayden Davidson & Seth Davis
Perhaps I’m wrong, I don’t know.
What I do know is that as a band, not a name, Goodnight Neverland has embraced a popular style of indie rock that perfectly showcases singer/songwriter Kerry Courtney’s incredible vocal ability. While the bands influences are clearly present in their latest release Oceans In The Clouds, it is difficult to pigeon hole them just yet. As the EP moves, the musical aspects of it change and distort in really cool ways. The subtle use of odd counts, half measures, and catchy leads take the stereotype of indie rock formula and throw it out the window, allowing the band to stay creative and innovative even when the vocals are taking precedent. This quality not only makes the EP listenable but gives it a replay value far beyond my expectations.
My favorite track off of the EP is “Weary Mind” because of the flowing, almost waltz like, rhythms and piano lead which give the song the magical feel the name alludes to. Lyrically every track seems to document Kerry’s attempt to cope with the passing of his mother, an emotional ride that connects you to the songs on a deeper level. When listening you can almost feel the heartbreak that must have gone into the writing and it makes you stop in your tracks. It’s amazing that such beautiful art can come from such terrible things. I give the EP a 9 out of 10 for taking me to Neverland, if only in spirit.
Other notable tracks on Oceans In The Clouds are “Take Your Time” and “Falling Not Flying”
It’s within this balance that the band finds its unique identity.
“We definitely have songs that tell a particular story from the perspective of the writer, but just as often, we are inspired to simply let the music stand on its own,” says Jeff, the eldest of the four Easterling brothers who make up 80% of the band. “We think it’s just as important to allow those instrumental songs connect with our audience in a completely different way, in that when we refrain from putting our own words in there, each listener is then allowed to feel whatever emotions that the song births inside of them, and let that be the words of the song to them. Each person gets to make their own story to that song.”
“There’s something so organic and pure when that process happens,” adds Luke, the next-oldest. “We feel that it allows our listeners to feel so much more connected to our music when we give them that opportunity. Sometimes, we write a song to tell a very specific tale, but other times, we want however the listener feels…we want that to be what the song means to them.”
The Easterling brothers (Jeff, Luke, Trevor, Matt) are joined by long-time friend and honorary brother Ty Green, who plays guitar and provides background vocals. Trevor handles lead vocals and guitar, while Matt plays the bass guitar. Luke shoulders the drumming duties, while Jeff creates the ambient, electronic, and sometimes orchestral atmosphere that is the foundation of the band’s sound.
The band’s fluid style leaves some grasping to properly define the band’s genre, and that’s perfectly fine with them.
“We love it when people can’t really define our sound,” Luke says. “We never want our music to be something that’s easily pre-packaged as ‘rock’ or any other genre. If you want to know what we sound like, just give us a listen. We want our music to define itself for each and every pair of ears.”
Fresh off releasing their self-titled debut album in May, the band has already developed a loyal fan base across central Florida thanks to their high-energy live performances. The band is already hard at work writing for their follow-up record, and will be announcing more tour dates later this fall.
1915 East 7th Avenue
Tampa, FL, 33605