Sophia Eris and Lizzo: Hometown Love Courtesy Of Twin Cities

AbsyntheIt’s about noon in Chicago, and Sophia Eris is just now starting to slowly wake up.  Eris, along with her friend and rapper Lizzo, have the day off today on their short tour between days opening for Sleater-Kinney.  When we start to talk on the phone, you can still hear the drowsiness that is lingering Eris’ soft voice.  Today’s agenda includes getting the oil changed, and checking the tires to their tour van, as they prepare to head towards Dayton.  They have a show in Fairborn, then will be hitting some other towns.  No matter how many times they visit, and this goes for many who visit,  Chicago is a place that always finds them getting into something.  That is other than doing car repairs.  “Every time I come, I see a different side of it,” explained Eris when talking about the Windy City.  While Eris gave me the impression that the night before in Chicago was nothing exciting, Lizzo, (real name is Melissa Jefferson), tells a different story.

“Chicago wasn’t really low-key at all.  It was a high key (chuckles).  It was cool,” Lizzo says in a laid back tone.  “We made up a song last night, and I wanted Sophia to hear it.”

To many, it will be hard to believe that the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota is slowly accumulating some of the best new musical talent in the States.  Yes, we all know that Prince is from there.  However, that’s not the only thing that you should know about this city.  The music scene is thriving with some incredible talent-ranging from indie rock to some of the best rappers to date.  Two of those musicians were introduced to me while I was visiting the city back in this past summer.  A friend was telling me that there was a rapper in town that is starting to make some noise not only within the city limits, but nationally as well.  The musician was also involved in some groups that could easily rise within the ranks of stardom.  I couldn’t help but be intrigued, and asked who they were talking about.  They mentioned that it was Lizzo and Eris.  And I am not alone.  The duos are also two of the five members of the group Grrrl Party.  Recently, the duo passed through the Dayton area as their side project Absynthe.  The music that the duo creates offer dazzling hooks, along with dizzying rhythms.  While they seductively lure you in with their sultry pop/R&B influenced vocals, they will be quick to inform you that they are powerful, smart, and confident.  The goal is simple-to help empower women, and embrace themselves for they are as beautiful as they can be.

With her hometown being here in Dayton, this will be the first time ever that Eris will be performing in the area.  While attending school in Wayne, she played soccer, along with other sports.  Eris was fortunate enough to some earn scholarship money, and she began attending Urbana to major business.  It wasn’t she wanted at the end of the day, though.  Her aspirations to get involved in music business was what she cared most about.  Still-she appeased her family and continued marching forward.  “Go major in business.  Take what was given to you,” Eris explained.  She pushed through her freshman year, trying to find some enjoyment and happiness in the school.  However, it wasn’t where she thought she should be.  Eris yearned to be in music business.  When she arrived home the summer after her freshman year in Urbana, and mentioned her displeasure-her family finally gave their blessing for Eris to move on.  Once she arrived in Minneapolis, Eris began studying and graduated at Institute of Production and Recording.

Eris talked about writing when she was younger, mostly poetry.  She did a little rap verse in one of friends’ songs while living in Dayton.  When she was young, Eris mentions to me about how she would stand in front of the family’s television set while watching Star Search.  “I would bow and say ‘thank you, thank you’ to everyone,” she adds.  Eris admits to me during our conversation that she really didn’t think about performing in music till she arrived in Minneapolis.  “I just knew that I wanted to be involved in music somehow, and I thought it be on the business side,” Eris says.  “I wanted to help someone change the world.  I wanted to be that person to find that artist that did so.  I ended up doing it as well (performing).”

Born in Detroit in the late 80’s, Lizzo was fascinated with writing and astrology.  Having one of her first words being ‘star’, Lizzo wanted to go to space, and experience the solar system firsthand.  She would read books and encyclopedias that all involved astrology, and the inner workings of the solar system.  While the phase of wanting to get into astronomy tapered off as she got older, she always continued to write. As far as singing went, Lizzo grew up in the church; singing songs from musicians like Fred Hammond, and groups like The Clark Sisters, The Winans.  Lizzo was also introduced legendary artists like Stevie Wonder and Elton John. Citing “they weren’t vibing at the time”, Lizzo explained that her dad saw that a change of scenery from Detroit would be good.  At age 10, Lizzo and her family packed up everything and moved to Houston, Texas.

Lizzo’s time in Houston was the precursor that began her music career.  After skipping class in 5th grade to see Destiny’s Child perform at the local Wal-Mart (obviously they hit it big), Lizzo began to learn how to play the flute, and feverishly started to write more.  She would obsessively listen to freestyle on the radio, which showcased Southern trademark of chopped and screwed rap tracks of the underground, to R&B.  At nineteen, Lizzo joined a rock band and moved back to Detroit.  Shortly after planting her feet in Detroit, she was asked by a friend if she wanted to move up Minneapolis.  At the time, the friend was in a band and was moving back to Minneapolis. Without hesitation-she said yes.

When Eris and Lizzo met at the Red Stage Music Festival, located in Minneapolis, the bond was instantaneous.    “We hung out with friends, drank some, walked up the streets to this karaoke bar together, sang Beyoncé together at the bar,” Eris gleefully says.  “We’ve been great friends since.”  During that first night of Eris and Lizzo meeting, they got together with another friend and wrote would be become of their breakout hits, “Push It’.  A low-fi recording was uploaded online, and it caught the interest from one of the premiere radio stations in town, Minnesota Public Radio’s 89.3 The Current.  When the ladies were asked for a cleaner version of the song, the musical careers of Eris and Lizzo soon took off.

This past year, the duo have begun seeing all of their hard work start to pay off.  With the one in a lifetime opportunity of recording a song with Prince under their belt, some of their highlights include recently performing on David Letterman’s late night talk show, and now doing some dates with the reunited Sleater-Kinney.  “I just remember getting the call from my manager about it.  We previously requested hopefully being able to open for the show in Minneapolis.  Two months later, boom!  I freaked out of the car,” Lizzo said.

Eris still knows that her potential, along with Lizzo and the others from Grrrl Party, has just been getting touched.  However, the ladies still are taking the time to enjoy themselves.  “It’s kinda like a running a race, and you have your head down the whole time.  You finally get to the finish line, and look up and realize you’re there already,” Eris discloses.  “It’s just work.  You gotta look up every once and in a while.  Next time we look up, it’s going to be sick.”

“I appreciate it as it comes,” Lizzo adds.  “My focus is on my trajectory as a person, and an artist.  How’s my music sounding?  How’s my shows?  Are people feeling it?  I’m a not falling off?  Based on those terms, things are going good.”

Couldn’t agree more.

Renaissance Man; An Interview with Singer/Songwriter Jason Trout

Jason TroutSinger/songwriter Jason Trout, who spent most of his early days growing up in the city of Marion, Indiana, has been a pretty free  spirit throughout most of his life.  Without any proper training or push towards it, Trout was around eight or nine when he started  writing music.  Late last year, Trout released his solo debut LP Out Of My Mind And Into Yours.  The album is a lo-fi indie/folksy album  that was recorded in his home using a Tascam 4 track.  The new album, which follows his debut EP Off The Field Issues, marks a  new direction for Trout.  A path that didn’t come easy.

Creating and playing music at one point was put onto the side temporary when Trout started attending Ball State University in 1995  to study law.  “I went into college thinking, ‘Okay, I’ll be a lawyer.  Be will be a 4.0 student’,” Trout mentions.  “That’s what my mom  and dad wanted.”  His progression into law was short-lived, because for Trout-law was never the direction he was supposed to go.    Trout switched majors, going to theater.  “I didn’t think I was a good enough vocalist or guitarist to major into those,” Trout added.    The musical side of Trout, his desire to create something special, was growing larger and stronger.  He couldn’t accept the fact that    the direction of life is headed toward a future that wasn’t thrilled about.

Between the age of nineteen and twenty, Trout finally accepted that playing music full time was inevitable.  He packed his  belongings and moved to Austin, Texas.  “I’ll be honest with you-Austin is the only place that ever felt that I belong.  Without  question,” Trout said.  In spite of moving to Austin, the city wasn’t Trout’s first choice.  The goal was to originally move to Los  Angeles.  With the guidance of his college theater group, along with his love of director Richard Linklater’s work, Trout almost immediately felt at home within the city.  He quickly started to develop a following with his music, and soon started to see his hard work paying off.  Large record labels started courting Trout-flying him back and forth from city to city, riding in limos.  A year of writing and performing included, along with the dream slowly starting to become reality-things were looking good.  The payoff was coming.

However, the toll on Trout started to mount.  What was slowly a dream developing into reality quickly evaporated.  There was an unraveling infrastructure inside one of the labels that were interested in Trout.  He also was led astray from someone, giving false hope.  Around that same time span, the relationship that he is in suddenly ended.  The emotional toll began to weigh down on Trout.  “I wasn’t able to think straight or move correctly.  My body was affected.  I didn’t know what was going on,” Trout explained.  With his world crumbling all around him, Trout went to get away and visit his folks, whom at the time lived in Knoxville.  While we was there, he was diagnosed with having a nervous breakdown.

Even though he wanted desperately to get back to Austin, there was something that pulling him to stay in Knoxville.  The decision to stay turned out to be beneficial.  As the healing began, Trout spent a great deal of his time there being with his mother.  They would spend every single together, catching up.  Trout mentions that his mother was a key component to getting healthy again.  Little did they both know, the time together would be meaningful than they could imagine.  Trout’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, and passed two months later.

Trout’s time in Knoxville also got back to doing what he loved-playing music.  He led the formation of his band The God Star Social.  They band began playing some gigs at local clubs like The Pilot Light, Axis, and Java.  After the release of their first EP A Queer Sultry Summer in 2002, the band released their 2003 debut LP Decidedly Lo-FI/Revolution And Static Sky.  The album garnered national and internationally acclaim, with critics singing the praise of the band, the record, and most of all-Trout’s vision.  Trout spent the next 5 years touring the U.S. as The God Star Social, both solo and with a rotating cast of musicians. He released the last God Star Social record in 2008.  During that period of time, Trout met his now ex-wife during a show in Columbus.  When they were married, they lived in Austin briefly before moving back to Ohio.

Jason Trout2Although we has had to overcome some obstacles from the past couple of years, ranging from divorce and family tragedy, Trout  explained that he views this time in his life as a renaissance of sorts.  With the release of Out Of My Head And Into Yours, it marks  the first time is releasing music under his own name.  He has found peace within himself, which is remarkable considering at one  point-he didn’t write a single song for years.  Now, he is currently planning and prepping on new records with The Touchy Feelys,  his indie vocal duo with Andrea Dawn Courts, and City Deer, his punk folk band with drummer Lucas Longanbach and bassist Chris  Lute. Trout is also working on a cover album on his favorite artist, Daniel Johnston.  “I never been a big cover guy,” Trout says.    “These songs feel like my own, so it’s real easy to do it.”

As he sits in his home in Athens, Ohio, longer is that struggle to be happy for Trout.  One main reason is what came out of his now  finished marriage-his wonderful  daughter.  Trout beams over the phone when we talks about his deeply introspective daughter.  “We  talk about what she could be  when grows up.  I ask her what she wants to be, an actress or a doctor.  She says, ‘When I grow up, I just wanna be me.’,” Trout says.

That’s exactly what the older Trout is doing.

To get a copy of the new album, click on Trout’s website:  http://www.jasontroutmusic.com/

No Troubles In ‘Paradise'; An Interview With Smug Brothers

SMUG BROTHERSThe four members of Dayton’s own Smug Brothers are hanging around Kyle Melton’s kitchen on a cold February afternoon.  Inside  one of the small rooms that have been designated as the office, the Beatles come blaring out of the computer stereo speakers.  Deep,  raw cuts, along with some of their usual hits flooded over the entire house.  The group is awaiting local photographer Jay  Woessner as he will be updating the bands press photos today.  In only a few weeks away the Smug Brothers will be releasing their  latest album Woodpecker Paradise, and the band has their hands full.  After photos are taken, the band plans to practice some of  the new material. Woodpecker Paradise reunites Smug Brothers with longtime producer, and former member, Darryl Robbins.

As I took off my coat, and placed it in the living room, Melton asks if I would be interested in having a beer.  “We have high brow  beer, and non-high brow to choose from.  Feel free to pick whatever,” he says to me.  I choose the non-fancy beer, which is  Genesee-one of bassist Larry Evans’ favorite selections.  Having known that Evans enjoys Genesse, I also have drunk the beer before and became a fan of it also.  I make mention to bassist Larry Evans that he is partially to blame for my appreciation of the  beverage.

“Really?” says Evans with a shocked look.  I explained to him that I took a case over to a get together over the past summer.  I received a mix reaction from the party goers when I arrived-ranging from some that were enthused to know that I knew what the beer was, to outright ribbing because of how cheap you can get it.

“Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise,” Evans, ever so kindly says to me with compassion written all his bearded face.

The conversation between everyone jumped around from topic to topic.  Baker begins talking about a recently purchasing an amp that now has been blown out.  Even though Baker claims it’s pretty old, Melton makes mention that he may know some people that could possibly repair to amp.  The discussion then shifts to how the popular 80’s television show Cheers opener has a longer version to it online, and it’s actually good.  Baker’s girlfriend declares that she wants to make a trip over to Ghostlight Coffee, and would like to know where it’s located.

Within a half hour or so at being at Melton’s house, Woessner comes to do the photo shoot.  The first location was inside the small kitchen.  Woessner flips and fluffs the curtains some to block some of the light reflected in.  After the photos were shot in the kitchen, everyone is directed outside.  The band stands in front of an old, decaying structure that closely resembles a barn.  After the shooting of the new pics was finished, we moved downstairs to where the band practices.

As you walk a little farther into the basement area, you stumble upon the recording equipment placed on a table, with a cushioned couch placed beyond it.  Stacks of cassettes are laying around behind the boards.  The few demo cassettes that sit on the table are just the tip of what Melton has.  He has archived most of the demos of  his early bands, including a jam band he was part of  in 1994-1996 titled Critical Mass.  “I have hundreds of tapes of every live show we did (laughter),” says Melton.  This space is also where most of the Smug Brothers are recorded.  In the beginning stages of recording, Melton and Thrasher will lay down the basic tracks with demos on a four-track cassette machine, then pull from the best songs.  With Woodpecker, Smug Brothers went to the studio to lay down the tracks with the whole band together for the first time as the new lineup.  While the end result is a more polished album, the band’s mid-fi sound that their fans have come to love stays the same.  Smug Brothers follow the Bob Pollard blueprint of quick songs but tight in structure.  Much like Pollard, the finished product is also a perfect blend of catchy guitar riffs and vocals, and Thrasher’s fantastic work on drums.

The members of the band take their spots within the second area of the basement.  Stone walls encase the practice vicinity, and colored LED lights hang loosely on the beams above us.  The space isn’t made for tall people like myself and Evans, as we had crouch down some while walking around.  Luckily for Evans, though, he has a spot where he can stand somewhat normally.  After mic checks from Melton and Evans are situated, the group begins to torch through songs of Woodpecker Paradise.

Going into the tenth year of existence, it’s amazing to see how Smug Brothers have blossomed into what they are today.  The duo of Melton and Robbins were in the rock group Montgomery Greene at the time when they begin what would be Smug Brothers.  The plan was to be a recording band, and nothing more.  The duo released their first album under the Smug Brothers moniker Buzzmounter in 2005.  A couple of years later, Robbins and Melton went back to work on some new material.  They enlisted a local musician to do some of the drums for the new music who had runs with legendary local bands Swearing At Motorists and Guided By Voices.  Robbins and Melton loved the drummer’s style, and were eager to include him into the project.  That drummer turned out to be Thrasher.  With Thrasher getting involved, Smug Brothers started to take off.

Since then, the group has gone through various lineup changes, with departing members going to other projects and ventures.  Jason Short, who played with Melton in Montgomery Greene, played two songs on Fortune Rumors.  When the decision was made to start playing live, Marc Betts (also from Montgomery Greene) and Baker joined Smug Brothers in 2009.  In 2011, Betts left the band. The group had a small sabbatical for a short time, back in 2012.  Smug Brothers had recorded On The Way To The Punchline with Robbins, but the members got tied up in other things.  Melton and Thrasher were heavily involved in setting up another Dayton Music Fest.  Baker was playing in a couple of other bands around the area.  The band’s bassist Shaine Sullivan became heavily involved with the purchasing of what is now Canal Public House.  When Melton and Thrasher wanted to get the band rolling again, Sullivan bowed out.  Evans hopped onboard shortly after, and the rest is history.

The week of the album release party  I join Thrasher and Melton for drinks at one of our favorite meeting spots.  It’s always a pleasure to sit with two of the pioneers that will be engraved in the history books of the Dayton scene.  Much like the day of the photo shoot, our conversations bounce around with ease.  Melton and Thrasher talk about how with the latest lineup, they feel that it’s fresh.  “I feel like we are just at the tip at whatever this band is going to be able to do,” Melton says.  “The four of us are at a pretty good page.”

With everyone being excited with the release of Woodpecker Paradise, Smug Brothers have already been setting their sights on getting some new music rolling.  Melton and Thrasher have already laid down some tracks, while Baker and Evans are beginning to get their parts put together.  Smug Brothers would love to quickly release as much material as they can.  “I just want this songs out,” Melton says enthusiastically.  “We can sit here and work on them, pick the best ones…do a thousand different things.  At the end of the day, why?  Let’s go with our gut.  What sounds good?  Is that right?  Great.  If its not, say no.  Redo it.”

“We are still making up for lost time, too,” Thrasher added.  “And we love to make songs.  So it all feeds together.”

Like most of the times we get together, our conversation bounces around.  Melton mentions that he would love to take the trip around the United States and see the open land sometime.

“Got to do it at least once, man,” Melton says.

“Probably better when you’re younger (laughter),” Thrasher quips.

“True, but you see I would have perspective, be able to appreciate it more,” Melton responds back.

Sound Check: An Interview with Tim Anderl and Frank Steele of Sound Check Chat

Frank-and-Tim2TestIt’s a relatively low-key night at South Park Tavern when I join Tim Anderl and Frank Steele.  The patrons are all scattered around the establishment, as the televisions above the bar are showing one of the few college football games left in the season.  The three of  us dive into a nice little collection of pizza and wings, and partake in some of the draft beers that are available to choose from. Being  in the journalism field since 1996, focusing primary on the music side, Anderl’s bio comprises thousands of hours invested and  countless interviews conducted with artists that are listed in every category and genre that could be ever thought of.  Bands that tour  around the United States to perform in local bar/venues, along with the ones that are seeing success that expands beyond their  wildest dreams-Anderl has the privilege and fortune of being part of the music scene for some time now. With his current roles of  web editor/writer for Ghettoblaster Magazine, New Noise Magazine, along with his local work at Dayton City Paper-Anderl has  become widely known for his celebrated work in the music business.  The next step towards bolstering his name started in March of  last year, when Steele and himself begun a bi-monthly podcast that is titled Sound Check Chat.

With the aspiration of writing for publications like Rolling Stone and Spin growing up, Anderl took the proper steps to fulfill that desire by earning his degree in journalism at Ohio University.  Even with landing great opportunities like interning for Alternative Press magazine during his college days, the hope to release work in the popular music periodicals never truly materialized.  “I was dating someone that I wanted to marry who was still in college,” Anderl explained.  “I went and got a day job and waited for her to graduate.  By that time, we had family in the area, and I had settled into the job.”

Coming to terms with not writing for large publications was difficult, but Anderl went to work on finding different outlets to release his writing.  He created his own website magazine formats for a period of time, including one that is still rolling-YouIndie.com.  Opportunities to do some freelance work for other publications, such as Strength Skateboarding, Substream Music Press and blogs DoneWaiting, Delusions of Adequacy came along the way soon after.  Podcasting was something that had never crossed Anderl’s mind.  He mentions that he has listened to an assortment of shows, mainly on NPR, but when he reflected on venturing into the medium-he decided against it.  “I really didn’t have the time to do it myself,” Anderl says.

As luck would have it, Steele was already setting up possible ideas and formats that would eventually become a podcast. With a background specializing in web, television, movie, production and design, Steele has been creating video media content around the Dayton area.  Success has come to Steele, and with good reason.  With his work in production, he has been awarded with having winning music videos with artists who have appeared on MTV, VH1, and CMT.  He bounced around some concepts for the podcast, and settled on having the show concentrate on music.  Steele pitched the idea to Anderl, and he quickly hopped onboard.  The two friends had previously done some work, with a video production that was shot in Rumbleseat Wine when Jonathan Kingham (singer/songwriter that also was a touring member of Toad The Wet Sprocket) came to town in 2012.

Sound Check Chat’s nucleus is pretty straightforward-the show is centered on Anderl speaking with musicians from all over the United States and beyond. Roughly closing on the 30 minute marker (some longer than others) with each interview segment, Sound Check Chat is an insightful look for music lovers. “Tim is one the phone for a lot of the interviews anyway.  I said to him let’s record the conversation, and make a podcast of that,” Steele explained.  “It would be an extra product that you can offer.”  With the tight editing courtesy of Steele, you don’t get much in the way of prolonged silences, questionable motives, and delayed responses. Anderl’s remarkable interviewing with his extensive research on each guest captures moments that you would normally wouldn’t get with most podcasts being aired, which is what gives the show such a pleasure to listen to.

With sixteen episodes already released, Sound Check Chat is still continuing to grow month by month.  The duo already has sponsorship for the show, which for beginning podcast obtaining such a feat is worth being noticed.   Some highlights of shows that have been released already include JT Woodruff from Hawthorne Heights, Chris Simpson of Mineral, and Violent J from Insane Clown Posse, it’s clear that Anderl and Steele will be providing listeners a wide array of musical talent to hear from.

Steele and Anderl reference that the whole development and growth of the show has taken a little bit of time, and possible will be slowly built.  However, the duo have made the decision to keep it way. They aren’t about going out and chasing numbers.  They want to have a show that is true to them.  “We have been letting it happen organically,” Anderl says.  “It would be disingenuous for us do to any other way…people seemed to be enjoying it, and that’s good enough for me.”

To listen to the show, go to the website http://soundcheckchat.com/.  You can also subscribe to the show in iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

Hold On: DCDC Set To Premiere Latest Production “HeartShakes”

See more at http://www.geekwithalens.com/dance/dcdcHeavily rooted in the African-American experience, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company has become one of the largest  companies of its kind between places like Chicago and New York City.  With national and international acclaim gained  over the years, the company has assembled a wide-range of choreographers to highlight their artistic vision to the stage.  The works  that have played out on the local theaters provided audience’s with some of the most breathtaking, stunning performances since    being founded in 1968. HeartShakes, the next production the DCDC will be unveiling this Saturday night at Victoria Theatre, will be  added to the incredible list of shows.

The creator-choreographer of HeartShakes, Kiesha Lalama, is putting the final touches on her work with the stage production of  Into The Woods down in Miami.  With the original composer Stephen Sondheim giving his blessing, the role of the witch will be  played by extraordinary actor Tituss Burgess.  The casting of Burgess has caused this version of Into The Woods to be labeled as  “ground breaking and historical” due in part of Burgess being an African-American gay man.  Publications like Out magazine, and the Huffington Post, along with the Inquisitr have all released features on Burgess’ involvement, and the impact that it’s creating.  “Tituss Burgess is a genius.  He is one of the smartest actors that I have worked with…ever,” Lalama gleefully says.  “Every choice he makes as the witch is just perfect.  His voice is magic.”

For over twenty years now, Lalama has been choreographing events like Into the Woods.  Starting with high school musicals and teaching at the dance studio she trained at around her hometown, Lalama continued all the way through college at Point Park University.  However, a recurring knee injury that required a few surgeries would halt Lalama from continuing to perform.  With the end of her performing dance career, Lalama pressed on with her teaching at the college.  As her students would go on to graduate and met with artistic directors of dance companies, they would mention that Lalama was needed to be brought in.  “My students launched my national career,” Lalama says.

It took five years for Lalama to be choreograph a piece for DCDC.  When the opportunity finally came, she released Shed to critical praise with not only the community, but within the company.  The act, inspired from a deep desire to spread the message and importance of self-love, challenges the spirit to find courage, let go, and be free.  Lalama’s passion and dedication to her dancers, and the crew made it hard for the first show being the only one.  Lalama was going to come back with a brand new set.  Little did she know, the story would come to her quickly.

HeartShakes began to materialize when the opening performance of Shed was over.  As Lalama began to drive back home to Pittsburgh, she started to think of how she was going to set up her next dance.  She inserted the copy of the band Alabama Shakes’ Boys and Girls into her car stereo, in hopes to release her mind for the long drive home.  That 2012 album debut launched the bluesy-rock group and created a rabid following around the world.

As each song played, and she started piecing together the narrative that was unfolding in her mind.  The gritty, Southern soul songs that came out, Brittany Howard’s wailing, yet fierce voice, began interweaving with one another.  Playing Boys and Girls in her car was meant to be a release.  To distract her from forging forward.  In the end, the album spoke with Lalama in ways that she couldn’t imagine.  Lalama mentions that she emotionally connected with Howard in each lyric sung.  “I’m all soul.  I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I will tell you what I am thinking.  I feel like everything that Brittany said resonated,” Lalama says with a passionate tone.  “Her lyrics, her passion, her power.  In everything that my dancing is-it just fits.  I just fits.”

HeartShakes will be taking spectators into the lives of five different relationships of various lovers, who throughout the span of one evening in a quaint but moody nightclub, will witness them intersecting with one another.  With each song from Boys and Girls, the music features various stages of love.  “I wanted to make sure that I built something that the audience would walk away feeling something, relating to this characters and certainty being entertained,” Lalama explains.

Watching a dancer perform a contemporary piece is awe-inspiring.  The fluid movement of their body.  The athleticism that is required to achieve a level of flexibility that most only dream of.  Contemporary dance numbers demand you to be held captive throughout, only because you don’t know what to expect each time.  There is a beauty, and most importantly an appreciation, to the form that shouldn’t be overlooked.  DCDC has embedded themselves within the heart of it all, and  continue to attract people young and old with each show.

When it’s all said and done, HeartShakes will allow to have Lalama to imprint her mark in the city for years to come.  With  DCDC owning the rights, there has been talk on possibly taking the show on a tour.  It’s even been brought up that it would be a dream come true to have the Alabama Shakes perform live during the show.  For now, the show will go on at the Victoria Theatre.  The excitement that comes out when talking to Lalama is uncontrollable.  “I really believe in this,” she says.  “The dancers give me everything they have.  It’s so draining, because they go through this roaring arrange of emotions.  It demands so much of them…there is no other company like DCDC.  These guys are so versatile, and so committed-I’m honored to be associated with such a great group of people.”

See HeartShakes world premiere at The Victoria Theatre at 138 North Main Street, Dayton Ohio on January 31 at 7:30pm or Sun Feb 1 at 3pm.   Tickets are $25 to $45 each and are available at Ticket Center Stage at 937-228-3630 or 888-228-3830 orwww.ticketcenterstage.com.

Drenched In Pop; An Interview With Chris Slusarenko And John Moen Of Eyelids

EyeLids_10063_finalThe rain is coming down with ferocity in Portland, Oregon, according to Eyelids members Chris Slusarenko and John Moen during our phone conversation. The two dear friends and bandmates have been resigned to spending the rest of their afternoon indoors. To make the time go by, the duo have each found things to do.

“John is going to help me with my lyrics (laughter),” Slusarenko mentions. “I said to John, ‘Can I show you this and tell me if it’s dumb or not’.”

Moen quickly and light-heartedly added, “After we are done with that, I am going to tell you exactly what we are going to do, I’m going to brush his hair out while looking out a lonely window (laughter).”

It’s truly difficult to find another band that features members who have been an integral part of such influential music. Moen got out of high school in 1986, started touring around, releasing some albums with Dharma Bums. Now, he is currently the full-time drummer of Decemberists.

Slusarenko’s career has spanned from only doing cassettes and stickers with his band Deaf Midget for five years, and starting the group Sprinkler that was signed to Sub Pop after less than a year. Other highlights included a stint with Guided By Voices as the bassist. His other project besides Eyelids includes Quasi’s Sam Coomes that also involves Eyelids drummer Paulie Pulvirenti.

Slusarenko and Moen explain that they have just wrapped up what will be the final album with Boston Spaceships, Let It Beard. With the lead singer being the fearless leader Robert Pollard, Slusarenko and Moen’s Boston Spaceships released five LPs and three EPs.

While the duo was playing the album for some friends before the release, Slusarenko found three rough demos that featured just himself and Moen. Once the demos ended, Moen was thrilled on what he was hearing, and shouted out that they needed to get the ball rolling again. For the two musicians, it was the perfect opportunity to have an opportunity to have a band that they were able to write songs, which both were passionate about.

Slusarenko and Moen, along with Let It Beard’s producer Drews, went into the studio for two days to expand on the demos. Inside Drews practice studio, the trio began to exchanging ideas with one another, and landed on thirteen songs that made up the skeleton for what became854. With the additions of bassist Jim Talstra, and drummer Pulvirenti to the group, some of the songs were re-recorded to have their parts included into the album.

“It was a really weird to go about it, but also allowed us to a chance to figure out what the hell we were about,” Slusarenko says.

854 captures the essence of catchy, pretty pop-drenched songs that are filled with melancholy and buoyancy.   Loud guitar riffs and fuzz dancing on top of one another, with whimsical vocals throughout each song. Slusarenko mentions ’80s bands like the L.A. Paisley Underground darlings, Rain Parade and Dream Syndicate, with New Zealand’s own Straitjacket Fits being overwhelming inspiration for what they envisioned to have their music sound like for their newly formed group.

With the momentum of releasing 854, Eyelids just went into the studio in November to record an EP with R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, which is hopeful to be released in the beginning of 2015. However, with everyone’s unpredictable schedules (including the Decemberists soon to be releasing their latest album), the members of Eyelids have no qualms on what the future is going to hold for them.

“I have a little apprehension about how everything will play out,” Moen says. “So we will keep taking a little at a time, and see what we can get away with when we can get away with it (laughter).”

“As long as we can stand each other, and we like what we are doing-it’s not that hard for the five of us to want to be around each other,” Slusarenko says. “It’s kinda of like, ‘Alright, I’m with these guys. Cool!’ History makes it a little easier.”

(Visit Eyelids here: http://musicofeyelids.com/.)

New Beginnings; An Interview with Tele Novella

TeleNovellaFall2014The Austin-based band Tele Novella are the middle of their Midwest/East Coast tour, spanning from Oklahoma to New York and ending back home in Texas. On their stop in Dayton, Ohio, guitarist Natalie Gordon and bassist Jason Chronis are sitting behind their band’s merchandise table. The fold-out table is located between two doors in the back front section of the establishment that they just got done playing their set at, Blind Bob’s Bar. The band was in town as part of their Midwest/East Coast tour in support of this past June’s release of their EP, Cosmic Dial Tone.

Growing up in the heart of Sacramento, where the artistic vibe was mainly artistic DIY’ers in the music scene. One day as Gordon was flipping through the catalogs of vinyl at a local record store, she met drummer Lauren Hess. The two started to strike up a conversation about music, and it immediately took off. Gordon discovered during the meeting that Hess had recently purchased a drum kit, but she hasn’t played them yet. With Gordon already having experience playing guitar since high school, the twosome got together to jam, forming their band Agent Ribbons in 2006.

Agent Ribbon started touring up and down California, and also added another member to the group-violinist/cellist Naomi Cherie early 2009. The band’s dreamy, yet eerie guitar play from Gordon going along with the simplistic drumming started getting them noticed quickly. Fans couldn’t help but not stay away from the duo’s haunting mix of garage rock with pop melodies that were heavily influenced with The Velvet Underground and The Shaggs. The increased exposure help launch them into bigger shows and tours. They traveled on the West Coast, and even played some shows in Europe. Gordon and Hess would pay for Cherie’s plane ticket in order for her to play in the West Coast shows.

With the costs of tickets starting to add up, and the inability to move to California, Gordon and Hess made the decision to move out to Austin where Cherie lived in 2010.

Before the move Austin was in the plans for Gordon with her bandmate, Chronis and Simon were deeply involved with the local group Voxtrot. The band, led by Ramesh Srivastava, started rolling in the early 2000s when he was between studying in Scotland. Voxtrot’s European influence streaming in their indie pop-heavy melodies and charming lyrics. With the comparisons to The Smiths, Belle and Sebastian, Voxtrot began to garner critical acclaim not only in town, but with national publications, and online sites.

After releasing their first EP in 2005, Raised By Wolves, Voxtrot toured vigorously all around the US and Europe, and released a couple of EPs and singles. In 2007, the release of the first LP Voxtrot would become the band’s first and only. Fans complained that the album didn’t live up to expectations. Others believed that the quality and sound of the album veered away from what the band was originally doing. Voxtrot overall wasn’t well received. Less than a year later, when the album failed, the band broke apart.

With Gordon and Hess packing up and moving to Austin, the move from Sacramento at the time seemed like it was the best option for the band, Gordon mentioned. However, a series of events proved to be disastrous for Agent Ribbons. Cherie decided to leave the group as soon as the duo arrived in town. The momentum that Agent Ribbons built with touring in California, which resulted in getting bigger shows and more exposure, was abruptly halted. “We had such a strong following in California, Oregon, and Washington. We could tour up and down the coast all year. We came here-people didn’t care, we couldn’t play the right shows, we started playing too much,” Gordon says.

At the end of October in 2012, Gordon and Hess, along with their tour maager, were leaving Memphis during their bands tour in support of the album Let Them Talk. Agent Ribbons were headed toward Dallas when a car ran a red light and collided with the band’s vehicle. While everyone escaped with non-life threatening injuries, the band’s van was totaled and Hess broke her wrist. The tour was already challenging due to issues with payouts of shows, and the accident was the final blow in what became a hostile relationship. Gordon and Hess no longer were seeing Agent Ribbons being what it once was. Everything that was once promising now became more a burden. After the accident, Agent Ribbons broke up. “It was slow, rough, downward spiral,” Gordon explained. “It felt that the band should have ended before we moved to Austin.”

With Agent Ribbons dissolving, Gordon needed to regroup and quickly was needing to quickly assemble a band for a booked showcase at South by Southwest Festival for the upcoming year. Gordon tried explaining to Agent Ribbons’ label of the unfortunate circumstances, with herself and Hess going separate ways. However, the label wouldn’t allow her to cancel. Gordon had to scramble to set up a band, so she enlisted Chronis, Simon, and singer Cari Palazzolo. The trio were already involved together with the local group Belaire, and volunteered to help Gordon out. Chronis has already been discussing working with Gordon on a project, titled Tele Novella.

The newly formed band Tele Novella was well-received, and the foursome continued to move forward. Tele Novella went to the studio to record their first EP Cosmic Dial Tone, which was released this past summer. The EP features Gordon’s alluring vocals that transcended when she was Agent Ribbons along with Chronis and Simon’s English rock inspiration with their work in Voxtrot. The blend of the two results in a breezy, psychedelic pop sound that is hypotonic and catchy. Since the release of Cosmic Dial Tone, another lineup has occurred. Palazzolo moved to Portland, which signaled the ending of Belaire, and the La Puerta’s inclusion into the group. Tele Novella released the single version of ‘Trouble in Paradise’ on vinyl with American Laundromat Records right on the tail of the Wes Anderson tribute compilation, to which they contributed a contagious version of ‘Stephanie Says’ by the Velvet Underground. The band is currently in the process of setting up to record the band’s first LP, which will be recorded in Austin.

Chronis locks his hands behind his jet black hair, and leans back into his chair. Gordon, wearing one of vintage dresses as she normally does, throws on a jacket and begins to rummage through some missed texts, emails on her phone. Moments later, you see Gordon engaging with two young girls who have approached the table, while Chronis looks on engaged into the conversation as well. As more attendees of the night’s festivities began to gather around the merch table to talk to Gordon and Chronis, keyboardist Sarah La Puerta strikes up her own conversation with someone, while drummer Matt Simon breaks down his drums.

For Gordon, the future with Tele Novella is bright and signifies new beginnings. “I feel so much more challenged, and I feel like it’s so much more interesting as a process for me. And I’m really on the beginning of it.”

Buffalo Soldiers: An Interview with Zachary Gabbard of Buffalo Killers

Buffalo KillersThe Cincinnati-based rockers Buffalo Killers have been busy since the beginning of this year.

First, they helped kick off this year’s Dayton Music Festival 10th year anniversary with a special show featuring a church choir in the  Christ Episcopal Church in downtown Dayton back in April.  They followed that with a coast to coast summer tour, which was in  support of the release of Heavy Reverie, which was released in May.  During their time on the road, the made their annual stop in  Austin, Texas and performed at South by Southwest “This past year was probably the wildest one,” bassist and vocalist Zachary  Gabbard says during our phone conversation.  “A lot more people, taking every band from everywhere, bunch of people think that  they are rock stars, and throw them into one city.   It was nuts.”

Whatever they will admit or not-Zachary, along with his brother and guitarist/vocalist Andy, and drummer Joseph Sealy-they are  fast approaching their own unique rock star status through their growing library of hook heavy, homegrown rock.  The music encompasses the rawness of blues and psychedelic basics.  Buffalo Killers play loud and unrestrained, free with a beauty and ease.  The trio recently added lap steel/guitarist Sven Kahn’s into the band this year.  The guys of the band knew Kahn’s for some time, with him filling in from time to time during shows, and playing in some during the recordings of their album, 3.

Music was always around when Zachary and Andy Gabbard were growing up in their home.  Along with hearing the classic records spin from Neil Young, Grateful Dead, and CSNY-their father would play some strung the guitar with friends, and co-workers after work.  When Zachary decided that he wanted to pick up playing on his own, he was given a bass because his father said that “guitar players are a dime a dozen.”  Andy started to play guitar at a young age as well, playing with a small Fender with a small neck.  Along with being taught by their father, Andy particularly would play along AC/DC records.

The Gabbard brothers formed their garage rock band Thee Shams in 1999, along with Sebaali, Max Bender, and Keith Fox.  Thee Shams released four albums on four record labels, and toured extensively.  The toll of the touring and recording took a toll on the band, and the band broke up in 2005.  “It became where we were obviously the three guys (Zachary, Andy, and Sebaali) that were committed to this project,” Gabbard explained.  “Us three were ready to go-that’s all we wanted to do.  So when it started to slow down, we just say let’s start over.”

The newly formed trio of Buffalo Killers quickly picked up where their previous band left off.  They started to gain followers everywhere they went, and even caught the eye of the folks over at Alive Records.  The record label received the five-song demo that Zachary sent out to several other labels.  It took less than a week for Alive to call the band to sign them.  The first album under the label helped Buffalo Killers obtain the opportunity to go play a string of shows with The Black Crowes in 2007.  When they returned from touring with The Black Crowes, the band went to work on their second album, Let It Ride, with Black Keys guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach serving as producer.  With their time being under the Alive Records name, Buffalo Killers would go on to release three more albums: 3 (2011), Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. (2012), and the 2013 Record Store Day only release of Ohio Grass.

This past year, Buffalo Killers made the move over to Sun Pedal Records, and subdivision of Warner Bros.   The goal to move on from Alive wasn’t part of the plan because the band were happy being with them.  The people from Sun Pedal started showing up at the shows more.  Conversations began to become more and more frequent, to which the decision was made to make the move.  “Alive was super good to us,” Gabbard says.  “It just worked out.  They were into doing the record, and making it come out fast.  With them having distribution through Warner Bros., we all knew that the records could get out there more.  Alive were supportive, and helped us get the deal done with Sun Pedal.  It was good for everyone.”

While working on the direction and vision of producer Jim Wirt (Fiona Apple, Incubus),Heavy Reverie and their second release this year Fireball of Sulk have given Buffalo Killers a more cleaner sound while maintain their hard rocking ways and reducing the overdubs being used.  While both Gabbard brothers would rely on each other with the vocals, and self-produce most of the albums, working with Wirt also helped the band get out of their comfort zone.  “We were open to anything,” Gabbard says.  “Jim captured it well.”  The making of Fireball of Sulk was documented with a camera crew and photographers to release in relation with the record.  The filming included learning the songs to recording them, which allows their fans and others to take a peek into the process of making the album.

When it’s all said and done, 2014 will be remembered to being some kind of year for Buffalo Killers.  Under the Sun Pedal name, they have been getting more exposure, including being in a segment on Last Call with Carson Daly this summer when they on the West Coast.  “Ah man, that was a big deal for us,” Gabbard gleefully mentions.  “My kids think it’s the biggest thing in the world.”

The band also have a new place to practice, Zachary’s home in the country outside of Dayton and Cincinnati.  “We can get as loud as we want out there,” Gabbard says.

Something that bearded fellas of Buffalo Killers have no problem doing.

Art Jipson: Still Teaching Us After 10 Years Being On-Air

Art JipsonIt’s another Tuesday afternoon, and that means University of Dayton students, along with devoted followers, have their radio dials locked onto  the  college station WUDR 98.1/99.5 FM and Flyer Radio online.  Between the hours of 3-6pm in the WUDR Studios at ArtStreet on the University  of  Dayton, the animated and jovial voice of Art Jipson (aka his radio persona Dr. J) graces the airwaves as they spin music from local and  national  bands and artists.  Jipson wears multiple hats in his role with the university-Director of Criminal Justice Studies Program, professor,  coordinator  of the Self and Community in the 21st Century Learning and Living Community.

However-the show, titled “Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative”, offers much more than most imagine.  Ten years later, the show continues to be one of the premier staples that features music to the community.

The love for music began for Jipson when he was growing up in the western central part of Minnesota.  His folks were heavy into music from all corners.  Jipson’s father was a fan of country and Elvis, while his mom was a Californian who adored The Byrds, early Linda Ronstadt.  In his teens, he was listening to music what he called “terrible pop radio”, and was wanting more.  One day, Jipson’s wish came true.  “I am listening to the worst of the 70s music, and my cousin Steve introduces me to Kiss’ Alive, and I am changed.  Another cousin introduces me to Iggy and the Stooges.  It’s all gone from there,” he added.

Jipson began to dig deeper and deeper in different genres.  Jipson recalls collecting albums from Television, Patty Smith.  He talked about diving into punk rock, and getting in trouble in school because of it.  Due to where he was living at the time, Jipson says that he had to travel farther than most to catch live music.  “When I wanted to go see shows, I had to drive 3 and a half hours to get to Minneapolis.  I would drive 3 or 4 hours to see The Replacements, and wait in line.”  Jipson’s passion for music allowed him to discover more than he could ever imagine.

In 1988, Jipson received a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Anthropology, and Political Science from the University of Minnesota.  He also received his Masters and Doctorate degrees in Sociology, Criminology, and Social Theory from Bowling Green State University.  When he was at BGSU, Jipson was the last grad student to study with Ron Denisoff, who wrote the definitive autobiography on Waylon Jennings, which was published in the 80s.  Denisoff was among the first generation of sociologists who took music seriously as part of culture, not just musicology alone.

In 2001, Jipson arrived at the University of Dayton after teaching in Miami University for several years.  One of the goals he wanted to achieve when he arrived on campus was to connect to the city.  He started doing projects where his students would work with various schools and literacy programs in Dayton.  He created a pop culture class that is now in the Sociology department.  “We talk about the history of popular music,” Jipson says when describing what the class entails.  “I take them back to the 1910s, and work my way from turn of the century all the way up to the present.  It’s a fun class, and we all learn from each other.”

With only so much that Jipson could do within the class with the sociology of popular music and culture, he wanted to do more.  He envisioned what he could do to have his students understand more about the depth of music, and even more so that is being made in their backyard.  It was then that Jipson began his weekly radio show, which debuted in November 2004.

When you sit down with Jipson, you immediately see that his excitement that comes off on-air isn’t something that is produced or fake.  There is no possibility that it can be.  When you listen to him talk, you get just as excited about the topic you are discussing.  Jipson comes off as a real life John Keating from the movie Dead Poets Society.  You could only imagine the methods that Jipson uses to reach his students.  Encouraging them to seize life, and become enchanted with the city that they are living in.

The show has grown over the years.  During the early days, the show was called “School of Rock with Dr. J”.  Jipson centered the show with a focus on connections with music and bands.  He incorporated some musicology, sociology, and psychology.  After a couple of years, Jipson’s wife, Tracey (aka to listeners as Mrs. Dr. J), joined the show full-time after she was mostly calling in and suggest music.  The format also was modified.  The music that is played on the show started to shift towards  mostly local music around that year, with also playing music regionally and nationally, ranging from new to older songs.

Ten years have magically come and gone, and there are no plans for Art and Tracey to slow down.  They are hoping to eventually have the show more accessible after the original airing.  For now, they will continue to come to the airwaves every Tuesday, and provide all of their listeners with great music, CD reviews, upcoming show announcements, interviews, and so much more.  Lessons are being taught to all of us, indirectly.

There is not a doubt that we are all standing on our tables in unison, staring straight down at Art Jipson, Dayton’s own music professor.

One by one, we say to him, “O Captain, my Captain”.

Western Sky: Dorsie Fyffe Comes Full Circle

Dorsie_Courtyard2The story that is Dorsie Fyffe’s life has seen the highest of the highs, and the lowest of the lows.  Each page of his existence that has  been written is chock-full of experiences that have molded him into the person that he is today.

Fyffe will be releasing his new limited edition 7-inch single featuring the original song “Western Sky,” Dayton.  The single is a tour  de force of shimmery guitar, driving bassline and traditional country beat.  Another single being released this Saturday will also  contain a version of “Amazing Grace”, which was recorded live at the historic Ryman Theatre in Nashville.  Fyffe has more music  already recorded, and plans to release it as a vinyl series.  The next 7 inch will be released in July.  Each year, Fyffe plans to release  two limited edition 7 inch will include something special.

Fyffe was one of the faces of the burgeoning music scene in Dayton during the 90s.  He worked as a DJ and music director for the  influential WOXY-FM (“97X”) that was beloved in the area for their role in playing alternative and independent music.  Fyffe was  nominated by Billboard magazine for its “Music Director of the Year” award when working at the station.  At the time Fyffe was working at WOXY-FM, he also began singing in the local Dayton band Johnny Smoke.  The country-punk band saw some success, releasing three cassettes, a 2-song vinyl 45, and a well-reviewed full-length CD, Launcher.

In 1997, Fyffe decided that he needed to pack his bags and move out of the Dayton and move to Cincinnati.  He talk during our recent phone conversation that he needed to get out of the scene during that time.  At the time, Fyffe was living in Dayton with rockers Tim Taylor of Brainiac and Dave Doughman of Swearing at Motorists.  Taylor famously was killed early in May that year when he lost control of his new Mercedes and slammed into a fire hydrant.  The death of not only his roommate/dear friend, along with a female made Fyffe reevaluate some things.

“We lived at the rock house on Main, which was kinda party century for everyone,” Fyffe explained.  “It got to the point where I just wanted to get back to normal.”

Fyffe continued commuting up to Dayton when he was playing in Johnny Smoke.  In 2000, the final show of Johnny Smoke was held in Dayton, and Fyffe began moving around.  In twelve years, Fyffe moved to San Francisco, Seattle, and Kansas City in hopes to find musicians that would fit into his stripped down sound.  Each stop hold some significance to Fyffe.  When talked about living in San Francisco, Fyffe talked about working at Tower Records, and how beautiful the city was.  “Even a rainy day isn’t a bad day in San Francisco”, Fyffe says.  When living in Kansas City, Fyffe experienced some unfortunate events that eventually led him to reconsider even playing music.

Fyffe’s music was starting to generate some buzz not only around the Kansas City area, but in national publications like the bi-monthly magazine No Depression. Bloodshot Records artists and other alt-country music forums.  After releasing the 45 which included singles “Backseat” and “Open Relationship” in 2011, Fyffe and his band filled in for John Doe from the punk band X at a record store day event in Lawrence, Kansas.  While prepping for a 10-day East Coast tour with alt-country singer Lydia Loveless, a series of unfortunate events started to snowball downhill.

“When I get back from Kansas City with all of my stuff, and the drummer says that he couldn’t do the tour.  The bassist wasn’t returning any of my phone calls.  It’s five days before going on tour, and I have to make a decision,” Fyffe explains.  “Apparently we aren’t going on tour, I have $4000 sitting over, and call Lydia Loveless’ manager and explain that bassist isn’t calling me back.  I’m starting to sweat, and mentioned that maybe we should cancel the tour.”

The canceling of the tour led him to move to where he is now-Austin, Texas.  Fyffe took a hiatus from music, trying to even come to grips of what happened in Kansas City.  He saw his opportunity to further his music quickly burn out.  However, Fyffe won’t go down that quietly.  He decided to make his shows more of an event.  His trip to Dayton will be only the 20th show in twelve years.  However, Fyffe scuffs out the thought that he should have been playing more.  “

While he has enjoyed living in Austin, he will be moving Los Angeles in April.  “All of the moves have been basically directly or indirectly involved trying to make music,” Fyffe says.  The move will also allow him to be closer to a dear friend of his, ex-Dayton Daily News writer Sara Baker Farr.  The two met when Baker was writing about the final show of Johnny Smoke in Dayton.

“We lost touch for a while, as I wound up moving to Chicago and then out to Los Angeles in 2006,” Farr said during an exchange of emails.  “Dorsie found me somehow and we reconnected. He started sending me some of the songs he’d been working on, and they were really good. His voice had gotten even stronger, and his songwriting was even better. The songs resonated. They had depth. They had soul. They were personal, but universal. They were an expression of where he was at, both as a songwriter and a man.”  Farr is currently working on a book that will feature Fyffe’s life.  “I asked Dorsie what he thought about the idea of a book. There was a pause — the kind that makes you wonder if you’ve lost your bloody mind and your grandiose scheme is going to crash and burn around you — and then he said that he’d love to do it,” Farr says.

The story that is Dorsie Fyffe’s life has seen the highest of the highs, and the lowest of the lows.  Each chapter that has been written is chalk full of experiences that have molded him into the person that he is today.  The moments that have led him up to this day have all played a part in the setting up the next one.  When talking to Farr about Fyffe, she summed up perfectly.

“Dorsie’s story is not only a personal history for him, nor is it just a glimpse into a time when Dayton was really on the precipice of something musically. It reaches beyond that, I think, and is about what it means to try and follow your dream despite almost ridiculous odds and one struggle after another. And to keep making these great songs during all of it? Well, there’s the hook – it’s a classic American country-rock story.”

On November 1st, Fyffe reunited with some friends that he hasn’t seen since that night in left Dayton.  He took the stage, and surely felt those feelings like he once had when he played in the local venues.  The release of the vinyl singles was in correlation with the holiday Dia de los Muertos, as he will be celebrating the life of friends that have passed, including Taylor.  As he blazed through his set, which included a Johnny Smoke song to close the set, the days of his music days haven’t sounded any better.  He danced around the stage as if it was his first all over again.

“I want to make my shows an event, because you really don’t see that much anymore,” Fyffe mentioned.

Fyffe returned home to start a new chapter of his life.  It’s only fitting that he decided that would be here in Dayton.  It’s where it all began.

It’s where it will begin…again.

To purchase the limited edition single, and to hear some of Dorsie Fyffe’s music, click on his website:  http://www.dorsiefyffe.com/.

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