After her tour with American Idol runner-up David Archuleta earlier this year, Gracie Schram is now living in Nashville, TN. No stranger to the city, Gracie has been coming to and from Nashville for the past few years in order to network and get her name known around town.
Gracie’s first release was when she was just 10 years old and now, she’s releasing her newest EP, “Dear Fall,” which is set to be released on September 30th. This EP was coproduced by Brad Corrigan and Rick Seibold.
I had the honor of listening to Gracie’s new EP before its release this Friday.
The EP opens with upbeat, summery track “Anywhere You Go,” which oftentimes serves as Gracie’s set opener. The song is sure to be a crowd favorite with its melodic “ohs” in the chorus and its lyrics about young love that were written to sing along to. The chorus’ lyrics “Oh / you know / I’ll go anywhere you go /oh / I love you so / I’ll go anywhere you go” are simple and sweet — a combination that makes Gracie Schram shine above the rest.
The second track “Walls” is perhaps the most relatable track on the EP. Gracie says that throughout her tour with David Archuleta, this was the song that got the best reception among the audience. The piano driven music and heartfelt lyrics go hand in hand to make “Walls” the most emotional song on the release and the string section adds that little extra spark.
“You Are My Sunshine” is a cover that combines two classics, “You Are My Sunshine” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.” This track seems destined to be on the hit television show Nashville. The two songs’ lyrics go together like peanut butter and jelly and Gracie makes it even more flavorful by employing beautiful harmonies. You can check out a live preview of the song below.
The last song on the EP is called “Don’t Cry Lullaby,” which is from the Ileana’s Smile soundtrack. Inspired by a girl named Ileana who was born and raised in a trash dump in Nicaragua, Gracie wrote the song for the movie after she was asked by Dispatch’s drummer Brad Corrigan. Just as its title suggests, “Don’t Cry Lullaby” makes you feel like you’re being wrapped in a long-overdue big bear hug. Ever since she was 10 years old, Gracie has been trying to change the world through her music, and “Don’t Cry Lullaby” has the power to do just that.
After the success of her previous release, I Am Me, and the quality of the upcoming EP, Dear Fall, it will be no surprise if Gracie charts on iTunes or on Billboard again like she did last time around. It’s only a matter a time before Gracie Schram has big artists opening for her on a sold out tour.
Originally hailing from St. Louis, Missouri, Caroline Glaser made the big move to Nashville, Tennessee a few years ago — a fact that is highlighted on her self-titled album that will be released on June 24th. Caroline Glaser’s album is uniquely “her.” When you listen to her voice fill the room, you’ll come to find that you want her to tell you her stories. And Caroline definitely has some stories to tell — from spending some time on the hit TV Show “The Voice” to opening up for Straight No Chaser. And although not all of us can be as fortunate to get to know Caroline over coffee in Nashville, we can get to know her through her music. Her raw honestly is as good as it gets.
MusicDash: You’re originally from St. Louis. What initially drew you to the Nashville area?
Caroline Glaser: I found a booking agent in Nashville around 2013 and he set me up with some meetings and writing sessions right away– I just kind of fell in love with the city and people. It’s such an inspiring place.
MusicDash: Was there any specific moment during your life that made you think “I want to do this forever”
Caroline Glaser: My first little headlining tour in 2013 was super pivotal for me. That’s when I really fell in love with performing my original music for people. There were a LOT of ups and downs (probably mainly downs), but I remember on my drive home just thinking about how I could never picture myself doing anything else.
MusicDash: Let’s talk about Caroline and the Chocolate Factory! Where did you get the idea for the EP from? What happens if you get a golden ticket?
Caroline Glaser: Well I LOVE the film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I had it on one day and during the “cheer up, Charlie” scene I thought about how cool it would be to cover that song– it’s so beautiful. It gradually turned into a cover EP exclusively for people who pledged on my pledge campaign (for my new record). I ended up really being proud of the EP though and wanted to do more with it– so I started selling physical CDs on my website and on tour. I hid Golden tickets in 15 of them and they’ll get an exclusive Tee shirt with the first batch of signed CDs once they come out on June 24th.
MusicDash: Your first ever full record is coming out on Friday the 24th! Congrats! What can you tell us about the record?
Caroline Glaser: Thank you so so much! I’m really excited about this one. I co-produced it with a friend of mine, Michael Kight. He had been playing out on the road with me for a little over a year when we decided to do the project together, so he definitely had a good feel for the direction I wanted to go in.
MusicDash: What was the writing process like for this record? Did you do any cowrites?
Caroline Glaser: I wrote/cowrote 8 out of the 9 songs on the record. The second to last track is a cover of “Your Love” by the Outfield and about half of them were written with some awesome writers here in Nashville. I wrote most of the material in 2015m although there are a couple older ones in there.
MusicDash: I know that this is a hard one, but what is one of your favorite songs to perform live?
Caroline Glaser: I guess it kind of depends– my favorite venues to play are intimate theaters/listening rooms. In that setting I really love playing “Waterfall” — it’s probably one of my favorites on the new record. In a more lively/fun atmosphere like a club or something, I like playing “Wolves.” It’s one of the most upbeat songs I’ve written.
MusicDash: What has been your most memorable performance?
Caroline Glaser: Probably when I opened up for Straight No Chaser at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis. I grew up seeing huge acts there, so that was pretty surreal.
MusicDash: What is it about making music that captivates you?
Caroline Glaser: Oh gosh, everything form the lyrics to the melodies. I’ve always been a huge music lover.
MusicDash: Recently you released a live video of your song “Wishing Well” that you recorded at YouTube Nashville. How did you get involved with them?
Caroline Glaser: That was such a fun video shoot– it was just an opportunity that resented itself through my management team. I was really really excited to do it. Such a cool popup event.
MusicDash: You’ve been on tour with artists like Us the Duo, Kris Allen, and Nashville-based Liz Longley. Have any other artists that you’ve connected with so far offered you any words of advice about the industry?
Caroline Glaser: Just really to not get discouraged. There are a LOT of ups and downs in music and I think patience and motivation are truly the most important qualities for success.
MusicDash: If you had to describe your sound for somebody who’s never heard you before, what would you say?
Caroline Glaser: Hmm that’s tough– I would probably put it under the “indie-folk” category, but there are some soft rock/pop elements to the new record. It’s all pretty mellow though.
MusicDash: Besides your upcoming release, what’s coming up for you for the rest of the year?
Caroline Glaser: Writing, writing, writing! I’m already working on some upcoming projects that I am suuuuper excited about. Between records, though, I’m hoping to tour quite a bit. Still working on getting that nailed down.
Originally hailing from Indiana, Harpooner is a three-piece band that has a love for the Beatles, and infuses that influence into their music. Although the band formed in 2012, “Rose Park” will be their first full length release, which is due out in digital stores on June 24th. Surrounding the release, Harpooner has been playing shows all over the US — from Nashville to North Carolina to New York.
Last week I had a chat with Scott Schmadeke of the band, and here’s what he had to say.
MusicDash: What originally drew you to Nashville?
Harpooner: I’ve been touring with Tennessee acts for years and grew tired of taking the Megabus down every other week.
MusicDash: How did you all meet and decide to form a band?
Harpooner: Basement shows in Bloomington (where we are from) are the bloodline of creativity in that town. We played a few of those under different names (Lennie’s House Band, The HawtDawgs, MilkyMilky) but Harpooner stuck finally and off we went.
MusicDash: So you’re currently out on the road with Houndmouth. What have been some of you’re favorite cities that you’ve been to so far?
Harpooner: The Houndmouth guys are great. One of my best buds from Bloomington, Tim Smiley, does FOH for them and gave me the spot once the position became open. Austin was great, until I scraped up my legs falling into Barton Springs naked with many a strangers around.
MusicDash: I saw you were at Shaky Knees this year. I was there too! Which performances did you absolutely love?
Harpooner: Shaky and the accommodations were fantastic. Free Barber and Tattoo Artist for musicians was dynamite. After all the years living in the same tiny town as Murder By Death, I finally got to see them 20 hours away from home. We chummed up real quick.
MusicDash: Tell us about your single “Carolines.” Where did you draw the inspiration from?
Harpooner: Well I was dating three different Carolines at the same time for a long period of time, so naturally, you could say, twice as much inspiration to draw from.
MusicDash: You also just released the video! Who directed it, where did you shoot it, and again, where did that inspiration come from?
Harpooner: Andy Beargie in Bloomington, IN (Blockhouse Studios) pretty much has been our creative champion for this entire project since day one. He has engineered, mixed, produced, finished the album photo and design, and shot the music video. He is the only true inspiration to the band because of how talented and kind he is. Long LIVE ANDY!
MusicDash: Your LP “Rose Park” is due out June 24. What can your listeners expect?
Harpooner: An interstellar, socially injust, and heartbroken year of 2014.
MusicDash: What album has been your favorite release of the year so far? What albums are you most excited for in the coming months?
Harpooner: Life of Pablo – Kanye West. Nothing else is relevant.
MusicDash: Besides your new release, what’s coming up next for you this year?
Harpooner: I’d love to start a family, maybe even open a flower shop with a piano in it… Nah, I’ll probably just be other people’s bitch for another decade or so. A boy can dream though, right?
The Niles Rooker Trio might be young, but the band already has a specific goal in mind — to bring Nashville the vibes of their favorite 50s and 60s hit tracks. With an EP already under their belt and performances at some of Nashville’s hottest venues, the trio is already impressing us over at MusicDash (we can see them taking over your nearest festival stage real soon).
We spoke to Niles Rooker, the lead singer of the band, ahead of the release of their new single “I Won’t Sleep,” due out June 3rd. In the meantime, add their track “Beach Talk” to your Summer Playlist — linked below!
MusicDash: What originally drew you to Nashville?
Niles Rooker: I had always wanted an excuse to move to Nashville. The music scene here is impeccable. That’s basically the gist haha.
MusicDash: When and how did you get your start in music?
Niles Rooker: I started songwriting at the age of 12. 10 years later and I’m a lot better at it haha. I’ve always found people to play with since then but when I got to Nashville, playing with Jeff [Meloen] and Ryan [Lemp] changed everything.
MusicDash: How did you all meet and decide to form a band?
Niles Rooker: Jeff and I met at school and started off as a duo. We were wearing the same shoes on the first day of classes and struck up a convo. From there, we talked music for several minutes. We went from trying to jam in a storage unit to Jeff’s landlord barging in unannounced telling us to be quiet. We wanted to get a third member with a bass so that we could add a new dynamic to my songs. Queue Ryan Lemp.
MusicDash: You have a new single called “I Won’t Sleep” coming out on June 3rd! Tell us a little bit about that. What can we expect?
Niles Rooker: It’s an upbeat Elvis/Cash influenced song that’s full of energy and fun instrumentation. It defines some of our sound as live performers. You can expect quick and catchy hooks that even get stuck in our heads.
MusicDash: I know that you guys changed your name recently. What inspired that change?
Niles Rooker: It’s kind of funny, we were just using my name since I’m doing the writing. However, there was always one drunk dude at each show shouting, “No! Not your name, what’s the name of the band!” We all still joke about that. Even further, I like being called the trio because it emphasizes everyone’s parts and contributions. When you think that only three people are up on stage or in the recording, you can appreciate what is being played more.
MusicDash: You’ve released an EP before. What difference in sound can we expect between your new single and your previous EP, if any at all?
Niles Rooker: The single goes in a more country rock direction. It was highly influenced by Chuck Berry, Elvis, and Johnny Cash. And that’s not to say that’s what the next song will be. We like diversity and right now we’re attracted to a plethora of different directions. We also spent more time filling up the sound of the new single with overdubs and some new instrumentation for us as a band.
MusicDash: What has been one of your favorite or most memorable performances in Nashville?
Niles Rooker: As an artist, a recent show we played takes the cake. We hit the Exit/In for the album release of some close friends of ours, Floralorix. The energy was on fire and our parts were crushed for 35 minutes of euphoria.
MusicDash: Are there any venues around Nashville that you’re dying to play?
Niles Rooker: The Ryman and Ascend! I love all the venues of Nashville and we have played at a vast majority of them at one time or another. I hope to snag an opening slot at Ascend in the near future somehow. 9. What inspires you to write songs? Other musicians. I’ll be listening to music on my phone or at show and I’ll get that feeling, “I need to write.” Everyone should be inspirational. That’s how you can push each other to be better.
MusicDash: What’s coming up next for you this year?
Niles Rooker: We have a tour planned this July/August that travels through the southern states. It’s our first time on the road so we are truly stoked to get out there and rock!
England-based artist Maverick Sabre is a multi-genre rapper, singer, and artist who recently joined TEAfilms in the studio for a session. Sabre performed two “stripped back” songs — and original off of his newest release “Innerstanding,” and a cover. Sabre said in the behind the scenes video of the shoot that “I always feel like I connect with people a lot easier and a lot quicker and a lot more direct when it’s stripped back.”
“Lay Your Head” opens up with some beautiful acoustic guitar that really brings out the strength in Maverick Sabre’s voice. It reminds me a little bit of Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish’s voice circa the 90s — it goes very well with acoustic and laid back tracks, but it has a layer of rock in it. In a world of autotune and pop music taking over the charts, I’m not sure if I’ve heard a voice this unique in a long time. “Lay Your Head” provides heartfelt lyrics to a lover “lay your head on me / trust you will find a little peace.” I swear that this song will be stuck in your head for days in the best way.
His cover of Glen Cambell’s “Wichita Lineman” is slightly more upbeat than his original. Sabre told TEAfims that a friend first showed him the song a few years ago and he “fell in love with the tune.” Sabre brings a lot of feeling and passion to the song, even if he might not relate to its lyrics “I need a small vacation / but it don’t look like rain.” The song itself showcases Sabre’s vocal ability in a raw and honest way. This cover was definitely a great addition to his live session and I hope that he incorporates it into his future live shows.
Overall, I was very impressed with this live session. I can’t wait to see what Maverick Sabre brings us in the future!
Last month, I sat down with Nashville punk band Break and Enter. Even though they’re just getting started, they’ve been showing their chops playing with various big-name bands around the city. After the release of their debut EP, they added a second guitarist into the mix which helped the band round out their sound and complete their band. Check out the interview below!
MusicDash: How did you guys all meet and decide to come together as a band?
Isaac: Brock heard me playing drums cause he lived below me.
Brock: It all started with Charlie. He posted in the Facebook group “wanna start a pop-punk band?” and one of my favorite bands of all time is Real Friends so I was like “yes, I would love to be in something like this” but I didn’t think I could do it because I had never sang before at all. Then we decided after we talked to a couple of people that we wanted to do more of the music that we were all really into at the time. That all kind of happened around the time when we all went and saw Beartooth play a house show and we were like “why don’t we just do this? This seems like a lot more fun.” Then we needed a drummer and Isaac was above me and annoyed me all the time with his drumming for 5 hours a day so I just decided to just message him because he didn’t seem to have much to do. All he does is play drums. Haha! He was like “yeah, I’ll do it.”
Charlie: I knew Matt because we were in a dorm together.
Brock: We originally had two other members and they committed wholeheartedly to the band at the end of our freshman year and then quit during the summer. So we added Matt during the summer because he was so in to do something fun and then we added Ashley just recently this semester. She played her first show and absolutely nailed it. She was a great addition.
MusicDash: You guys recently released a music video for “Avalanche.” Who shot it and what was that experience like for you?
Matt: Actually, one of my friends shot that at another school. I actually met him through another friend mutually here. We decided to shoot it in a white room because he had a connection to it because of his major. He was a film major and that was what he wanted to do with his life. He shot a repertoire of music videos before us so I had a little bit to look at so I had a gauge to understand what the quality was that we were looking for versus price. Honestly I think that that was the cheapest that we could have ever bought a music video for for that quality and the amount of hours and post production that he put in for us. It was just an incredible outcome.
Brock: Plus doing it now, there’s definitely stuff that if I had known what it would look like and the finished product, I would have done a little bit differently. But I feel like our next video, whenever we decide to make it is going to be really good. It’s going to be insane because we are going to know what it’s like to shoot a video because the entire time we were standing around like “this is incredible. What are we doing?” We were really nervous and we shouldn’t have been nervous. I love what we did now but it makes me even more excited to do it again.
MusicDash: You recently played with Wage War. How did you guys get that opportunity and what was it like opening for them?
Brock: I emailed Music City Booking and had literally never talked to them before because they’re very hard to talk to. I’m sure that they get swamped with emails. I emailed them and said that we were emerging and we will bring people. We love Wage War and would love to open for them. And they were so down to let us do it. They asked if we could confirm, so I ran into Charlie’s room as he was getting out of the shower and I grabbed him and said “WE’RE OPENING FOR WAGE WAR!” And that’s what we did. It was so awesome. It was such a cool experience.
MusicDash: Your EP was released last November. What was that process like?
Matt: It was definitely a rush at first. The very first time that we ever got in a practice room, we knew we wanted something released that semester to have something to play so that we could be on stage and start performing. We were talking about recording so that we could have something to give people because that’s one of the major things that you need to get out there in the world — you need to have something that somebody can physically hold. You’ve gotta have that tangible form.
Brock: They need something to listen to. That was the main thing.
Matt: And then we wrote the first song, which was “Detonate.” We just started to riff write it. Charlie started jamming with me, then Isaac filled in. That’s kind of how we started writing. We just did our own things and fit them together like pieces of a puzzle. We changed one or two things here and there. That’s kind of how we went about doing it and that’s how we’re still doing it now. We just like to come up on things on our own and share them with the group. It’s basically like this is Parliament — we each vote yes or no.
Brock: I always have these ideas and I hear the guitar in my head. I’ll just be sitting in class thinking about whatever lyrics I’ve written, and then I’ll hear a guitar in my head. I never thought about recording myself on my phone but then I tweeted one of my favorite bands, Stray From The Path, and their lead singer replied to me and said “I literally speak the riffs into my phone in voice memos and my entire band makes fun of me.” And I thought that was a good idea so I started doing that.
Matt: And then we proceeded to make fun of him.
MusicDash: Overall, you seem like you mesh together really well as musicians. Why do you think that you work together so well?
Brock: I was really impressed with Isaac because I’ve been in a band before where, especially the drummer, is terrified to write drum stuff. Some people only want to be handed things or can’t improvise anything. I was really worried going into writing stuff that I’ve never done before that Isaac would have to walk on two crutches or have us have to wheel him in to write. But he’s been doing somersaults. He’s just really good at it. That was beyond my expectations and made me feel very comfortable.
Isaac: I think that Brock and I have a good balance because I like not starting from nothing. The previous band I was in last year, the singer wanted to do exactly that. He wanted to give me all of my parts exactly how he wanted them and I hated it. Brock is like “start with this and mold it to exactly how you want it” and I think that works really well. It’s not me coming up with the entire song myself and then everybody else not speaking their mind. But it’s not him coming up with the entire song and me not speaking my mind.
Brock: One thing that I’m really glad we did was last semester we assigned roles in the group chat. I basically told everybody that this was their role. And Matt is the antagonist. So I told him that his job was to always look at what could possibly go wrong and tell it to me. And Matt has 100% kept doing that. Sometimes it’s really frustrating. I’ll be like “hey, let’s get these shirts” and he’ll go “but where can we get them cheaper? How much is the shipping?” I’m like “it’s just an idea” and then I’ll think back and go ‘I’m really glad he said that because it got me working on it.’
Charlie: What was my role?
Brock: I don’t know. I don’t remember.
MusicDash: So Ashley joined the band in January. How has that been different for you?
Isaac: It has been nice though. From the drummer’s perspective, we’ve had all these practices before Ashley and now after Ashley. Getting our music fleshed out a little bit more and playing live with Ashley has been great.
Charlie: It’s nice having a second guitarist in the band.
Brock: I originally texted Ashley and asked her to join the band and she was like “I don’t know. Thanks for the offer.” And then she joined.
Ashley: At first I was like “I listen to the music but I don’t play it. You might be able to find someone else who’s better at playing it.” But it’s a good time and I like it a lot.
MusicDash: What were your first impressions of the band when you first started playing with them?
Ashley: Like I said before, I kind of said no. But when I first tried out and jammed and stuff I tried to play the song that I knew best that was kind of from this scene. It seemed cool with them and I really liked hanging out. I didn’t know them really well so it was a little bit awkward at first. But I kind of realized that it wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it was going to be. The song that I tried out for the band with I learned an hour before by ear.
Matt: We knew that she was good enough for our band with an hour’s practice.
Ashley: Yeah, they seemed to be down and I was like ‘yeah, that’s cool.’ So we played that song that I tried out with and then Brock was like “cool, let’s start making a song. I’ve got an idea.” and I was like ‘wow, that was quick!’ And within two practices, we had our song “Guillotine” done. I think it’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot more to it that I didn’t realize. When I said no, I didn’t expect to meet people, make a lot of new friends, and play fun music.
Brock: One thing that I wanted to mention about my first impression of Ashley was that she sent us a video of her playing an Escape the Fate song. I was watching it in my room and there’s a part in the song where she taps and I’m like “Charlie, can you do this?” And he’s like “yeah, I can do that.” And then she started tapping really quick and he’s like “yeah, I can’t do that.” The biggest thing for me was that we didn’t want to have somebody in the band that wasn’t technically good and couldn’t learn things. But when Ashley told us that she was technically good and then she performed it live for us. I wanted to see how she would perform under pressure because I knew that she was really nervous. She missed a few notes, but overall she did a really good job. The fact that she can learn and the fact that she can write was the biggest thing for us.
Isaac: I was a little concerned. Brock’s role was to be concerned with the technicality stuff but as a drummer I was like “whoever joins this has to be cool.” I was pretty concerned about that and I knew as soon as we saw the other guitarists that tried out, I didn’t think that they molded well. Ashley was pretty chill and it’s been going good so far.
Brock: It went from Ashley saying like four words in a practice to her screaming at Charlie. She was mad. It took like three practices but she adjusted pretty quick.
Ashley: I was kind of intimidated at first because I didn’t know them and I didn’t know how to act. But then I was like ‘this is fine. I can yell at Charlie.’
Matt: To be honest, I can’t remember a time when no one was yelling at Charlie.
Isaac: I’ve always yelled at Charlie. I love yelling at Charlie.
Matt: Maybe that’s your role — the person we can blame everything on. The scapegoat.
After releasing two well-supported singles in 2015, Manchester indie dream band AFFAIRS is back and ready for the new year. The band brings something special to the table with lead singer Jim Robinson’s unique vocals and the groovy instrumentals of their newest release Play. Like Brothers before it, Play was touched by all of the right people, including producer Ed Buller.
The track draws you in from the first beat of the drums, and keeps you going throughout with its catchy and nostalgic lyrics. The song’s chorus says “if you want it all, then you’ve got it” and AFFAIRS definitely has it. We’re excited to hear what else the band has up their sleeve this year.
Andrew Tufano was probably voted “most likely to succeed” in high school. And if not, he probably should have been. He has fire in his eyes and passion in his heart, and that alone could get you far in the music industry. But it’s the talent that’ll shoot him straight to the top. Last summer he came off of a self-booked country-wide tour and released some new music, and this spring, Andrew’s going to get to touring again. But not before doubling the amount of songs he’s written so far in his career. I sat down with Andrew at a Nashville coffee shop called Eighth and Roast last month. Here’s what he had to say:
MusicDash: What are your favorite things about Nashville?
Andrew Tufano: Coffee’s up there. Eighth and Roast is up there. The things that keep me here are the people. That’s really what it is. Everybody’s here: there’s so many musicians and so much talent here. It’s very hospitable. There’s a lot of friendly people. Pretty much everybody I’ve ever asked to get coffee with and pick their brain, no matter how busy they are, they make time. You can’t do that in New York. People would just be like “no, talk to my assistant.” So I really love that aspect. It really makes up for the amount of gigs that don’t pay you. Cause if that weren’t here, I’d be out of here in a heartbeat but that keeps me here. Everybody’s here and I love it.
MusicDash: How did you get your start in music?
Andrew Tufano: My parents kind of forced me to play piano for a couple of years. That was where it started. I think I was in second grade when I got a little Casio keyboard for Christmas. They had me take a lessons for two years and I was like “okay, whatever.” They bought a full sized keyboard because the teacher was like “alright, he’s got to the point where this isn’t going to work.” Shortly after that I really wanted to quit but they were like “no, we just bought this full-sized keyboard. You’re going to keep taking lessons for at least another year.” And sometime during that I started playing a lot of Billy Joel and a lot of other stuff I really liked. Because when you’re first starting out you can’t play those types of songs. I got to a certain level where I started enjoying it and I just got hooked. I did instrumental songwriting a lot. I did a lot of electronic composition. I had Scorewriter and I entered this competition and they flew me out to Dallas to give me Sibelius. I was in that whole sphere and then I completely switched over in eighth grade to guitarist singer/songwriter. I’ve been doing that seriously since high school.
MusicDash: What’s your writing process like?
Andrew Tufano: The writing process is just ridiculous. I’m doing this project this winter where I’m writing 100 songs in 100 days. I’ve been writing a lot because of that. I’ve been writing the songs two weeks in advance so that I can sit with them for a little while before we record them. They’re going to be written within a hundred days but released within a hundred days two weeks later. There’s lyrics all over my room and it’s insanity. The biggest struggle for me is just organization. Mostly my writing process is a logistical nightmare. I’m trying to streamline that. It’s just me spewing out ideas, ferreting at first (either musically or lyrically). Usually I have a melody and chords in my head and I get those down. And then just taking that and editing it. It’s not even creative at that point. It just feels like I’m putting together a puzzle. So in a nutshell, its insanity.
MusicDash: Who would you say that some of your influences are?
Andrew Tufano: I’ll kind of take an artist and listen to them nonstop for a couple of weeks and then I’ll completely drop them. Right now, I’m on Ray LaMontagne. This morning I listened to that 2004 album he had four times in a row all the way through. And then I’ll kind of borrow some of his ideas. That’s kind of what I’ve done, so as far as inspiration goes, there’s this weird collection of artists that I’ll get really into and take some of their ideas or stylistic things and then move on. If I had to name one, it would be Billy Joel. In my childhood that was all I would listen to. I played like his entire discography. Since then it’s just such a collection that it’s hard for me to name a handful of artists.
MusicDash: I know this is tough, but what has been one of your favorite performances in Nashville?
Andrew Tufano: Honestly, one of my favorite performances that I’ve had here happened a few days ago in Puckett’s downtown. Usually when I play there in the winter, there’s not a lot of people there. It just happened to be packed, line out the door and I just lucked out. The people were just having such a good time and it was a good response after every song. I was making jokes with people and there was a lot of communication from the stage as opposed to just a one way “this is my stuff, you listen,” people were interacting and calling out songs. It was a really good time. There have been a lot of different types of shows here. I’ve played some house shows here and a lot of writer’s rounds, and some charities and hospitals. A big variety, so it’s hard to compare.
MusicDash: You went on a pretty long tour of the US last summer. Tell us a little about that. Where were some of your favorite places to play? How did you go about booking it?
Andrew Tufano: Let’s see. I played the Bluebird twice on the tour. Once with a trio, once solo. It was a really long tour! I just love playing there. They have an MC that goes up and says “guys, be quiet. No cell phones, listen.” It’s not a big room but everybody’s staring at you and listening to every word. Even at listening room shows, everybody’s not going to hear every word. There’s going to be people talking. There’s a little bit of pressure and you start second-guess like “I’ve never really thought about this lyric before. Everybody’s listening to it!” Usually I just sing and people forget once I get to the chorus.
My favorite city was probably Seattle. There’s no mosquitos there, everybody’s really chill. I’ve never really spent too much time on the west coast until this summer. There really is a west coast/east coast thing. There’s a different culture. The west coast has this sort of chill/hippy, a lot of tech people there. There’s a lot of art. I really like that aspect of that, so I really liked Seattle a lot. The west coast though, I didn’t have a lot booked. I had a house show in Seattle, but it wasn’t that big. The east coast was more of a tour – we had a show almost every day. The west coast was more of a vacation. We had like seven shows on the whole coast and we were there for about three weeks. It was a show every three days or so. The other days we were just kind of hanging out in the city and exploring and spending all of the money that we made on the east coast. It was such a good experience.
On the tour we played about 35ish and I booked them all myself. The reason that the east coast was so busy was because I was doing independent booking. I honestly just bit off a little more than I could chew. I booked it chronologically, so the further we got into the tour, the less we had booked. The first two weeks it was like every night we had a show. It was great! Then we just kind of slowed down and by the time we got to LA, it was like “alright.” I think there was a five day period with no shows so we were just driving around in Arizona.
MusicDash: So you had your EP that was released in September. Tell us a little bit about it. What was the process like for you?
Andrew Tufano: This was the first professional thing that I put out that wasn’t recorded in a studio. I have two other EPs that were recorded in a studio in Virginia. This one, I did in two different house studios with the Rhett Walker Band. They essentially made the album. They all played on it: the guitarist, the bassist, and the drummer. The drummer was the producer and most of the songs were recorded and mixed in the drummer’s house. Some of the parts were recorded in the guitarist’s house.
That’s something that honestly ten years ago I think wouldn’t have even been practical. Just the way that technology has improved. You can get such good sound out of somebody’s house. So I’m really excited about how it turned out. So I’m really satisfied with how it turned out. That helped save money too. I didn’t have to book studio time and the guys were so cool. Kenny Davis was the producer. He’s just an awesome guy. A really talented guy. He’s the first producer that I’ve worked with that isn’t in the same vein of instrumentalists as I am. I play the guitar and piano, so I’ve always worked with guitarists and pianists. We’d have similar ideas, which I hadn’t even realized until working with him. He’s a drummer and he’s be like “oh, we should do a half-time groove in the chorus.” He thought about things a little differently so it was great working with him.
That was all recorded February through April. I printed the CDs in May and I had them exclusively on the tour. So the songs have been done since May, but the digital release wasn’t until September 1st. There was a release show in D.C and the last leg of the tour was the release, but I actually had it the whole time on tour. It was kind of a little fun thing to give people.
MusicDash: Tell us a little bit about the Amplify Entertainment 100 songs in 100 days project!
Andrew Tufano: How do I put this? It’s going to be the death of me! It’s going to drive me to insanity and back. So I had this idea for a project near the end of my tour. I was trying to figure out what to do next and I have a tour booked February 20th to March 20th. I have another tour in the works from April until May but I had this whole block of time in the winter. I wanted to do something cool and something interesting and I wanted to challenge myself and push myself. I kind of played around with the idea of 100 songs in 100 days. I had done weeks called ‘7 in 7′ — 7 songs in 7 days and that was kind of challenging. So I don’t know why I thought that this would be okay. Like I’m going to go home after this and write a song.
So far it’s been good! I’m just surprised that Amplify Entertainment was on board with this. They’re really talented guys. So we have Forrest producing it, Joey and Mitchell are the Audio and Visual guys. I’m surprised that they’re on board. They all are for whatever reason. I think that the release is December 8th. We have 7 videos recorded already, We’re doing 5 or 6 videos on Sunday. We’re going to try to stay 10 videos ahead because there will be times that one of us goes out of town. So we need to be 10 videos ahead or the project will fail. There’s no other way.
So yeah, that’s the project. I really want to test the relationship between creativity and productivity. I think that’s what it is. I’ve had a lot of people tell me “oh, you’re right brained. You’re really creative, so you’re probably not good at organization or the business side” and I don’t think that being good at one thing inhibits you from being good at another. I don’t think that’s related. I don’t think that that’s very scientific either. You can have two halves of one brain. Like I was talking about with writing is that you have to sit down and write it all and then you have to make it all work. It feels different. I do think that a lot of people will limit themselves. That’s kind of a limiting belief to say “I’m a creative person, so I can’t do this. I need to find a manager. I need to find someone else to do it.” That’s just kind of selling yourself short. So, I kind of want to challenge that.
All of the videos will be finished by February 20th but the last video won’t come out until March 7th or 14th. And I’m giving a Ted X talk about how everything went. I don’t know what I’m going to talk about yet, but it’s the culmination of the whole project just to kind of be like “this is what I learned, this is what I had problems with, this is how it went.” I’ll play a few of the songs. And then we’re hopefully going to do a documentary about the whole experience.
MusicDash: What else is coming up for you in 2016?
Andrew Tufano: I just sat down with a booking agent about my schedule for next year. She’s like “give me all the dates you have booked, where you want to book, where you want to tour.” I have the tour in February and March going down to Florida cause it’s warmer down there. I have a tour in April and May with a band in the southeast. And then after that, I didn’t have much planned. I’m probably just going to move out of my apartment and tour around. I’m never there and I feel like “why am I paying for rent?”
I literally wrote an email saying “I don’t know what I’m doing after May.” I literally told her that I’m down for whatever. I want to go to the west coast again. A friend and I are trying to tour the Rockies. I have a fiddle player and we’re going to tour from Nashville to Boston on these dates, but I don’t care where we go in between. We can hit the east coast, we can go up the midwest. Things are just so up in the air. After I write 100 songs, things will look different. My entire show will be different because I’ll have new songs. I think my style will be different.
Hopefully this will gather a little bit of a following. I don’t have a big YouTube following right now, so hopefully this will get me a little more in the YouTube scene. I think it’s just a matter of adjusting on the fly and seeing where things go. I’ve always been comfortable with that. That’s why I freelance and why I don’t have a job right now. I would prefer to just take things as they go. If I have too much planned, I feel trapped.
Every time I’m interviewed and I’m asked this question, I say the same thing and that frightens me. It’s like “well I have the next few months planned, but after that, we’ll see.” I’ll let you know.
Last weekend, I went to RJ Bracchitta’s album release show at The Basement in Nashville, TN. I arrived just in time for RJ to take the stage. I stood towards the back was in the perfect position to see how the audience interacted with RJ. From what I saw, the audience was pretty content with RJ’s performance and stage presence. I overheard a young woman say “he has a great personality.” Heck, I’m pretty sure that I even saw a couple slow dancing at one point.
The musicians on stage were assisting RJ in making music that stood out. RJ said to the crowd between songs “These guys are some of the greatest musicians I’ve ever met.” RJ is a pretty talented guy himself, playing the piano, the acoustic, and the electric guitar.
The last song of RJ’s set was the title track of his album “Free.” He introduced the song with a little speech in which he said “every single person in this room is completely different and that’s incredible. We should embrace that.” The band then broke into this “super cool synchronized clap thing” (I’m copying directly from my notes here). The clapping was a great complement to RJ’s guitar playing. Musically, this song was definitely my favorite. Crowd participation is a very big deal to me, and RJ nailed it with having us all sing “I wanna be free.” We even had some drunken harmonies from the audience, which actually made a nice addition to the performance. As a Nashville newcomer would say, “only in Nashville.”
In closing, RJ’s songs may only live on our Snapchat stories just for the night, but they’ll live in our minds for much longer.
You can check out RJ’s album “Free” on his website here.
These past couple of months have been huge for Kyler Daron and his band. They’ve played Belmont University’s Rock Showcase, released an EP called “Whispers in the Woods” which was mixed by Grammy nominated Paul Moak, and played a release show at Nashville’s own The End. Although Kyler Daron’s band is in his name, it is clear that the band members are all about collaboration and fun — just watch them on stage. During their cover of The Killers’ “When You Were Young,” Kyler changes the lyrics to “I look a little bit like Jesus,” and captures the attention of the audience instantly. Combining humor, heart, and honesty, Daron’s music feel a little bit like home.
MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?
Kyler Daron: I was brought to Nashville, like almost anyone, to be among some of the best musicians and artists in the nation. Choosing to come here was the best thing I could have done for my musical career. Being surrounded by all of these talented people really has made me up my game.
MusicDash: When did you start forming your band and how did you hone in on your sound?
Kyler Daron: I’ve been cycling through bands and members for the last four years or so. Some have stuck around throughout the years, and new friends have been made along the way. The group has really solidified in the last year, and we couldn’t have more fun doing what we do. I’m not sure at this point even that we’ve truly honed in on our song! Everything is still really fresh, and we’re still experimenting with our studio approaches and live performances of the songs. I’m also writing all the time, and trying to create from different perspectives and influences.
MusicDash: You recently performed at the Belmont University Rock Showcase, which is a pretty big deal around these parts. What would you say that you took away from the experience?
Kyler Daron: Rock Showcase was a straight up good time. That was our first time playing on a stage of that size with that much technology and production, and we had a lot of people come out and see us play! Things couldn’t have gone better in my opinion. To be honest, we were just honored to play the gig. There was a great lineup of bands and we made a lot of friends during the few days of prepping and playing the show.
MusicDash: Tell us a little about your new album!
Kyler Daron: ‘Whispers in the Woods” was almost a miracle. A few months after the release of my first EP “Ellie,” we started talking about going into the studio to record a few demos. We scheduled a session, and had about a month to practice for it. At the time we scheduled the session, we had two songs we planned on recording. At the end of that month, somehow we weeded up with six songs. It was wild. What was even more insane was that the recordings came out so well that we decided to just turn it into a record. We got more ambitious and launched a Kickstarter for mixing and mastering. The next thing I knew, I had a physical copy in my hand of something that I was truly proud of. These songs are organic. I almost feel like I didn’t write them, like I stumbled upon them somehow.
Despite how quickly these songs were written, they all kind of stem from a few realizations I’ve come to in the last years. The things I wanted to evoke in this record was inspired by the thought of being stranded, alone in some remote forest somewhere, without the constant pressure and distraction of culture and technology. What would you learn about yourself? What kinds of truths would one come to? What do we think about when we were taken out of the context of society? These songs are for the most part, the musical interpretation of things that keep you up at night.
MusicDash: What inspires you to create art?
Kyler Daron: I think that we have the fundamental desire to create as humans, We all have our own experiences and as artists I think our goal is to convey those things through an expression that can’t be communicated through a written or verbal dialogue. I love the way that people come together in that as well. My desire is to use my creative abilities in such a way that helps people understand themselves better and encourage them to interact with others in the world in a virtuous way.
MusicDash: Since the New Year just started, what were some of your favorite albums/songs that were released in 2015?
Kyler Daron: 2015 was a great year for new records. I have to say though, my favorite overall was probably Brandon Flowers’ new release, ‘The Desired Effect.” It’s beautiful. Such a fantastic collection of tunes.
MusicDash: Any exciting plans for the new year so far?
Kyler Daron: Well, I won’t reveal too much, but we’re back in the studio headed toward new material. Keep your eyes open! It should be an exciting year!