Stoked to get into Gung Ho Studio the first week of May! We've got the next record ready to rip, and we'll be recording this thing as live as possible to capture what we love doing in front of you fine folks. The studio is beautiful and I've heard a lot of great records that came out of Bill Barnett's space up there!
We also have some summer dates shaping up, including one in Bend at Silvermoon Brewing. I've been asked to play Silvermoon many, MANY times by Bend-folks at our shows in another towns ... so we'll be there on June 21st (the first official day of summer) with our friend John Shipe! I hope to see some of the folks that recommended we come down!
We playted a really fun show at Sam Bond's Garage last night with a local band called Psyrup, who stripped down their psychedlic/melodic/metal style last night for an Acousitc set. Ryan swapped his synths for the Bar Room piano, Shawn played an acoustic guitar, and I think Joe completely unplugged his bass from his effects pedals! It was a really cool re-imagining of their tunes!
We were looking at getting into the studio next weekend, but have opted to push that off until early Spring. Part of the decision is that we're working up songs for Guilty Pleasures III. Guilty Pleasures is an awesome show where local musicians get up and sing a tune that they would NEVER cover, but can't help singing along to. You know ... a Guilty Pleasure. To give an example, the first year, I did George Michael's "Faith." Brian did some Huey Lewis, and Kenny sang "Friends in Low Places"
This year we're honored to be 1 of the 3 backing bands for the Guilty Pleasures this year! In previous years, one group has learned roughly 25 - 30 songs! Incredible. I'm really stoked to help those guys enjoy this year's show from the other side of the stage. Afterall, even the Register Guard listed Guilty Pleasures as one of the 10 best events in Eugene for 2012. Those dudes deserve to enjoy the experience they've created for this town.
All that said, I should probably get on booking, since we're delayed this recording project. Look for some shows popping up soon!
Well, I haven't been booking shows lately -- I've been sidelined with new jobs and travel -- and now for the first time in about 3 years, we have nothing on the Calendar! So, just to let you know, I'm firming up some dates and will get those posted soon!
We're also working on logistics for the next record. Such as, who will engineer it, where to record it, who's rich uncle is going to pay for it ... you know, the less-than-super-fun parts of making music, but it's all necessary.
We played the Mushroom Fefstival at Mt. Pisgah last weekend. What a beautiful place for an outdoor festival, and I was amazed at the weather! If you'd looked up at that sky on Sunday, you were probably confused as to how it wasn't raining! Grey skies, but dry ground, and tons of people walking around in t-shirts with hoodies and jackets tucked up under their arms.
It was a great place to debut our new Sticker, too (above)!
Anyhow, the dudes have been beating me up for not booking shows. And rightly so. But let me say thank you for allowing us a small break. I'll get these upcoming shows posted ASAP!
So, I finally got around to putting our video of River Rd up here on the website. A video which was created by one Claire Flint, and which I think is totally awesome. But woe, for 'twas never fully finished. Which is why it sat lonely on a digital shelf until now. Here's the scoop:
This video was shot, compiled and polished-up, all but for some parts that Brian is in. Between truly capturing Brian's essence on film and adding him into the video, woe unto us, all of the source files were compromised. I sure am glad, though, that in all of our excitement Claire made this version of the video. Which remains in-tact today. Right up top there.
I'm looking forward to cracking the first egg of this Acoustic Show conecpt at Sam Bond's. They've added a little floor spot by the tables and want to try out doing some acoustic performaces earlier in the evening. I think i's a great idea, and it gives a chance to put Brian on his mandolin and harmoicas quite a bit more.
That's the first show for Saturday
Our second show that evening is the at the Cornucopia on 5th & Pearl. We've played there 8 times, I think, and I like it a lot. Running your own sound becomes a lot more fun once you've got the drill down for a particular room, and the Cornucopia is feeling downright cozy. And coming off the totally acoustic early show, I think we'll be primed to plug in!
In more somber news, say a word for Levon Helm, everybody.
I'm pretty jazzed to get down to Ashland this weekend!
We're playing a show at the Caldera Tap House, which is a bill booked by Mr. William Kennedy (of Skip's CD World fame; yes that Will Kennedy), and includes Portland songster Earl Patrick.
I think that a lot of Oregonian hearts keep a special place for the town of Ashland. It's beautiful and cozy, and has some of the best breakfast and coffee spots in the Northwest (Morning Glory's Oatmeal Pancakes with Walnut Butter, anyone?)
The van is running tip-top (knock on wood), and I've heard the price of gas should be up, Up, UP by Friday! The higher price means it's more efficient, right? Here's to hoping!
This day in age is a funny time for music, and it has me wondering this:
How do you want the new songs to come out?
I like to put a new CD or a record on the player, clean off my glasses, and read everything about the album; lyrics, who worked the faders, where it was recorded, who played the shakers, all that stuff.
But I realize that I'm in the minority these days, and I'm trying to figure out the best way to release this next batch of songs (which we've been playing live and I'm REALLY excited about).
Maybe this next record will just be a download code on a t-shirt tag or something.
If you have any opinions, please share!
There's a guy here in Eugene that has recently started a cool local music Podast called Alpine Empire. Check it out -- he's featuring lots of great music, and our tune Barrel Rolling is featured in Podcast #3
These podcasts are also free downloads on iTunes!
2012 has started off pretty fun here at Stagger HQ, beginning with a having our photo taken on the MOON! (Thank you Paper Moon Photo Studio)
We played a new McMenamins location in Wilsonville, OR )the Old Church and Pub), where we met several cool folks. One of which is Brian Burke, a photographer who snapped some great live shots and shared them online.
That same weekend, Brian Miller hosted a party where we took the opportunity to bust out a bunch of the new songs we're working on.
I'm really surprised at how quickly some of these tunes have come together (Half a Mind, Awake in a Sleepy Town). I'm loving playing a tune called Fun & Games as well as Downpour and Watch the Time.
I always think I'm going to wait to play these songs live ... I tell myself, "just wait until the album is ready" or something like that, but these tunes are FUN, and I'm chomping at the bit!
So you'll probably hear us road testing some of these numbers at our upcoming shows. Sam Bond's tonight, Cornucopia next weekend! See you soon!
When we play live shows, I'm often asked who my influences are ... and I'm always surprised when folks don't know some of these bands I rattle off (especially Uncle Tupelo!).
So this is the first in a series of living room recordings; stripping down some of my favorite tunes by some of my favorite artists.
Jay Farrar, Jeffy Tweedy, Mike Heidorn ... these guys are certainly Rock and Roll Heroes of mine!
We've written into Jerry Groove's contract that he can only go on vacation every 3 years :)
I'm giving him guff because we've had to turn down a few really cool shows for October and November. Which honestly, is a great problem to have, and Mr. Groove deserves to enjoy the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, and whatever hobbit hole he can find to hide out in for a month or so.
So, we have three more shows until we take a little break, and I hope you'll come out and wish Jerry safe travels!
Each show is kind of it's own animal, and they're all FREE:
1) On Wednesday night (9.28) we have a chance to win a new PA system at the Whiskey River Ranch in Springfield.
This could be super awesome, because our PA JUST died on us, and now we sing through something that makes us sound like old transistor radios!
2) Jerry and I will do an Acoustic Duo show on Friday (9.30) at the Cornucopia (Downtown).
I do have fun playing these Acoustic Duo's ... takes me back to when the Stagger got started.
3) Friday October 7th, we're back at the Cornucopia. This time, FULL BAND!
We'll sing a "Cheerio!" to Jerry, as he packs his togs to naff off at a Sparrow Fart. And that's all the New Zealand slang I know.
After that short break, we'll have a handful of never before heard tunes for you to check out in Cottage Grove, the Day-After Thanksgiving!
Kenjamin is not MY Drummer.
Maybe I'd like to think he is, but in reality -- if anything -- I'm probably HIS songwriter, or HIS singer.
We had a lot of fun with this past busy week, and a couple of times someone mentioned something about "...your Drummer..." or whatever.
That's fine; that's the way conversation rolls, but whenever I think about saying that, I shrink at the notion of calling any one of these guys "mine."
I may write the songs, but we arrange these tunes as a band, and I wouldn't have it any other way (and by the way, Jerry's been contributing witty lyrics for some new tunes recently!)
I lack the guitar-geek vocabulary to tell Brian what I want him to play (other than making guitar noises with my mouth here an there).
I don't think like a Bass player.
I've played drums for longer than I've been writing songs, so I COULD tell Ken what to play ... but I don't have to! He usually plays what's in my head, or something cooler than I would've thought up myself.
We all workshop tunes -- we share ideas, and we're open to each other's input.
The point is, I'm really lucky and really stoked to play with a group of musicians who naturally envision these songs the same way I do, and that we all have fun putting the energy into it.
I'd love to be a genius, but there's no Paul McCartney-style micro-managing happening here!
We got a lot of feedback at the Eugene Celebration about how we look like we're having a ton of fun on stage. Well, we are!
We LOVE the LIVE SHOW! And I think all of this has a lot to do with how much fun we have performing.
To everyone at the EC, thanks for the feedback! Next live show is Luckey's on Sept 22nd ... see you then!
Photo by Faliesha Linebaugh
I'd heard that Gregg Volstedt's annual Barn Party at the Fall Creek Blueberry Farm is always pretty friggin' awesome, but I really didn't know what I was getting into. The high roofed, woody structure resonates such a warm sound, all the bands sounded great!
I'd missed the early afternoon open jams, but got to the country-side just in time to hear Barefoot Leroy's 2nd tune -- a cover of the Dylan classic "I Shall be Released."
If you haven't heard this band yet, they're a great folk foursome with a guitarist / vocalist, mandolin, aux. percussion/ vocalist, and an awesome accordion player holding down the low-end. Well, the accordion player does a lot more than that, really ... it's a great full sound. Lea Jones is a hell of a songwriter, and I've had his tune "Lesson 1" stuck in my head since Saturday night.
I was really stoked to see that Tara Stonecipher has put together a hell of a band! She's got Gregg Volstedt playing Pedal Steel, Willis playing drum-kit and a tricked-out wash board, and Whopner County's guitar-slinger, Matt Alpert -- fresh back from Austin -- on electric guitar. Tara's got an amazing voice, which you can tell is backed by an equally amazing ear for pitch and tempo.
Whopner County Country All-stars played a couple of sets -- one with a guy named John Barley on lead guitar. I hadn't seen him before, but my friend John Shipe says he's been around for quite a while, and folks who have been in the Eugene scene for longer than I have were excited to see him hop up on the Barn stage. I don't know why I haven't seen him before ... the guy is pretty damn incredible!
Our guitarist, Brian Patrick, couldn't make this show so we had John Shipe filling in on lead guitar for the set. We tried to throw him for a loop a couple of times, but you just can't shake a guitarist like Shipe!
Also, Gregg played a wicked Pedal Steel on our first 5 or 6 songs. Some of the new tunes we tried out that night just BEG for pedal-steel, and it sounded so good, we're bound to have some on this next record.
Here are a few pictures that Faliesha Linebaugh took:
with John Shipe and Gregg Volstedt
John Shipe with an on-the-spot solo
the Stagger & Sway with John Shipe and Gregg Volstedt
I hear that our friend Brendan caught most of this set on his handheld recorder, so I'll upload one of these new tunes once I get the tracks from him!
I hope everybody had just as fun a weekend!
We've had a lot of fun playing some really cool, off-the-wall type of shows lately. Such as:
the Lostcreek Jubilee, where we added a couple of back-up dancers!
... and the SUN came out for a few days of Music!
We played a Prom at Studio East 8th ... but your Prom was NEVER like this:
and hung out in a BEAUTIFUL Garden for a few hours, playing at the KLCC Garden Walk
Pandora's got the Stagger and Sway station tuned into some cool stuff!
I'm listening to Son Volt rock "Voo Doo Candle" Live, and digging some new discoveries Collin Herring and Jonathan Segel. Good stuff!
You can add "Break Til You Bend" from the Stagger and Sway right into your own Pandora station! Or listen in to the Stagger and Sway station on Pandora.
Wow, have I been slacking on this BLOG! But luckily, it's not due to a general overall slackitude.
In fact, we here at the Stagger and Sway hideout have been pretty busy with the release of Break Til You Bend. While I may have failed to secure a record contract to bailout the failing EMI label , we're pleasantly surprised with a few early wins!
We've been getting a great response from the DJs and Radio Stations that received the CD. It's getting regular airplay all around the world, and after just a few short weeks, Break Til You Bend debuted at #19 on the FAR Chart!
The great thing about the FAR Chart, is that it's truly freeform (no playlists). Real DJ's play music that THEY want to play. That said, I'm incredibly thankful for all these DJ's that spend their time and energy surfing through piles of CD submissions they receive, and feel really honored to have some songs listed on their programs!
Pandora's Music Genome Project really has earned the titile of "Most Comprehensive Analysis of Music Ever." It's a concept I've wanted to be a part of since discovering their project, so I'm really proud to say "We Made It."
That is, Break Til You Bend has been accepted into Pandora's Music Genome Project, and will be available for public plays SOON. First, they analyze all the tracks to tag their specific musical "genes." It's pretty cool :)
Our Spiritual Advisor / Beer-Technician, Brendan McCloud, thinks it's really funny that so many of our songs reference coffee. Well, perhaps it's all been toward a purpose ... Starbuck's has asked to play two of our songs throughout their chain of coffee shops! And only one of those songs mentions coffee! :)
So, if you think you hear "Arpeggio" or "Sam Bond's Garage" while you order your next Venti Peppermint Java Chip Frappuccino, then it may actually be because you hearing the Stagger and Sway in a Starbucks!
For the record, my drink is a Vanilla Americano with a little bit of steamed half-and-half ... don't let them tell you that it's a flavored Breve with water :)
Best new Bands.com
Best New Bands has us Featured in their BackStory Segment. This feature shares the Story-Behind-the-Song of "Sam Bond's Garage," as well as the lyrics, and of course the music video!
So that's the update for now! Keep the good vibes coming, and I'll be sure to share the news as it continues to unfold!
I hope you've all just about made it through the whirlwind of the Holidays, ready to bring 2010 to a close and dive into all the great music that's bound to happen in 2011!
I've seen a number of great shows this past year, and if you've been following the Blog, you've probably seen some write-ups on a few! The newest write-up I contributed to the Register-Gaurd was coverage of the Y La Bamba and Horse Feathers show at Sam Bond's Garage mid-December. It was great show and you can read all about it right here.
Claire Flint took some awesome photos of both bands, so go check it out!