Sunday 10:00 PM
At about 10:00 PM, WERS was fully occupied because of the Love Experiment Band. There was almost no room for the host. Consisting of young musicians with different personalities and all kinds of different instruments including guitars, piano, drums, saxophones, etc, brilliant music was created from them from the Ansin Building.
Although the number of instruments was the biggest so far, the music was always on the right track and was full of energy. There was a harmony in the room that never got interrupted. Styling in Neo Soul, New-Jazz, Hip Hop and Doup, and with the lead of the drummer Charles, the music was just right as a catalyst at this late Sunday.
The exciting new is that their latest EP is coming out in December. Wish them all the best and hope they can keep creating inspiring music!
Words by Chen Xu
Tashawn King, an up-and-coming R&B singer in the Boston area, is an artist working tirelessly to make it to the top in the business and not stopping until he gets there. He’s been singing since age five and says, “Basically I’ve been on the music scene all my life. Touring, traveling, recording, all my life.”
King says that his previous touring experience opening for acts like Mary J. Blige, Dem Franchise Boyz, Chris Brown, and Lil’ Wayne has only inspired him. “It makes me hungry. To see those people who we see on television everyday inspire me. I’ve gotten a chance to see them work in close quarters.”
King is actively working on a new album, Chaser, the themes of which are, “lost love, love found, challenges. Just life. Just day-to-day, real-life instances.” King put out his first album in 2005 but is making a few changes with his current sound. “With this album I’m trying to broaden. With Chaser I’m trying to have a little more fun.”
King has been playing shows in the Boston area, Canada and will have upcoming dates in New York. You can learn more, listen to tracks, or contact him at http://www.facebook.com/tashawnking.
Words by Elana Willinsky
Richard Perlmutter from Beethoven’s Wig talked exclusively with WERS about his latest album, his past accomplishments, and his style of music.
1. Where did the name ‘Beethoven’s Wig’ come from?
The first song I wrote when I began adding lyrics to pieces of classical music was Beethoven’s Wig. The lyric, “Beethoven’s Wig is very big,” was the first one that I came up with. The words fit the first eight notes of the fifth symphony perfectly and a song about a wig seemed a natural for classical music. So I went with it. Incidentally, while Beethoven is never portrayed with a wig, and he actually eschewed wigs as old fashioned, in his memorandum book (a diary) there is a mention of him having one (or at least intending to get one) when he went to Vienna at the age of 22. Of course during Beethoven’s time wigs were symbols of one’s status in society and the bigger the wig, the higher one’s status. Given’s Beethoven’s big ego, it isn’t a huge jump to assume that if he were going to wear a wig he would have wanted it to be the biggest of all!
2. What inspired you to add lyrics to classical songs?
When I first began the project I thought it might be something that would appeal to kids and parents and would be a great way to open the door to classical music and inspire them to get into it more deeply. Little did I know that it would serve that same purpose for me. Because I do research on each composer and piece that I work on, my knowledge of classical music has increased tremendously. And because I have to learn each piece inside and out in order to be able to write my lyrics and then sing words them, my musicianship has improved too.
3. Each of your songs has a personal story behind it. What is your favorite song/story and why?
I don’t have any one favorite. But on my first album I was working on the lyrics to the famous Mozart piece “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,” and was playing it in incessantly the house. Everyone in my family heard it over and over. One day, I was in a crowded elevator with my three year old daughter and the music for that piece was piped in. She recognized it and proudly yelled out, “my dad wrote that song!”
4. With over 46 national awards won and 4 Grammy nominations you must have a favorite memory. Could you tell us about it?
Within a week after the first album came out, I was on National Public Radio and then shortly afterwards I performed on the Today Show. Then the album shot to the top of the Amazon Bestseller Chart and I started getting awards, including my first Grammy. That early period was a whirlwind and totally unexpected. Every event, being a first, was memorable.
5. Your newest album, “Beethoven’s Wig: Sing Along Piano Classics” isn’t the only thing you’re releasing. We hear there’s a book to accompany the album; could you tell us what we can find in the book?
A songbook containing all of the pieces on the album is being published by Alfred Music. It’s due to be released in early 2012. It is my second songbook that they have published and this one contains extensive stories, anecdotes and program notes about each piece, as well as my personal reflections about the things I have learned in the process of making five Beethoven’s Wig albums. In addition, there are lots of illustrations by my son Sammy, who did the cover art and drawings for the last three albums.
6. What was your favorite song as a kid?
Not surprisingly, I liked novelty songs, which were a big influence on me and still serve as inspiration for much of my work. When I was a kid there were loads of novelty songs, which were all played on pop radio stations and were often big hits.
7. Why do you love The Playground?
Children’s music is now the primary genre in which novelty songs can find an audience. And while these novelty songs are no longer played on top 40 radio, The Playground keeps the tradition alive by playing clever, witty music – which, of course, is perfect for children, who have very open ears!
Words by Nicole Gouveia
Hip-hop duo Strobe and Essex (or more formally as Aural Essex) dropped by WERS this Thursday for Live Music Week to chat with DJ Jazzy on 88.9 @ Night and play three of their songs, including a new track called “Who Could Be.” The first track of the night, “Walk Tall,” had already been in rotation on 88.9 for a while; “Go Get It” followed.
Strobe and Essex, who are longtime pals from Dorchester, talked about how they met through an incident involving a stolen video game when they were 12 years old and later bonded over hip-hop and graffiti. Together, they’re known as the IW Crew, which began as a group of graffiti writers. These days, though, they’re better known by their individual names. They explained that the “IW” stands for Ill Writers, but the initials can really have multiple meanings, including Intellectual Wizardry and Infinite Weaponry.
The pair were laid-back and charismatic in the studio, and they even dropped off two of their own “Dorchester Univercity” T-shirts for the WERS staff. They’re currently working on a new album titled The All Nighter, but for now the material from their sessions can be found on their Soundcloud. Among their musical influences are A Tribe Called Quest, Common, and The Roots (ESPECIALLY The Roots); Essex, who is a self-proclaimed comedian also added Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey to the list. Why not! After the on-air interview, Strobe said he thinks part of why they’re unique is because of the variety in the music they listened to back in the day.
“[I guess] The type of stuff we grew up listening to, like De La Soul, or a Tribe Called Quest and stuff like that. A lot of heads who I hung with didn’t really even listen to that stuff, or used to try to clown,” Strobe said.
Words and Photos by Sarah Ruggiero
Friday @ 5:45
On Friday evening, The Adam Ezra band came in to WERS to share with the station a live performance of a couple songs off their new album. With a focus on a roots/rock genre, the Adam Ezra band incorporates underlying tones of folk, pop and acoustic rock to create their original sound. The band has become much more than just a musically talented group, as some of the members are activists and community leaders in addition to their musical prowess and (in Adam’s case) his clever lyricism. As a band, AEG contributes 25% of their touring to help causes in areas around the country and worldwide.
The band is made up of keyboardist Josh Gold, bassist Robin Vincent Soper, percussionist Turtle and of course lyricist and guitar extraordinaire Adam Ezra. All of their musical talents complement each other’s, which adds to their the uniqueness in their music. While in the studio they performed their new song “14 Days” off of their new album “Ragtop Angel” where Adam broke out a harmonica, giving the song that soulful-folk touch.
After “14 Days” Adam described how the new album came to be with a touching story about their new relationship with the multi platinum producer, Aaron Johnson, who produced all the albums of the superstar group “The Fray”. The Adam Ezra band then continued with their live performance by playing another song off of their new album called “Taking Off”, which continued with the soulful-folk sound.
After playing “Taking Off”, Adam surprised the station (and some members of the band) with his news of creating a non profit organization called Concerts for Cause, which will extend the band’s non-profit and community engagement work around the world. Finally, the Adam Ezra band played their final song, “Basement Song” to finish off their visit to the station.
At the end of their performance, Adam gave thanks to WERS for being a station that, “supports independent artists and independent music” and then stopped by me for an interview.
WERS: Where and when would you say you first got your inspiration to create music?
Adam: Oh man, my mom is a folk musician so I always had music in my life but the first time I picked up a guitar it just kind of felt like…even before i could really play it, it just kind of felt right. I started writing songs then.
WERS: Are there any artists who inspired you?
Adam: A ton. And they continue to inspire me. You know, I grew up with a folk musician mom so I listened to Simon and Garfunkle and Bob Dylan and when I got into high school, I discovered classic rock and Led Zeppelin who blew my mind. These days song writers out there that I think are incredible and do incredible things are Ani Difranco, Greg Brown, the Avid Brothers, Gillian Welch, they’re some of my favorites out there. Tom Waits, the Gourds; I love the way they write music. And I’ve recently gotten into listening to Hip-Hop which has opened up whole new areas of inspiration. Jay Z, Lil Wayne, Biggie, Dipset. All of them.
WERS: How would you explain your style of music?
Adam: I would call it acoustic roots rock.
WERS: Your band looks like you have so much fun while making your music. What is the best thing about playing music with your band?
Adam: They all are inspired by music. They help inspire me. But you know at the shows we’re always having fun, always trying new things, always experimenting.
WERS: What are you most excited about for your new Ragtop Angel CD release?
Adam: I’m psyched to finally get all these songs out to people. We’ve been working on them for a long time in the studio. It’s kinda like when a song is recorded on an album but its not released yet its kind of like you have this secret that you can’t tell anyone and I’m just really excited to let this secret out and let everyone hear the music.
WERS: Can you tell us about new projects or collaborations you have coming up?
Adam: Absolutely. We’ve got an acoustic album coming out called Daniel the Brave that we’ve started and because I don’t like keeping secrets, we’ve already started releasing tracks from that album even though the album won’t come out until 2012. We’re also working on a third album as well. I wrote a theme song for a show on the food network called “The Big Cheese” and they just hired me to score for them. Instead, I told them what I would do is I would take the money and make an album and they could use all the tracks from the album to score the TV show. Lastly, we have just started our own non profit organization called Concerts for Cause where we help people that want to make a difference. Anybody who has a cause that they care about, we’re helping them make a live event.
WERS: Do you know your star sign (Aries, Libra, etc) and is it meaningful to you?
Adam: Scorpio. I don’t know that much about astrology but I will say this. I once read a book where you could go to your exact birthday and it was like fucked up, dead on, amazing. That’s the only thing I know about it.
Words by Cyrus Wesson
Watch Fruit Bats/Vetiver perform from the WERS In Studio Performance Library! Your pledge helps us bring great music and video on air and online.
Friday 12: 15
TFDI live by the credo of their name (do a quick google search to find its meaning), playing a style of Band-esque music that challenges any classification of “singer/songwriter” or “folk” despite their three acoustic guitars set-up. Jay Nash, Matt Duke and Tony Lucca stopped by for LMW to play a few songs before heading out to their usual combination of solo gigs and a TFDI tour.
“Stranger in a Strange Place” opens cold with all three voices and guitars in harmony. Nash’s dreadnaught holds down the anchor to the ship of fools that is TFDI, gentlemen on a journey where the destination is both unknown and unimportant. It’s a fine start to the session and an accurate introduction to the group.
On their second tune, “Hurtin’ Kind”—Nash makes clear the dropped ‘g’ and apostrophe in the title were against his strong objections—the distinct guitar licks are more pronounced. It’s rare these days to hear even a solo acoustic guitarist who has a strong understanding of space to say nothing of three playing at once. Tony Lucca mentions off-hand during the soundcheck, “the quietest thing in my
mix is me” and it shows in far less literal ways. All three appear to always be listening, always open and trying to dig pockets of space for the others to fill with simple and well-placed riffs. The Americana refrain, “I think you’ll find/true love ain’t the hurtin’ kind,” has a trace of honesty that keeps this group’s sound out of the traditional arena. Their awareness of the possibilities and limitations of an all acoustic guitar trio fills out their sound in the way The Band held back on individual solos and created much more holistic and contemporary sounding songs with tradition-based material.
TFDI is compared with The Band in much of the press they receive which at first glance may be nothing more than reading too much into their cover of “The Weight” on their first EP. But they do in fact share many Band sensibilities including the “distinct personalities that form a cohesive sound,” says Jay Nash. Matt Duke adds that The Band is the one group the trio’s tastes align on and the influence is
clear in the R&B/Country milieu of TFDI’s rhythms and melodies and Duke’s Danko style off-time singing.
On the title track from the LP, “When I Stop Running” TFDI seemed to have really found their groove. The room feels warmer as the session wraps up, like a living room after a family gathering. Here’s hoping they’ve got enough gas to run a little longer.
Words and Photos by Jake Sorgen
The Low Anthem is a beautiful band. They file into the studio quietly and play their music sweetly and without any pretense. The four person line-up consists of drums, clarinet, trumpet and guitar. As they ease into their first in-studio song, called Matter of Time, clarinetist Josie Adams’ eyes close, singer Ben Knox clears his throat slightly to perfect his soft, endearing voice, and all of us in-studio are captivated by the gentle, melodic tune that emerges. Adams and Knox, along with Mike Irwin on trumpet and Jeff Prystowsky on drums, play three songs at WERS, two of which are off their new album, Smart Flesh.
Smart Flesh was recorded in Central Falls RI, oddly enough in an abandoned pasta sauce factory. “It sounded huge and had this slow, long reverb that sounded really nice,” said Knox, “and that’s what drew us to it.” Though very reserved and low-key in person, the band also managed to have fun while recording. “We had room to play games. We set up a tennis court, could ride bikes around. We ate a lot of pizza and tried to stay warm.”
In accordance with that slow, echoing sound they like, The Low Anthem plays Yellow By the Sun for their second tune, It is one of the first songs the band ever recorded. They end with a second song off Smart Flesh called Boeing 737.
Tonight, in Somerville, they will play the last stop of the American leg of their tour promoting Smart Flesh which dropped in February, 2011. Before the end of their session, Knox also made sure to mention that they would be playing a set later this afternoon at Occupy Boston in Dewey Square, and urged listeners to come down to check it out because a Woodie Guthrie cover is guaranteed.
Words and Photos by Elana Willinsky
Rich Robinson walks into WERS with a simultaneous ease that comes with the professionalism of over 20 years of touring and the spiritual cower of a sojourner preferring to speak through his music, his own language. Rich performed in support of WERS’ Live Music Week Fund Drive and his own album, Through a Crooked Window, which chronicles an optimism that may seem strange to longtime Robinson fans but is executed with familiar energy. The album was released on October 11th.
“Hey Fear” moves with the darkness of 90s grunge and loses no bite in the shift from the rock and roll stage to the solo acoustic guitar. The alto vocal line is doubled above the tenth fret on the guitar. Robinson describes his work as “music to enjoy or not enjoy,” which loses all sense of apathy when he picks his guitar and opens his mouth to sing; the point of the music is not enjoyment but understanding that you are listening to a man speak a native tongue, like witnessing an ancient Native American ritual and knowing only that what you are seeing is deeply meaningful even if you yourself cannot understand it.
Robinson recorded Through a Crooked Window during three weeks in Woodstock, NY and features many local residents and international stars such as Karl Berger, John Medeski, Warren Haynes, and Larry Campbell. His second solo album, Robinson says on Window, “the creative process flowed a lot more…there was a real sense of moving forward, of optimism.” This isn’t hard to find in the second song Rich played “Lost and Found” with the opening lyrics, “Seen the shelter from deep inside/Watch my spirit come out and fly.” The song works sonically like a prose poem, with Robinson dynamically shifting emphasis of lyrics and hooks all throughout.
It was a true pleasure for us to spend some time with Rich Robinson, stay tuned to WERS and WERS.org for more from Live Music Week.
Words and Photos by Jake Sorgen