Jun. 13, 2012 - Issue #869: Quiet Heart
The Schomberg Fair
Thu, Jun 21 | New City
Roots rockers the Schomberg Fair wasted no time pumping out a new release in the wake of its critically acclaimed Mercy EP.
Providence was released just eight months after Mercy, which lead singer/banjo/guitar player Matt Bahen says was done to keep the momentum flowing. The end result is a collection of tracks that evoke a much more gritty and visceral sound than fans may be used to. The gospel singers featured on Mercy have been replaced by heavier guitar riffs and melodies, but remains instilled with the roots feel and banjo twangs that intially caught listeners' attention.
"I don't think it was necessarily a cognitive decision," Bahen says of the sonic shift. "Art works best when you're really not thinking about it and, you know, I'm a firm believer that it's not that important to understand what you're doing while you're making it."
The Schomberg Fair's sound may have branched off in a new direction, but the lyrics continue to paint a picture anchored in gospel dealing with self-destruction, the desire to be saved and the hope for better. Bahen notes that the songs on Providence were penned out of a collaboration between the trio where he began the track with a simple folk arrangement before more layers were added by bassist/vocalist Nathan Sidon and drummer Peter Garthside.
"Ideas become much less precious and you can really live in the song and the writing of the song," Brahen says of the writing process. "Everything's on the table; the song has its own voice."
Clearly not one to waste time, Bahen already has several new songs in the works. While a new album isn't on the immediate horizon, the band is writing a graphic novella titled The Schomberg Fair Presents: Providence Beyond the Unknown in collaboration with artist Jeff Mitchell of Rednow Creative. The novella will be available on the band's current tour and tells the story of the planet Schombolon-Z, the heaviest planet made out of dark matter with the gravitational pull of 1000 suns. A tablet appears with a map of the unknown, that sends the inhabitants of Schombolon-Z, who have been living a simple life, on a quest of discovery.
"I think it certainly makes things fun and I think a great deal of rock 'n' roll should be about that," Bahen explains. "When you're on the road you spend a lot of time in the van ... so it's mostly a tribute to the van, this graphic novella."
Thu, Jun 21 (8 pm)
With Larry and His Flask, The Give 'Em Hell Boys, Owls By Nature, Miek Headache
New City, $10
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