Smorgasbord is a terribly undervalued word. It encompasses so much by saying so little. The word comes into play -- for me anyway -- when I think of indie roots rockers The Hollows. The band, who released a self-titled EP last week, features members who play a variety of instruments -- from banjo to horns -- that the best way to describe them may very well be a "smorgasbord" of musical talent. As their press release clearly states, each member of this "freewheeling hootenany of a band" contribute to the writing and arranging of the material, which serves up a fresh, rootsy, arguably offbeat sound.
The band, which prides itself in not having a "front man," consists of college buds Erik Saxvik, David Paarlberg, Jeffrey Kurtze and Daniel Kwiatkowski along with Rob Morrison and Justin Aaronson. The six buds, who formed in New York City a few years back, came to the Music Conservatory of Westchester late last month to perform "August" off their new EP and take part in a typical "A-Sides" lowkey, informal chat.
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Chat with Chatt
Like The Hollows, Audra Mae provides your ears with authentic, totally original musical flavor that doesn't sound like everybody and their mother's brother. The Oklahoma City folk rocker has been writing for others for years (Susan Boyle among them), and it's clearly her time to be front and center now. A distant relative of the immortal Judy Garland, the singer/songwriter dropped her sophomore album Audra Mae & The Almighty Sound a few months back, and has been on the road essentially ever since. She's currently supporting Cory Branan on his tour.
While she has an EP and two full-length albums out, Mae may actually be better known for some key covers in some cool television shows and films. Her take on Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" was featured on The Good Wife earlier this year, and her cover of Van Morrison's "Crazy Love" landed in the Jason Segal-starrer The Five Year Engagement. She's also recorded with All American Rejects. If you still don't know Mae, you soon will.
Mae filmed an A-Sides session with me at the Conservatory last month and performed "My Friend The Devil" off her new album, and talked about her music, that song, as well as another ditty she played -- "Old Italian Love Song," which you can watch on asidesmusic.com now.
"My Friend The Devil"
About A-Sides with Jon Chattman
Jon Chattman's music series features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing.