Tag: George Harrison

New Audio: Introducing the Laid-Back and Mischievous Sounds of Country Supergroup Traveller

Traveller is an indie rock/Americana supergroup comprised of some of contemporary Americana’s most accomplished and acclaimed, contemporary, solo artists: Jonny Fritz, a singer/songwriter who, has been considered a logical heir to country music legend Roger Miller; Cory Chisel, a Grammy-nominated, singer/songwriter who has collaborated with Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell and runs a recording studio in a former Wisconsin monastery that’s also an arts space; and Robert Ellis, a a critically applauded artist known for being a rather inventive singer/songwriter. Interestingly, the act can trace its origins to when longtime friends Ellis and Fritz had been collaborating together for some time got a ridiculous idea to head to India to write a country album.  The duo set off on their epic journey to India but after an ill-advised, exuberant jump into the Ganges, Ellis got ill and almost died. Fortunately though, Ellis was able to kick his illness and recover — and the idea of their collaboration didn’t die either.

Several months later, Ellis and Fritz recruited Chisel, and within a couple of weeks the new band had written an album’s worth of material, which they followed with their live debut at the Newport Folk Festival and sets at Stagecoach and Austin City Limits. Reportedly, the trio’s aesthetic and songwriting approach  draws from the likes of both The Highwaymen and The Traveling Wilburys, supergroups in which each individual member plays to their well-known and beloved strengths while taking turns showing off their chops as been-there-done-that, played-every-venue-including-that-shitty-one-that-stank-of-stale-beer-and-puke old pros — but they do so with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor throughout.
Western Movies, the supergroup’s highly-anticipated, forthcoming full-length debut is slated for a May 4, 2018 release, and the album’s latest single “Hummingbird” is a jangling and twangy bit of old-timey rock/country that to my ears manages to nod to The Beatles and to George Harrison’s “Got My Mind Set On You” but with a mischievous sense of humor, complete with some winklingly ribald double entendres and pop cultural references that give the song a wild anachronistic feel.

Live Footage: Pavo Pavo and Friends Pay Tribute to Manhattan Inn with a cover of George Harrison’s “Wah Wah”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you’ve come across a handful of posts featuring the Brooklyn-based experimental/psych pop act Pavo Pavo. Deriving their name from the name of the southern constellation Pavo — Latin for peacock —the members of the band Eliza Bagg (violin, synths, vocals), Oliver Hill (guitar, synths and vocals). Nolan Green (guitar, vocals), Austin Vaughn (drums) and Ian Romer (bass) can trace its origins to when the members of the quintet were studying while at Yale University, and since then individual members have collaborated with the likes of Here We Go Magic, John Zorn, Dave Longstreth, Porches, Olga Bell, Lucius, Roomful of Teeth and San Fermin among others. Adding to a growing profile, their “Ran Ran Run”/”Annie Hall” 7 inch was praised by a number of media outlets and blogs, including Stereogum as being “weightless pop music that sounds like it was beamed down from a glimmering utopian future.” And while nodding at 60s psych pop and 80s New Age, just underneath the glimmering surface there’s a hint at unease, anxiety, rot and dysfunction.

Released during the last few months of 2016, the band’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Young Narrator in the Breakers was released to critical praise across the blogosphere for material that thematically speaking — according to the members of the band — described both magic and panic of adult life. Conveying the understanding that much like getting caught in a vicious breaker, the swimmer has to stop swimming and fighting against the tide; that on a certain level, they have to go along and ride it out while sonically speaking album singles like “Ruby (Let’s Buy The Bike),” “Ran Ran Run” and “Annie Hall,” real a band that specializes in dreamy, minimalist and escapist synth-based pop that manages to be simultaneously retro-futuristic and utopian; but just under the surface, there’s a sense of anxiety and rot.

Interestingly, when the members of Pavo Pavo — which also includes members of the Swimmers art collective — heard that the renowned Greenpoint, Brooklyn venue Manhattan Inn was closing, they all decide that they should call up a bunch of musician friends and film a video at the last minute to commemorate and celebrate the space, as the space had a special connection for the band and for countless numbers of musicians across Brooklyn. As the band said to the folks at Brooklyn Vegan “Manhattan Inn was a rare place, a place where bands felt free to step out of their routine of Playing-The-Set-In-Rock-Clubs.” The members of the band went on to describe seeing some incredible, once in a lifetime/only in New York live music; but more important, that the venue was where they played their first New York area live show, where they met their manager, where they played an impromptu night of Bowie covers, upon learning of his death — and where they collaborated with a ton of musicians across Brooklyn. They go on to explain that All Things Must Pass is one of their favorite albums and that “Wah Wah” seems to suit the collective, experimental and joyous atmosphere of Manhattan Inn.

The end result was 24 musicians, including members of Lucius, Delicate Steve, San Fermin, Alpenglow, Uni Ika Ai, Wilder Maker, Antibalas, Underground System and others performing a straightforward yet gorgeous cover of George Harrison’s “Wah Wah,” off his critically and commercially successful All Things Must Pass.