Jeremy Messersmith

"I think writing good songs is the only really important thing about the business. Everything else is just icing on the musical cake."

When you sit down to write a song, you hope to tell a story to whoever is listening. The ultimate goal is for that story to strike a chord with someone and to be able to share a feeling or a moment. Jeremy Messersmith is a storyteller. Each of his songs seep into your soul and will reside there forever. His latest album, The Reluctant Graveyard, is centered around death, which you may assume would be too dark, however Jeremy turns the subject of death into a beautiful thing. Recently, I interviewed him to get a deeper look into his creative mind. Here is our interview:

Q. How did you get your start in music?

A. Well, I grew up playing music in church and school. Trumpet was my thing, at least until I got braces. When I was 17 I picked up the guitar and played in church a lot. I only started writing songs after I left for college.

Q. As an artist, what do you feel are some of the most important aspects in the business?

A. I think writing good songs is the only really important thing about the business. Everything else is just icing on the musical cake.

Q. You’ve released three albums so far, your latest being “The Reluctant Graveyard.” What has been one of the best times you’ve experienced while recording those albums?

A. Actually, getting to work with Dan Wilson on The Silver City was an amazing experience. I learned so much about how to make records, how to sing, write songs, and work in a real recording studio. I owe that dude more than I can hope to repay!

Q. You decided to price your album at “pay what you want.” What was your decision process in doing that?

A. To boil it all down- the golden rule: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” I like to have the pay-whatever-I-want option as a fan of lots of bands. I wish more of them did it. It made sense for me to give it a try.

Q. You’re no stranger to playing sold out shows in many different cities. What is one of the best memories you have from a live show?

A. Last year I got to play at a political rally. It was opening for the President- simultaneously the strangest and most awesome show ever.

Q. You music has been featured on a few different TV shows, which is a great way for artists these days to become discovered. How did it feel hearing your music on national TV?

A. It was pretty awesome. I didn’t expect much out of it, but I thought the Chuck placement was brilliantly executed. I wish they were all that way, but usually the song ends up just being in the background. The most fun thing about it is all the phone calls I got from friends and family saying they heard one of my songs. I guess I’m not wasting my life after all!

Q. Social networking is a huge way to get your music out into the world. Do you feel like websites such as Twitter and Facebook has helped your career grow?

A. I think so. Twitter and Facebook are sort of the new infrastructure, much like radio was back in the day. I think anything that helps people share information is pretty fantastic overall. The internet is great for that. Plus, it’s fun being able to talk with fans and actually connect with them.

Q. What is next on your list of things to do?

A. It’s been about a year since my last record came out, so I should probably start working on another one!

Q. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. “Miracles” from The Silver City. It’s kind of gentle and has a lot of soft strings and things on it. If it were any of my other songs I think they’d drive me insane!

Here is “A Girl, a boy, and a Graveyard” one of the more intimate tracks off of, “The Reluctant Graveyard.” Really listen to the beauty of the song.

To hear more of Jeremy’s music, click here.

The End.

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The Rebecca West

Photo by: Brooke Schwab Shepard

Duo’s are common in the music scene these days and in order to get noticed in the bunch, you have to stand out. Married couple, Cameron Dezen Hammon and Matt Hammon, are a duo that do stand out. Their pure talent accompanied with passion, love, and dedication is something that is often hard to portray, but to them it comes naturally. Currently living in Houston, Texas, the couple are collaborating to create music that you can’t hear everywhere else. The love that they share is as clear as day and their music tells the story. Here they are performing, You Have Loved Me So Well. For more information on them, click here.

 

Ten

It’s a rainy Tuesday night and music always seems to be the best thing for a rainy evening. Here are five videos that can help get you through a dreary night.

Jeffrey James – Going Back Down

Lisa Mitchell – Clean White Love

Humming House – Gypsy Django

Motopony – King of Diamonds

Great Lake Swimmers – Pulling On A Line

Elk and Boar

When two talented musicians come together and make music, the end result usually tends to be beautiful. Travis Barker and Kirsten Wenlock came together recently and created Elk and Boar. The two are incredibly gifted artists who make music your ears can easily fall head over heels for. They just recently released their first full-length album, Room to Start, which is a collection of ten songs that will leave you wanting more. Here they are performing the title track, Room to Start.

For more information on Elk and Boar, click here. Also, if you love this song and would like to download their entire album, follow this link.

Gavin Castleton

"Honest art has never come from greed."

Gavin Castleton is no stranger to the music business. Having released ten full-length albums, he’s struggled to support his art, but has managed to overcome the hurdles. His most recent album, Won Over Frequency, was completely funded by loyal fans via Kickstarter. Over the years, Gavin has grown into an artist that is described by some as, “the Bob Ross of the music world,” with his ability of painting a picture with lyrics. His talent is hauntingly beautiful and to know that it’s just going to get better and better with time, is something that I can’t wait to hear. I recently interviewed Gavin and was honored to have the chance to learn just a bit more about him.

Q. How did you get your start in music?

A. My mother started me on piano lessons at the age of three. I trained in classical music until my teens, then I switched to jazz, and then funk, rock and hip-hop. I totally missed indie, but it’s because I grew up mainly in Cranston.

Q. You’re a well-rounded musician. Over the years, what has been one of your best memories?

A. One of my best memories was my record release show at the West Side Arts Gallery in Providence this past fall while on tour with two of my favorite artists, Happy Body Slow Brain and Lex Land, who both joined my trio on stage throughout our set. With many of my Rhode Island friends in attendance, I felt engulfed in love. Another favorite memory was this foot-long burrito I had in Philly.

Q. Your recent album, Home, is an unbelievable work of art. The entire album is a thorough story of your relationship ending after six years. Now that the album is complete, do you feel like the grieving process is also complete?

A. Well, I think the grieving process ended about halfway through the making of that album. That’s about when the healing process took over.

Q. The first time I read about the story of Home, it brought tears to my eyes. Personally, I’ve been through failed relationships that I thought I would never get over. Do you feel like the more you write about stuff, the easier it is to move on?

A. Not necessarily. Sometimes you’re trying to sort out the infection, sometimes you’re just picking at the scab.

Q. Other then relationships, what else in life inspires you to write?

A. Movies, children, the internet, and aging are also very influential on my process.

Q. What musicians inspire you to become a better artist?

A. In no particular order: Leslie Feist, Matt Mahafey, The Bad Plus, Quincy Jones, Kelli Schaefer, Sam Beam, Rufus Wainwright, Laura Marling, Stravinsky, Satie, D’Angelo, Janelle Monae, Kneebody, Lex Land, Matt Chamberlain, Esperanza Spalding, Huey Lewis, Justin Abene, Brendan Bell, Danny Elfman.

Q. What are your plans for the summer? Do you have any tours planned?

A. My plans were to work during the day as an interactive designer and use that income to record a new album. Now that my son needs an expensive hip surgery, my plans are to work during the day as an interactive designer and use that income to pay for a hip surgery. I have no plans to tour. I may do a single show here or there, but my listenership is not large enough in most towns to make touring affordable.

Q. Speaking of touring, what are a few cities you feel give you the best response?

A. My biggest markets seem to be Boston, Providence, NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Phoenix.

Q. If you could alter one thing about the music business, what would it be and why?

A. I would take the “business” out of it so it was just “music.”  Honest art has never come from greed.

Q. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. Murmur (from Won Over Frequency) because it would keep me calm and doesn’t tarnish easily, even on repeat listens.

Here is “Coffelocks” from Gavin’s album, Home. This song is just the beginning of the story he tells. Be sure to purchase the album to listen to the rest of the story.

The End.

Shows That Matter Featuring Ryan M. Brewer

On Thursday, May 26, Ryan Brewer and Robert Kelly took over my living room for a few hours to showcase their music. As promised, here is Ryan’s performance from the night. Again, I would like to thank everyone involved in making this night go so well. A special thank you to Seahorse Studios. Without all of your hard work, these performances wouldn’t have been documented.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Camera Operators: Chelsea Graham & Ethan Palm
Photographer: Jason Garriott
Editor: Ethan Palm
Sound Engineering: Peyton Rodeffer

xo.

Nine

It’s almost like a scavenger hunt each week, searching for new music and videos that have yet to surface in my library. Since I started this, I look forward to each Tuesday, being able to showcase five great artists for all of you. This week, I had a harder time picking them out. Not because I couldn’t find videos that were good enough to post, but because not all artists out there have the budget to even make a music video. So, this week I thought I would try something new. A few of these are the “official” music videos, but some are not. Either way, I hope you enjoy each one.

Eliot Bronson – If You Need To Be Free

Koji – Wagon Wheel

David Wax Museum – Born With A Broken Heart

Greg Holden – The Art of Falling

Pearl and the Beard – Oh, Death

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