Artist of the Week

‘A Fresh Heart And A Clean Slate’

Posted by Tony Reyes |
Photo courtesy Jacob Blickenstaff The Record Company — 2016 Grammy nominees for Best Contemporary Blues Album — play a free show tonight at JJ’s Beer Garden and Brewing Co. in Fayetteville.

Photo courtesy Jacob Blickenstaff
The Record Company — 2016 Grammy nominees for Best Contemporary Blues Album — play a free show tonight at JJ’s Beer Garden and Brewing Co. in Fayetteville.

Record Company making the most of hard-won success

JOCELYN MURPHY

jmurphy@nwadg.com

Since the release of their debut album in February of 2016, one might look at the meteoric rise of blues rock musicians The Record Company and see only the near-instant sensation they’ve become in the year-and-a-half since the album came out. The Grammy nomination, the worldwide touring, the three top 10 hits, and the opening for John Mayer at a sold-out Madison Square Garden — it’s been a whirlwind for the rockers all packed into a short span of time. But lead singer and guitarist Chris Vos assures that no one in the band is an overnight success.

“We had all committed ourselves to being musicians for well over a decade before” the record came out, Vos reveals. “I spent many years playing empty rooms to three people — two bartenders and a disappointed promoter. Those are important experiences that as a band you need to have.”

Vos recalls the moment he felt things starting to change. While on tour opening for another band, The Record Company had a “one-off” — a single-night headlining show of their own while the other band on the tour took a break — in Washington, D.C. Vos says the trio was shocked when more than 150 people showed up to the show and were actually singing along with some of the music.

“You have to understand when we put the record out, anybody that was showing up at our shows, we were just thrilled to death,” he says. “After everything that’s happened this year, it’s quite a sensation [to be where we are]. Those are the kind of moments I could have only dreamed of when I was working as a moving guy in Los Angeles four or five years ago, just trying to make a couple bucks to keep going at music.”

From a family of dairy farmers — where the best compliment you can receive is to be considered a hard worker — the Wisconsin native found his band mates Alex Stiff and Marc Carzorla after moving to L.A., and the three decided to give the whole thing shot after listening to records late into the night on Stiff’s porch.

“We all collaborate together. The songs can’t exist without all three of us,” Vos shares. “As a three-piece band, we try to write a tune and then sit back with it and go, ‘How can we make this ours?’ It’s a 75-year-old genre — some aspects of it are over 100 years old. So we try to find a way to make things sound, maybe not unique to us, but we try to make things we don’t think we’ve heard so much.”

That can mean adding in a harmonica or switching the electric guitar for an acoustic, Vos says, but it can also mean incorporating uncommon sounds with a dobro, a lap slide, a pedal steel or a piano while keeping the music to just the three-person format. Once a song gets to the live show, Vos says it can change a bit here and there — “we try to live in them each night new” — but mostly an audience is getting the same music from the recording, just coming at them a little heavier, a lot louder.

“You can’t experience a song the same way every night; you can’t set it up like that in your mind and your heart. Otherwise, you’re going to lose the sharpness of the art,” he says. “You’ve got to go in there with a fresh heart and a clean slate. Whatever song I’m playing at the time, as big of a cop-out as this may sound, it’s what I’m enjoying the most because it’s the only thing there is. While you’re playing, you shouldn’t be thinking about your taxes or is this going well. You should just be completely engaged, heart and mind. In the end, it doen’t really matter what anybody thinks about me or us, it’s about serving the music.”


FAQ

The Record Company

with Beckham Bros.

WHEN — Doors open at 3 p.m. today

WHERE — JGBG in Fayetteville

COST — Free

INFO — thejbgb.com, therecordcompany.net

 

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