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OLD SEA BRIGADE
with Jon Bryant and Luray

Songbyrd Presents
Downstairs, All Ages


DOORS: 7:00 PM // SHOW: 8:00 PM

$12 / $14
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Songbyrd Presents

Wednesday April 3, 2019

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It really feels like coloring outside of the lines. For as much as the music of Old Sea Brigade remains rooted in Americana, indie, country, rock, and ambient soundscapes, it blurs and breaks barriers, tossing and turning between analog cinematic flourishes and provocative lyricism based on hard-won wisdom. Amidst this mélange of textures, Atlanta-born and Nashville-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Ben Cramer allows the emotion to resound loudest on his full-length debut, Ode To A Friend [Nettwerk].

“I tried to put myself into my own bubble,” he explains. “I chose to do something that felt like me. It’s the best representation of my songwriting and what I grew up loving about music. I hope you can pull your own meaning from it.

He’s been encouraging audiences to do just that since first emerging in 2015. After the breakup of his last band, he wound up back in Atlanta at his parents’ house with “no idea what to do.” So, he figured it out.

The artist combed through his personal sonic archives, found inspiration, and started feverishly writing. Soon after, he teamed up with producer Jeremy Griffith to record Old Sea Brigade’s self-titled debut EP. The single “Love Brought Weight” caught fire, generating over 16 million Spotify streams. In the meantime, he inked a deal with NETTWERK after founder Terry McBride personally reached out on Facebook.

Between touring alongside Joseph, Luke Sital Singh, Lewis Watson, Julien Baker, John Paul White, and more, he released 2017’s Cover My Own EP. The lead single “Tidal Wave” quickly crossed the two-million-mark on Spotify as acclaim came from Clash, Indie Obsessive, Immersive Atlanta, and many others. During 2017, he retreated to Griffith’s Destin, FL studio in order to record what would become Ode To A Friend. In the studio, the sonic palette expanded to incorporate analog synths and a “squeaky, old, and out-of-tune piano that you’d never find in a music store—but gave the sound character.”


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Halifax-born and Vancouver-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Jon Bryant explores the conundrum of connection on his full-length debut for Nettwerk, Cult Classic.

"Over the past few years I've really become a skeptic. Thanks to social media, politics, religion and news media, etc.," he explains. "Many songs on the album reflect that skepticism and emphasize the ways I've evolved as both a writer and person; spiritually, mentally and emotionally."
The artist's personal path simultaneously twisted and turned in the most unexpected of ways, eventually leading him from Seattle to Vancouver. New in town, Bryant sought connection, so he joined an undisclosed organization at the urging of a close friend who also belonged to this -- we'll call it a "group."

"I had my reservations, but I didn't want to shy away from something that engendered so much excitement," he admits. "I was fascinated because my friend was fascinated. The people were lovely and some of what they were teaching was very useful and tangible. However, as I went deeper, this weird dynamic started happening among my new friends. I was once told that, 'Falling into a belief system is like dying in your sleep, you don't notice when it happens.' After learning details about some very troubling events within the group, I left. Following my departure, my fascination with cults began to percolate. This curiosity influenced my writing and became a framework for the album's concept."
Reclaiming his independence, Bryant penned tunes everywhere from Nova Scotia and Vancouver to Seattle, Los Angeles, and Australia. He also rediscovered formative influences ranging from Jeff Buckley and The Police to Shuggie Otis and Michael McDonald, Massive Attack and The Smiths to Hall & Oates to Chris Isaac.

Retreating to the studio (Afterlife Studios in Vancouver) with producer John Raham for the first time, he set about recording Cult Classic in 2017. This time around, he switched up the process. Rather than compose on guitar, he challenged himself by writing on piano from the start and found childhood inspiration from artists such as Bruce Hornsby, The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan. By welcoming analog warm synths into the sonic architecture, he explored styles that he had always wanted to as well. As a result, the sound evokes a sweeping and soaring cinematic scope.

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Luray creates strange and lovely bedfellows of sound – banjo layered over ambient sounds make up this once bluegrass-picking songwriter’s approach to making music. The end result is somewhere between the likes of Iron & Wine and Emmylou Harris. Luray’s debut album The Wilder was called "beautifully lush” by Bob Boilen of NPR. Luray is currently located in Richmond, Virginia, and their second album will be released soon.