Ryan Tanner, The American Shakes, Joshua James | Buzz Blog

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ryan Tanner, The American Shakes, Joshua James

Posted By on April 17, 2011, 12:05 PM

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If you're reading this blog and you weren't out yesterday buying albums and celebrating Record Store Day along with the thousands of locals who turned out, I'll be shocked. The one-day event drew in fans with such anticipation and excitement, that nearly every shop participating reported having lines going down the block waiting to get in and grab what limited releases they could. Not including all those who showed up simply to catch the live shows at places like Graywhale and Uprok who carried all-day concerts from local artists.


--- Continuing the RSD tradition for this blog, we spent Record Store Day over at Slowtrain Records, hanging out in the back with the vendors like Velo City Bags and Kat Martin, drinking some beer provided by the Salt Lake City Film Festival, and watching the live performances all day. And continuing the traditional coverage we bring you three interviews from performing acts. Ryan Tanner (who we chatted with before clear back in 2008 with Atherton) performing with Paul Jacobsen & The Madison Arm behind him, The American Shakes and Joshua James (who we also talked with for Northplatte Records in 2009) playing some brand new songs for those who stayed until the end. All with over 200 pictures from yesterday's event that you can check out here.

Ryan Tanner


Gavin: Hey Ryan! First off, tell us a little about yourselves.

Ryan: My name is Ryan Tanner. I am a songwriter, married with three kids living in Salt Lake City, Utah. I played for a long time in a band here in SLC called Atherton, but am writing and making plans for a new record due this summer.

Gavin: What first got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Ryan: My parents met in a singing group in college. Music was always a big part of our lives growing up. I remember listening to everything, from The Beatles to Linda Ronstadt. My dad also played in a bluegrass group and instruments were always all over the house, in fact I have been writing on one the old martin D-28’s he has had for years. Such a great guitar.

Gavin: The last time we chatted was clear back in early '08 in Atherton. How have things been since we last chatted?

Ryan: Well... that band as it existed in 2008 is not really alive anymore, although I am still playing with Brian Hardy and Dylan Schorer who were in Atherton.

Gavin: Probably one of the biggest questions I have is about Atherton. At one point the band was highly recognized and praised, and then kinda disappeared. What happened with the group?

Ryan: The pulls of life kind of made it hard to continue being a band the way we were then. We never really recovered from making our 2007 record Skyline Motel. We had a little success having some of the songs featured in some TV shows, and I still think Skyline is really good record, but everyone got really busy. We were all in our 30’s... some a little older. We all started having kids... Rory was in medical school, and Doug moved to NYC. Brady was really focusing on getting his business going…
Gavin: What made you decide to start performing as a solo artist?

Ryan: I will always write songs... it’s the most important thing for me now. I am after really good songs, and after writing for nearly ten years, I am just at the beginning of the road. I guess I’ll play them for any one who is interested to listen. I am looking forward to making a record this summer and do some touring.

Gavin: How was it for you separating from the “band mentality” and writing your own material that sounded nothing like your previous projects?

Ryan: I never really felt like my writing was as good as the players I was playing with in Atherton. I think there are some really good songs on that record, but finally feel like the material I am working on now is strong enough to stand on it’s own... Played on an acoustic guitar and sung. That was not always the case for me.
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Gavin: What's it been like for you going around and playing shows?

Ryan: I have not been playing a ton here in SLC. I did some touring late last year before my son Max was born. I am really trying to hunker down and finish this batch of songs... I have been playing with Paul Jacobsen, Jay Henderson and Sayde Price every now and again. I love being a part of this great community we have here. So many great writers and singers. Great players as well. Very inspiring to me.

Gavin: Are there any plans for an album in the works, or are you mainly playing gigs for now?

Ryan: I am working on a record now. We have been recording demos, and I am trying to finish this group of songs. I am really excited about the summer. To get this record done and do some touring.
Gavin: Moving onto state-wide stuff, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Ryan: I love some of the writers and bands... like mentioned before... Paul, Jay, Sayde... Bands like The Devil Whale. It’s inspiring to see friends making waves nationally like Fictionist and the Neon Trees. I just think it’s a great time for Utah artists.

Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio and how its affects local musicians?

Ryan: I’ll always be grateful for people like Dave Morrissey, Ebay and Jamie over at KRCL. They have always been kind to us, in whatever incarnation. I think support like that from community radio is worth it’s weight in gold. Same goes for places like the State Room and Slowtrain Records, and Dan Nailen at the City Weekly. We would all be in big trouble without them.
Gavin: What do you think of file sharing these days, both as a musician and a music lover?

Ryan: I wish it was different. In my ideal world we would all be down at Slowtrain buying music. It is what it is... the access is good. I love that people are finding bands that they might otherwise not find, but I really love going down and talking with Chris and Anna, getting their recommendations. So much better for me than downloading the record sitting at a computer.

Gavin: What can we expect from you over the rest of this year?

Ryan: A record. And maybe some shows.
Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?

Ryan: Maybe the new Low record... everyone should own that.

The American Shakes (Brent Dreiling, Kris Taylor, David Williams & Taylor Ford)

Gavin: Hey Brent! First off, tell us a little about yourselves.

Brent: I put together this project called the American Shakes as an excuse to play music with my friends, so far it has worked out pretty well.

Gavin: What first got you each interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Brent: Originally I wanted to be Peter Tork of the Monkees, later in life, I realized it's all about Michael Nesmith.
Gavin: How did you all get together to form The American Shakes?

Brent: After completing the album, I got together with Jamie Timm, Cameron Runyan, Jake Fish and Kris Taylor, we relearned the songs and played a handful of shows. Three of those guys are on the back end of a three month tour with The Devil Whale right now, Tyler Ford and David Williams have stepped in to keep the group going. I came into this knowing everyone has other things going on, so who knows who will playing in the group in a year or so foam now.

Gavin: With each of you coming from different groups, how was it for everyone to come together for this particular project?

Brent: We had all worked together at some point prior, whether it was old bands, recording sessions or the Cowboy Ramble days, so it was just great to collaborate once again on another musical project.
Gavin: Late last year you released the full-length album Begin. What was it like for you writing that album and figuring out how the tracks would sound?

Brent: The writing part was very casual, just written as they came. More often than not, Jake Fish was around to add his ideas, and drink beer. I was listening to a lot of Dwight Yoakam, Gene Clark and Surf's Up era Beach Boys, I'm sure that all blended into the sound of the record.

Gavin: The album has twelve different contributors, all prominent folk or indie performers from Utah. What was the process like getting everyone together to record their different parts and making that album sound absolutely perfect?

Brent: I had a lot of graphs and charts.
Gavin: Considering all the different people you've worked with in the past, why did you choose to self-release rather than find a proper label?

Brent: When the album was completed, I really wanted to put it out quickly, so I just sent it off to be pressed.

Gavin: With everyone doing their own thing, how do you plan out live shows and figuring out who will be involved every time?

Brent: When a show is booked, I find out who is in town, and practice. It makes it a little different every time.
Gavin: Are there any plans to do more with this band and everyone involved, or is it more of a side project you get to have fun with?

Brent: I plan on recording more, and whoever is available to be part of that, we'll see when that time comes.

Gavin: Going state-wide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Brent: I don't go out a whole lot anymore, but I do catch most of my friends shows, and I think they are doing great.
Gavin: Not including yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Brent: Like I said, I enjoy watching my friends play music, and I was able to get most of them to contribute to the album... David Williams, The Devil Whale, Rubes, Poorwills, and The Future Of The Ghost.

Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio and how its affects local musicians?

Brent: It is good to have a radio station that is not afraid to play locals along side national bands, I listen to a lot of 1370 AM though.
Gavin: What can we expect from you guys over the rest of this year?

Brent: A few more shows, and another record.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?

Brent: I am currently looking to buy an early to mid 80's Chevy truck (some rust is okay), email me if you see one.

Joshua James

Gavin: Hey Joshua! First thing, how have you been since we last chatted?

Joshua: Busy, lots of things in my head.

Gavin: To kind of catch up, how have things been going for Northplatte as of late?

Joshua: Things are well, we just started working with Sayde Price, she is quite amazing.
Gavin: Focusing on you this time, what was it like for you first starting out playing solo shows and gaining recognition around the music scene, especially in Utah County?

Joshua: Nerve racking, frustrating, terrible.

Gavin: What was it like for you putting together The Sun Is Always Brighter?

Joshua: My current manager did most of the work on this, I just played some things, and sang, I can't take too much credit.
Gavin: What did you think of the initial success and national attention it garnered at the time?

Joshua: Unbelievable really, I had no idea that something such as that was possible.

Gavin: That album kinda opened new doors for you, adding you to festivals and tours, and gave you a lot of credibility as an Indie artist. How was that time for you performing around the country?

Joshua: Actually terrible, I would travel eight hours to play for three people, they were crazy touring times.
Gavin: After the initial success, what was it like for you going back in the studio for Build Me This?

Joshua: It was a whole different vibe, we did it at sunset sound, and it was done mostly live, unlike TSIAB.

Gavin: What did you think of the reception the album received when it finally came out in 2009?

Joshua: Well. Its hard to calculate.
Gavin: Since that time you've mainly been recording singles, the most well known so far was on the “Sons Of Anarchy” soundtrack. What's been the main influence for you in releasing those rather than putting together another EP?

Joshua: I was asked to do that by the "Anarchy" fellows, and so I did, it has just been that sort of thing for awhile. I am in the process of recording numero tres, I am excited.

Gavin: Aside running Northplatte, you've also been working with other artists on their albums. Isaac Russell, Parlor Hawk, Desert Noises... How has it been for you taking a behind-the-scenes role and helping others come up along the way?

Joshua: Its stressful, a lot of work, for a little payoff, but its how we function. We sing, we work, we create. That's what humans have grown accustomed to doing.
Gavin: Aside the new album in the works, are there other projects you've got going on for the time being?

Joshua: I am working on a couple different things as of now. One full length, and another idea that I haven't sorted out in my head yet.

Gavin: Aside yourself, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Joshua: I know that I am biased but Parlor Hawk, Desert Noises, Sayde Price, all three of those acts really make me smile when i see them playing and singing. They got it bad.
Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio and how its affects local musicians?

Joshua: I think it helps, and every little bit helps.

Gavin: What do you think of file sharing these days, both as a musician and a music lover?

Joshua: Its a love/hate relationship, I don't necessarily condone it, but I do see that it can help to a degree. I look at it as a taste-tester, I am not an iPod sort of person, but I hate buying records that are shitty, so its good to test something out before buying it in its physical form.
Gavin: What can we expect from you guys over the rest of this year?

Joshua: The new Desert Noises, my new record (so I hope) and some surprises as the road unravels it.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?

Joshua: My goats are having their kids this next month.

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