There’s a show coming up Sunday, Dec. 30, in Portland’s State Theatre with the first of two performances by the band moe. — the second show is also at the theater and will happen the next night, New Year’s Eve. The opening act at the first show is Assembly of Dust (made up of frontman/founder lead singer/guitarist Reid Genauer, lead guitarist/singer Adam Terrell, drummer Dave Diamond and bassist/vocalist John Leccese). Last week, Genauer called via cellphone from the streets of New York City to chat about what’s happening with his latest band (his first group was a quartet called Strangefolk).
Q: What’s up with you guys nowadays?
Genauer: Well, we are preparing to release a new record called “Sun Shot” and it’s 12 songs that have never been recorded before — probably half or more have never been performed live, even — so they’re just kind of new tunes. They’re just what I’d call so rot a more introspective approach — a little softer touch — to this new album.
Q: How so?
Genauer: We used an engineer, a guy named Ryan Freeland, and he had done Ray LaMontagne’s last record. Well, I had sought him out because what I liked about all of Ray’s records — particularly the last one — was it’s really organic, warm sound. It doesn’t sound forced and you really get the full range — the full spectrum — of frequencies, you know, from the bass and the acoustic guitar … and so Ryan did it for us. What was unexpectedly great about it is the way he gets that feel through his own approach. Part of it is by recognizing and really being doggedly determined about finding vintage gear — like (old) tube amps, soundboards and ribbon mics and such — so he was really helpful in choosing the studio. And then lastly, he was able to help us capture that live concert feel. You know, that high-impact, caveman/killer mode where you want to take off heads and melt faces with a two-stories-high stack of speakers and a crowd of a thousand people freaking out. How do you get this in a studio? You can’t, so Ryan’s advice was “Don’t even try, in fact, take a step back and play with touch and let me figure out how to make it work because that’s my job!” So that was really liberating and you can really hear that on the record.
Q: Now when will this new CD be coming out?
Genauer: Feb. 5, so it’s coming up. What else can I tell you about it? Well, the title track is a tune that I wrote when my second son was born, so there’s a play on words there — and then “Sun Shot” also refers to when an object is lit by the sun, is ‘shot by the sun’ so in another extension of the name I went out and took — using Instagram — one image for each song. So you’ve got the song, you’ve got the lyric, and then you’ve got a graphic expression of the song — in some cases fairly literal and in some cases pretty abstract, far out there. There’s kind of a tie-in to photography in some ways. The storytelling is all there anyway — I’ve said this before that writing a song is, in some ways, like taking a snapshot and it’s all about composition.
Q: I take it your show at State Theatre will feature some of these songs?
Genauer: Absolutely, yeah!
Q: Have you played at that venue before?
Genauer: Yeah, I’ve played it both with AoD and with Strangefolk. In fact I was there most recently in March with the Strangefolk reunion show.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Genauer: Well, I guess I’d close just by saying that it’s a great venue and a great city and great fans, and another cool thing for us is that we’ve had a long-standing relationship with moe. So there will be a good sort of chemistry in the room that night!
Lucky Clark has spent over four decades writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.