Twin Forks (feat. Chris Carrabba)

Twin Forks (feat. Chris Carrabba)

Dan Layus (of Augustana)

The Social Animals

Sat, May 13, 2017

8:00 pm

$18.00

This event is all ages

Facebook comments:

Twin Forks (feat. Chris Carrabba)
Twin Forks (feat. Chris Carrabba)
"I use my gut, and my gut don't lie to me" is more than just a lyric in Twin Forks' exuberant "Something We Just Know," it is a kind of mission statement for the quartet. If you've ever been to a musical performance that made you lose all sense of time and place and give in to the cathartic feeling of clapping and dancing and singing along, you've already visited the sweet spot where Twin Forks have made it their mission to reside. "Whatever makes the audience stomp their feet and sing at the top of their lungs, that's what I want to be doing," says singer/guitarist Chris Carrabba. "I want to be generating that spirit from the stage. And there's gotta be a way to do that whether the audience knows the songs yet or not." Carrabba, mandolin player Suzie Zeldin, bassist Jonathan Clark and drummer Ben Homola are already well on their way, rousing crowds with their electrifying chemistry and anthemic folk-rock.

Carrabba figured out the guiding principle for Twin Forks before he even knew exactly what the project would sound like. During recent solo tours, Carrabba -- whose Dashboard Confessional grew from an intimate solo-acoustic affair to a bona fide arena rock band during the mid '00s -- says he was reminded how important that audience connection had always been to him as a performer.

He also knew he wanted to craft a sound closer to the music he'd loved as a kid -- classic folk, country and roots music. Growing up outside Hartford, Connecticut in an area he describes as "half-rural, half-city," Carrabba developed an early fondness for acoustic singer-songwriters he heard on the radio -- Cat Stevens and John Denver and Gordon Lightfoot -- as well as the more obscure Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan and Guy Clark LPs he found in his mother and step-brother's record collections. "At the beginning of Dashboard, I wanted to write an acoustic record, but every time I played a D,C, or G chord -- which are called the 'cowboy chords' -- I would think about how Tom Petty or Cat Stevens or John Denver or Gordon Lightfoot did this already," says Carrabba. "That's when I started tuning my guitars all to hell and back, just so they sounded weird to me. I was probably playing DCG anyway, but I didn't know anything about guitar, and that was how I could get myself feeling like I was in new territory."

"When I started playing acoustic-based music, I wasn't trying to avoid traditional folk because I didn't love it -- I just loved it so much and didn't wanna do an injustice to it," Carrabba notes. "And I had other influences and I thought, why can't I combine this punk and hardcore feeling with this classic folk feeling -- because they were both such massive loves of mine. But right now I'm more excited about utilizing the age-old, time-tested thing and trying to excel within the parameters of a traditional template."

He still wanted to be in new territory, though, so when he started writing songs for the project that would evolve into Twin Forks, he wanted to add a new twist. So Carrabba spent three years teaching himself traditional fingerpicking technique. "There's magic in that kind of playing, where you're managing two guitar parts," he says. "I have always found it fascinating and it just seemed like it was calling to me." Equipped with that new set of skills, Carrabba started writing his most delicate, musically articulate compositions yet, temporarily setting them aside for he-didn't-know-what. In the interim, making his 2011 covers album, "Covered In The Flood," gave him the chance to explore his relationship with songs by some of his favorite folk and country artists, both classic and contemporary, including Clark, John Prine, Justin Townes Earle and Corey Brannan.

The covers LP was also the vehicle for Carrabba to start working with a few musician friends with whom he'd been wanting to collaborate: He asked Zeldin to sing back-ups on his cover of "Long Monday," and Clark to help him record/produce it in his small studio. He and Homola had been talking about playing together for awhile, so he invited the drummer to join the developing project, as well. Last fall, Carrabba, Clark and Homola performed songs from that covers collection and a few of Carrabba's new original tunes -- those delicate finger-picking songs -- at San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival. The experience was a major awakening. "Onstage at HSB, I realized, I have all this delicate stuff, but I like to party. I like the feeling of release and drive onstage. We only played it as a trio and we weren't called Twin Forks yet, but as soon as we got offstage, we talked about all the ones we should have played that were closer to the ones we play now. It was instantly evident. We were elated. All we want to be is elated. Why else should we be getting onstage? We're not up there to be some good-time charlie band, but we are not hiding the fact that we are elated to be onstage with you and we're choosing the songs that are giving us the best edge to be able to do that."

After Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Carrabba returned home with a new sense of purpose and a clarity of vision for Twin Forks. In the previous two years, he had been sticking to a temporary rule he'd imposed on himself as a songwriter: "I had made this rule that I would not say 'love' or 'heart' in my lyrics," he explains. "I would talk about those things but I wouldn't say them. So when I came home from that festival and I did write the first song and it did say both 'love' and 'heart,' they felt like the right words, after not having used them for so long. I let the songs happen and found a tempo that suits what Twin Forks became."

"Something We Just Know" came to him first, and then, the flood -- another eight songs in the following eight days. Twin Forks began tracking the new songs whenever they could, between tours with other projects, in a multi-purpose space Carrabba had converted into a studio. Over the course of several weeks starting last fall, they managed to record more than twenty tracks that they plan to whittle down to eleven or twelve for the debut LP they plan to release later this year. "We tracked everything live, and I have this tendency to get really excited about what everyone is doing and I'll make a little hoot or shout, and you can hear all those things in the final versions of the songs," says Carrabba. "On 'Scraping Up The Pieces,' everytime I listen to it and hear Suzie laughing, I'm dying to remember what could have been so funny. Then we additionally multi-track, which we figured was a thoughtful way of approaching the record. You get the error-prone thing that has all the magic in it, but that doesn't mean you can't chase a little more precision. But the goal is always to do our best to get it right in the same room with each other, looking at each other, laughing with each other. I think you can feel that all over the songs."
Dan Layus (of Augustana)
Dan Layus (of Augustana)
Whether it’s penning poetry, fiction or songs, every great author suffers from about of writer’s block at some point in their career. Dan Layus is no exception.
And for him, the remedy was thinking about eggs. Yes, eggs. In the midst ofcrafting material for his moving solo debut Dangerous Things, Layus foundhimself stuck. So he sought advice from his guitar player and close friend Jay TKwho suggested a trick he learned from taking a creative writing class. “He said‘this is how you write descriptively, you need to describe if there's three eggs on
the table. Don't say there are three eggs on the table. Find a left of center way to
tell me what you're looking at.’” In other words: Show, don’t tell. “I needed to stopthinking so metaphorically, thinking so high in the clouds,” he says. “I’m justgoing to say the damn thing in a way that I'm interpreting it. That was kind of how
I proceeded to write the rest of the record.”

The 11 songs on Dangerous Things, are expertly crafted and ring with a deepsincerity that few singer-songwriters can match. The centerpiece of Dangerous
Things is “Driveway,” the first song Layus wrote after conquering his writer’sblock. Over a delicate acoustic guitar and haunting lap steel, a melancholic Layuscomes to terms with the life sacrifices as a musician: not wanting to leave home,
but can’t stay at home because he needs to provide for his wife and family.
“Writing that was a very defining moment for me,” he says. “That to me was signthat it’s okay to do what I’m doing now. This is where I am.” Elsewhere, “Four
Rings” finds Layus, solo at the piano, his voice heaving with emotion, backed bythe heavenly backing vocals of Laura and Lydia Rogers aka the Secret Sisters.
Originally sought for accompanying Layus just on the album’s infectious titletrack, the Sisters ended up recording vocals for a total of five songs including theLeonard Cohen-esque “It Only Gets Darker” and the life-affirming coda “TheNightbird.” “I only wanted two instruments on each song, but as I was listening tothe recording sessions, something was missing,” he says. “My manager and I feltthat backing vocals might help, so we got in contact with the Sisters and theycame in the studio and knocked them out in a few hours.”

Prior to Dangerous Things, Layus was best known as the front man for
Augustana, the California-based rock band best known for their platinum single“Boston” from their 2005 debut All the Stars and Boulevards. But after three more
Augustana records, Layus was itching for a change, both personal andprofessional. After spending most of his life in California, Layus was lured by the
appeal of Nashville, a city bursting with a creative spirit while providing a lesshectic lifestyle for his wife and their three children. That dovetailed nicely withLayus’ longing to write songs without the constraints of being in a band with asparser country vibe, influenced by Ryan Adams, alt-country originators UncleTupelo as well as discovering songs like “I Don’t Want to Play House” by TammyWynette and George Jones’ classic “If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will).”


“Hearing those songs was a life-changer for me,” he says. “They were disguisedas simple, but actually very complex in their makeup and deliveries. The way thatTammy would sing her vowels just breaks your heart. I felt very muchencouraged to try some new things both lyrically and melodically.” Once inNashville, Layus quickly set up a music room in their new residence, scoring anold piano from a local music store for $200 “I think my inspiration is something assimple as looking out the window and seeing a different environment,” he says.
“It has just a nice warm vibe and it allowed me to open up some vocals on thepiano with my hands that just weren't there in the past.”

The past has become the present. And with Dangerous Things, one can sense
that Dan Layus has reached an artistic pinnacle. It’s the culmination of years ofhard work and struggle, milestones now reached by a change of scenery and thelove of his family.
The Social Animals
The Social Animals
The Social Animals are a full time, van-living, beer-drinking young band. Experts across the globe have called them "The Opposite Of Toby Keith". They speak through elegantly sarcastic and thoughtful lyrics splattered across a canvas of indie rock/Americana instrumentation. They don't do backflips at their live shows or slide across their knees into guitar solos. Instead, they play their music
passionately and honestly, leaving room for a shirt-staining dance party in a crowded club, or one too many glasses of wine and a cab ride home from a listening room. Between songs, their dry commentary on the status of their lives and the world around them often causes people to look up from their phone screens, an action known to be scary and difficult for people throughout the nation.

They recently finished an album recorded at Ice Cream Party Studios in Portland, Oregon. The studio, (owned and frequently used by Modest Mouse), is as eccentric, hidden, and professional as it is smoky. Produced by Steve Berlin (Los Lobos, Deer Tick), the album highlights their shift toward indie rock, while simultaneously retaining the Americana edge that helped push them to where they are today. Through a mixture of both his tremendous beard and his very intelligent ear for all things music, Berlin helped shape the band's second release into something worth stealing online. Captured almost completely live, the album showcases the band's growth as a professional entity, driven by powerful vocals and the dirt of endless touring. If you've made it this far, congrats.
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change