Elk Creek has undergone some serious changes for the good recently. Check out our talk with Jeremy Brown of Elk Creek for more details…
Tell about your new lineup change…
A few months ago we were faced with the unenviable challenge of replacing one of our founding members, whose unique style and technical skill heavily influenced the overall “Elk Creek sound”. This change came at a point in which we were busier than we’d ever been and had very little time to adjust. We had just scheduled to play our first show in Nashville, we’d already booked the show on Fountain Square and we’d been asked to open for two different touring acts at MOTR. Fortunately for us our bass player Nick Whittenburg is really a lead guitarist who had picked up bass solely because we needed a bass player for our first show (Our first show was at MOTR where we opened for Sohio, more on Sohio later). So the decision to move Nick from bass to lead guitar was an easy one. Nick is an extremely talented musician who has exceeded our expectations for him on guitar. His guitar style is much different than what we were doing before; though I think it adds to our songs. Nick is playing all electric, which gives us a heavier and fuller sound and moves us a little farther on the continuum away from stripped down acoustic Americana acts and more towards a full rock back sound like Ryan Adams or Jason Isbell.
On the upside, it has been a lot fun re-imagining songs that we had been playing for over a year and very easily could have become stagnant. There was however a downside to moving Nick from bass to guitar, we were once again left with a void on bass. That leads us to Brian McKinney “BJ”. BJ was the lead guitarist for Sohio and a longtime friend. We knew BJ was interested in playing with a band again and we all knew he was a good fit. The only problem was that he is a guitarist and we really didn’t need another guitarist. So we approached him much in the same way we did Nick. We asked if he had any interest in learning bass. Fortunately for us, he said yes and jumped in with both feet. Even more fortunate for us, he is a multi-instrumentalist who adds mandolin and keyboard to our sound. BJ has really done a great job of both learning our songs in a short period of time while also contributing artistically to the band. We’ve very fortunate to have him with us.
Are you excited about MPMF? Who are you going to check out while there?
We are extremely excited to be playing MPMF this year. It’s a strange feeling when you get to play as part of a festival you’ve been going to as a fan for years. It’s even more exciting when you realize you get to play a festival with so many great bands that you’re a fan of. I mean we’re playing the same festival as Buffalo Killers, Pokey Lafarge, Heartless Bastards and Iron & Wine.
Personally I’m most excited about Iron and Wine. Sam has been more influential to my songwriting than any other songwriter. While I’ve seen him perform multiple times there’s just something unique about being listed together for the same festival.
Besides the lineup change, what else has been happening for Elk Creek?
Other than losing a member of the band, playing more shows that we’d ever expected and having all my harmonica gear stolen things have been pretty quiet… It’s actually been a fantastic experience, the good and the bad. We have accomplished more in the past year than we had ever anticipated and the challenges have helped to shape the music we’re now making.
What is next for Elk Creek?
First we need to get through the show on Fountain Square and MPMF, then it’s time to record our next album. We actually have more than an albums worth of new material so we’re going to spend the next couple months working out and culling some of those songs so that we’ll be ready to start recording late Fall.