What prompted the change in your sound?
There were two main causes of the change in sound: our lineup change, and our never-ending quest to deliver a great live show.
When we promoted our bass player Nick to lead guitar, we knew we were headed further into rock territory. He’s always been primarily an electric guitar player, and he has 15 years of chops built up from his prog rock obsession. Don’t mention RUSH to the guy unless you’re ready to get in the weeds. On Greenfield Project, our previous lead guitar player just added a touch of electric here and there. On Elk Creek, Nick and our co-producer Matt created a layered rock guitar sound on virtually every track, which really drove us to our fuller, more dynamic sound.
On top of that, our new member Brian McKinney is far more than a bass player - the guy plays guitar, keys, mandolin, you name it - and he really extends the range and diversity of our sound, especially on the album. We’re so excited to have a multi-instrumentalist in the group. And to top it all off, the guy’s a great songwriter too! We’ve already incorporated one of his tunes into our live act, with plenty more coming soon. We’ve never been more excited to play music than we are in our arrangement right now.
As musicians, we feel that the most important aspect of what we do is delivering a live performance we’re proud of. We noticed we had a habit of cutting the more down-tempo, mellow songs for shorter sets. It became clear that our instinct was to be as energetic and entertaining as possible during our performances. The shift towards a bigger, more rock-influenced instrumentation went hand-in-hand with what we wanted to present live, so we never really hesitated while moving in that direction. It was very natural for us. We’ve already been playing the songs on the new album live for a while now, and the response is very clear - folks love the new sound just as much as we do!
The lead track on the album Water really represents the distillation of our transformation. It’s also the first song we wrote with the new sound in mind. Water is a much heavier Rock ’n Roll tune than anything off our first album. We think the best way to fully appreciate the change is to hear it. Which should be easy with it being the free download of the week next week!
What can we expect at your release show at Braxton Brewery?
We’re going to have a ton of fun at Braxton. We love the atmosphere, the people, and let’s not forget - the incredible beer! All of us in Elk Creek are really proud of the entrepreneurial spirit of our local brewers, so having our release party at one of our favorite breweries just felt right.
We’ve partnered with the very talented local artist James Billiter, who’s vintage style produced our new brand, logo, and album artwork for Elk Creek. At Braxton we’ll have an exclusive, limited run of his art printed onto CD sleeves using a vintage Heidelberg letterpress right here in Cincinnati. They really stand alone as a great piece of music-inspired art for any local collector, and there will only be one hundred or so created. We’re really excited to share these with our fans that come out to Braxton to support us!
We also did something new while recording this album by having guest performers help fill out our sound, and we’re super excited to share the day with the supremely talented Krystal Peterson! Her powerful voice created the choir vocals on our single “Tired." Her group Krystal Peterson and the Queen City Band just won the 2016 Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best R&B/Funk/Soul and we couldn’t be more proud to share the stage with her! Our co-producer Matt Hueneman will also be there with us - without him, this album wouldn’t be the accomplishment that we feel it is, and we have something very special planned for him as well!
What is next for Elk Creek?
Elk Creek is and will always be a Cincinnati act. We are family men with no plans for world domination. But we do promise to continue to evolve, to bring new material to our favorite venues, and to share our passion for music with the vibrant and underrated scene here in Greater Cincinnati. We are already brimming with enough material for years to come, and any live show you come out to you’re almost guaranteed to hear something new. That’s our commitment, and we can’t wait to see where it takes us!