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May 2019

Opening Act

The Great Palumbo

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Artist: The Great Palumbo

Socials: Twitter/Instagram/Facebook

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Members: Peter Campbell, Harrison Hall, Will Stevens

TrunkSpace: TrunkSpace premiered your latest single, “World is Wide,” a day before it officially dropped on April 26. What kind of emotions do you juggle with as you release new music to the masses?
Campbell: It always gives me anxiety. I’m a pretty anxious person anyway, so that is definitely heightened during the run up to a release. But, by the time the release actually happens, the song is what it is. I’m proud of and believe in every song we release (otherwise we wouldn’t release them), so I just try to focus on what I can control. And the validation of seeing something go out into the world that has just been sitting in my Google Drive for eons feels really good.

TrunkSpace: Is it difficult to avoid assigning expectations to singles and/or albums? How do you separate the creative from a desire to capture as big of an audience for the art as possible?
Campbell: It’s been difficult in the past, but it’s getting easier. In the end, all you can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and appreciate the small victories as they come to you.

There’s a saying I hear around the songwriting world. “Don’t write for anyone; write for

someone.” I think about this a lot.

Yeah, I want to capture as big an audience as possible, but in writing, I think it’s important to put the blinders on. Be yourself. Be real. Be specific. Be vulnerable. Not every song will resonate with every person, but trying to write what you think people around you want to hear is a great way to make sure your writing doesn’t resonate with anyone. All you can do is pour yourself into each song, and have faith that you’re not the only person who feels the way you do. Because you definitely are not.

So when it comes time to release the song, all you can do is put it out and hope for the best. If it was written from a real place, it will find an audience.

TrunkSpace: “World is Wide” is from your forthcoming EP, “Into the Dark,” which is set to be released on June 7. What did you hope to accomplish with the EP as a whole, and now that you’re in the final stretch of seeing it all come together, do you feel comfortable that you accomplished those goals?
Campbell: There’s a lot that I hoped for, but the only hard-set goal for this EP is to establish a “basecamp” for this project. This is our first set of releases, so prior to this, we were in sort of a pre-existence. Just being on the map with something that we can be proud of is huge. And even though it’s not June 7 yet, I already feel like this is something that is being accomplished.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the upcoming EP?
Campbell: The run up to this EP was LONG. I relocated to Nashville to officially start this project a little more than three years ago, and in that time I have had to work through a lot. Relocation carries with it inherent challenges already (money, community, etc.), but also, plugging into Nashville’s music scene doesn’t happen overnight when you’re starting from scratch. I have learned SO much since being here, and seeing this project come to fruition after all that time is extremely validating. Bringing it to life took a lot more time, money, and work than I ever imagined, but now that we’re here, I feel proud to have stuck with it and followed through on this vision. It’s been an empowering experience, and I feel poised to build this project into something really cool.

TrunkSpace: The seed of The Great Palumbo was first planted in Hanoi, Vietnam. Would the band exist today if not for that personal and creative journey? Would your artistic path have been dramatically different?
Campbell: Hm, good question. It would definitely exist… but it would be different, because I would be different.

This is not to say that I became a different person than I would have otherwise been, but I feel like I’m a lot further down that path today than I would have been if I had stayed at home. I’m a big advocate for people living in foreign cultures for extended periods of time because it massively accelerates personal growth. I have a lot to say about this but I’ll do my best to stay on topic…

So – to bring this back to music – my stylistic sensibilities have definitely gotten to be more eclectic through my travels, but that’s surface-level. To delve a bit deeper, I don’t think I started to seriously do business with who I am and how I related to the world around me until Hanoi.

This process is still ongoing for me, and it heavily informs my writing. There is definitely some unpacking of this stuff on the EP, especially around the themes of spirituality and belonging.

TrunkSpace: The band is currently based out of Nashville. For decades it has been a city associated with country music, but there is so much happening there right now that it has become a genre melting pop. What is it like creating in such a creatively rich city? Does that energy feed your own drive?
Campbell: Oh man, I could gush about this for hours. You’re right, Nashville has traditionally been “the mothership” for country music, but there’s SO much more going on here now than just that. The amount that is happening in this city on any given day of the week is staggering. This is a place that punches well above its weight class.

As a musician, moving here can be a bit overwhelming. The level of talent here is off the charts, so it can definitely be intimidating at times, but it also forces you to constantly be growing and improving. Now that I’ve got my feet under me, my day to day is really exciting when I’m fully engaged with what is happening here. It’s a really special community of people, and this talent pool has had a profound impact on this project already. The level of musicianship and professionalism that has been poured into this project already has been really humbling, and we’re excited to be pushing deeper as we move forward!

TrunkSpace: What do you get being in a band that you couldn’t achieve in a solo capacity?
Campbell: This is an interesting question. The further into this I get, the more I realize that it takes a village. Even artists that are “solo” on paper, often have teams of people working with them that can closely resemble what many might call a “band.” There really aren’t many artists that are truly solo, and being one of them was never something I really aspired to.

One big thing I personally get out of it is a sense community and camaraderie. It feels good to be a part of a team. But more to the point, this is not a project that is reflective of the talents of just one person. Even from the outset, it was clear that some form of collaboration was always going to be part of the deal, so it was important to me that the project be structured in a way that was reflective of that, and would accommodate some evolution through time.

TrunkSpace: We talked briefly at the start of the conversation about finding a balance between the creative and the commercial. What are your long-term hopes for the band? What is the best best case scenario for The Great Palumbo?
Campbell: Of course I want this project to be rewarding, profitable, etc., for everybody involved, but ultimately that was always going to be a secondary goal.

The best case scenario is that the music we are making connects with tons of people all over the world, and we get to travel to share that music with them and see the impact of what we are doing in real life. That connection is where it all needs to start and what it all need to come back to.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Campbell: Being an independent artist is funny because sometimes it feels like 95 percent of what you have to do to get your project off the ground doesn’t have much to do with your art. It’s mostly repetitive, administrative, financial, logistical, etc. Some people love the nuts and bolts of this world, but for me, it’s all worth it for the magic that happens the other five percent of the time. Late nights in the studio, creating something from nothing, breathing life into ideas and feeling how those ideas connect everybody in the room. This will always be the highlight for me.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Campbell: Oh for sure. If the information is available, I want it in my brain.

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Sit and Spin

Amyl and The Sniffers’ Self-Titled Debut

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Artist: Amyl and The Sniffers

Album: Amyl and The Sniffers

Label: ATO Records

Reason We’re Cranking It: Perfectly positioned somewhere between the grit of ’70s punk and the grime of early Guns N’ Roses, Amyl and The Sniffers’ full-length debut packs a pace-the-room punch, forcing the listener to his or feet for an anytime, anywhere magical mosh pit moment. We only wish that we hadn’t been holding a fresh cup of coffee when we started listening to the album because now we have a mess to clean up.

What The Album Tells Us About Them: Like many great rock ‘n’ roll bands to come before them, part of the appeal of the Aussie entertainers is the can’t-look-away-charisma of its lead singer. Amy Taylor is a stick of dynamite who could explode at any moment, so don’t look away or you might miss the best part. That’s not something you can fake, and whatever that “it” factor is, she has more than enough to go around.

Track Stuck On Repeat: Not only is “Gacked On Anger” our favorite name for a song, but it’s also our favorite track off of the debut. Clocking in at a brisk 1:49, you can listen to it a half-dozen times through in the same time it takes you to clean up one cup of spilled coffee. (See above.)

And that means…

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Wingman Wednesday

Mark Gagliardi

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Photo By: Jenn KL

No one is more excited for the new action/adventure series “Blood & Treasure” than star Mark Gagliardi’s inner 10 year old. A lover of art who also enjoys spectacle, the “Drunk History” and “The Thrilling Adventure Hour” alumni jokes that he makes career decisions based on what his younger self would think is cool, but when you’re standing in an Egyptian tomb rigged with booby traps, anyone who grew up watching Indiana Jones crack his whip in exotic locales would be hard pressed not to want to jump in a time machine and tell themselves that dreams really do come true.

We recently sat down with Gagliardi to discuss quotingThe Princess Bride,” the need for the who, and why he likes to tell people he’s starring in a new adventure series for the Columbia Broadcasting System.

TrunkSpace: As a performer, do you feel pressure for a project to succeed? Does any of that come back on you with something like “Blood & Treasure,” which premiered last night?
Gagliardi: Yeah, of course it does. Everything I do, I want people to enjoy. I’m not going to create a show and be like, “Oh, man, people are going to hate this one.” I want it to go really well. I’m nervous about it because it’s a big show. It’s a big deal for me personally because this is my first time having a part this size on a show, and I personally love the show. It’s a show that I would watch anyway were I not involved. It’s very much up my alley, so I just hope people enjoy it as much as we did making it. We had a blast making it, and the whole time, we’re assuming people will love this show, because obviously we love having a great time, and we all love each other. We’re traveling all over and having this amazing experience, so hopefully that translates.

TrunkSpace: If it’s a show that you would watch if you weren’t involved, what would 10-year-old Mark think about you starring on a show like this?
Gagliardi: Man, I’ve thought about this so many times. First of all, one of my favorite movies is Disney’s “The Kid,” where Bruce Willis meets Spencer Breslin, who plays little kid Bruce Willis, directed by John Turteltaub… who directed “National Treasure,” so it all comes full circle.

I try to make my decisions based on whether or not 10-year-old me would think I was doing something cool and want to give me a high five. So, I think that 10-year-old me would see this show and get really pumped that 40-year-old me was in it.

TrunkSpace: And that’s coming from a guy who’s already voiced Batman, so 10year-old you has already handed out some high fives!
Gagliardi: Yes! Oh, man, I called 10-year-old me when I got the Batman job, too. He was really pumped.

That was a fun job. That was one of those where the first thing my voiceover agent said to me when she called me was, “Here, sit down. I have something cool to tell you.” So the fact that she knew, “Holy crap, it’s Batman!” was really awesome.

TrunkSpace: With so much content circulating today on so many different platforms, do you think a network like CBS feels less pressure for something to become a hit right out of the gates? Does “Blood & Treasure” have more wiggle room to build an audience now than it would have had 20 years ago?
Gagliardi: Yeah, I think that we have the benefit of a huge, major network, and a great lead-in, the “NCIS” season finale. So, yeah, I think there are so many screens now, and there is so much content now that you have a million choices of what to watch and where to watch, and there is some amazing television that is doing amazing things. “Game of Thrones” broke a million barriers. “Fleabag” now is a new one that is breaking all these molds. There are a lot of really great “break the mold” television happening, and I think one thing that CBS does really, really well is what we are doing… big, old school television for as broad an audience as we can make it for.

I like referring to them not as modern day CBS, and it annoys my friends, but I call it The Columbia Broadcasting System. That sounds so big and old timey to me. “I’m doing a new adventure program on the Columbia Broadcasting System.” It sounds like, “Hey, everybody, gather around your radios.” There’s something that feels very communal and old timey and family and big about the show.

TrunkSpace: And it also has that summer movie feel to it. With that said, is it no accident that it’s getting its run now in the summertime?
Gagliardi: No accident at all. We actually talked a lot about it while we were making the show that what we were making is a summertime adventure. It’s the book that you read on the beach that’s a little lighter. Maybe you’re on vacation, and you’re going to splurge and get the big meal instead of having the healthy salad. We knew going in. One of our great directors on the show – Steve Boyum is his name – and after every take – I’m paraphrasing because I don’t know if you swear in your publication – but after any great take, he would always say, “That’s the big movie stuff right there!” And that’s how we knew he had gotten the take that he wanted.

TrunkSpace: You’re kicking off the Summer TV season!
Gagliardi: Yeah. I like the idea that we’re beginning the summer movie season with a television show. That feels fun and groovy and subversive. Because any screen can show you anything now. I watch movies on an iPad before I go to sleep, so you can find a giant blockbuster popcorn story anywhere. I think that’s great. I think it’s fun.

Summer movies have always been my favorite season. I’m a huge Marvel MCU fan. I loved the “Lord of the Rings.” I love any big, epic thing. There’s a reason that I’ll go and see whatever giant, splashy Broadway show is opening because I love art, but I also love a little spectacle.

TrunkSpace: Well, and going back to 10-year-old Mark, that’s the kind of stuff that first draws us in.
Gagliardi: Exactly. There’s a reason that people cosplay at ComiCon in the costumes from the epic, fun, over-the-top stories. And those are the stories that always sang to me as a kid, and still do as an adult.

And one thing I love about the show is everybody involved in this show was high-fiving 10-year-old themselves in some way. We live in a world on this show where Indiana Jones movies exist, and Marvel movies exist, and we quote them, and we all watch them, and these are characters that nerd out for them. One of my most fun experiences reading a script for this was when I’m reading a script for an episode, and at one point, I quote the “Princess Bride.” I was like, “Oh, my God, I am quoting the Princess Bride. This is the greatest adventure show of all time.” 10-year-old me got a high five.

Pictured Mark Gagliardi as Father Chuck of the CBS series BLOOD & TREASURE scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Kharen Hill / CBS © 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TrunkSpace: The most memorable thing for the viewer is always the end product, but for those involved it must go beyond that. What are you going to carry with you through the rest of your life and career from your “Blood & Treasure” experience?
Gagliardi: Two things. The smaller of the two being that… I’ve always wanted to be an actor since I was 5, from watching the behind the scenes footage for “Temple of Doom” and watching behind the scenes footage for “Never Say Never Again” when I was a really little kid, and seeing these giant movie sets with all the big cameras and lights and everything. I thought, “Oh, that’s what being an actor is,” which I, of course, have learned through the years that it’s not quite just that. So that’s why I say that’s the smaller of the two for me… walking into a set that is a huge Egyptian tomb with missing sarcophagi… that is evocative and fun. They’re blasting smoke, and there’s guys one ropes rigging booby traps. It’s this crazy thing.

But to me, I think the more important is… I had an acting teacher once tell me, “A story is a who, a what, and a where, but it’s always about the who.” That’s the heart of your story. And I think that this show in particular, for me as an actor, getting to meet and work with everybody who is playing at this level, and is still the kindest people in the world… we all just fell in love with the work and each other while we were doing this. I think that’s something for a TV show, too. I think we can fill it with explosions, but unless the audience cares who gets blown up, it doesn’t matter. So I think that what’s going to sustain the show is some really, fun, cool characters that I’d love to hang out with in real life.

TrunkSpace: This is a business with no certainties. With that said, sometimes the things we don’t plan for are the ones that are the game changers. What has been the biggest surprise of your career?
Gagliardi: I think there have been so many experiences in my career that I didn’t know at the time that they were going to send me on a trajectory. At first, this was an audition. I audition for a lot of different things. This is one I was particularly excited about because I read the script and loved it. So I really stuck to my gut on this audition.

Several years ago… things had started off small that just got progressively bigger, and I had no idea that that would happen… I did a little show at M Bar in 2005 called “The Thrilling Adventure Hour” that became this juggernaut podcast over the course of 10 years. We had movie stars guest starring in it. We were sold out, and we were adding shows, and we went on tour to Australia and New Zealand. So that was a huge thing that changed my life forever.

And another one, of course, was sitting on my couch, getting drunk and telling a story with Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner, and now that sitting on the couch, getting drunk, telling a story has become “Drunk History,” and is in its sixth season on Comedy Central. So that just is mind blowing to me that that became a thing.

Blood & Treasure” airs Tuesdays on CBS.

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Trunk Stubs

WWE SmackDown LIVE

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Photo Courtesy of WWE.com

Event: WWE SmackDown LIVE

City Attended: Providence, RI

Venue: Dunkin’ Donuts Center

Concert Date: 05-22-19

The Reason We Went: As children of the 1980s, we grew up with the understanding that if we trained, ate our vitamins, said our prayers and believed in ourselves that we could grow up as strong and raspy-voiced as Hulk Hogan. We idolized The Rockers, snapped into Slim Jims because Randy “Macho Man” Savage suggested it and loved to hate heel managers like Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. And now, 30+ years later, our kids are enjoying the same experience as they pour themselves into every pulled punch of current roster stars like The New Day, Becky “The Man” Lynch and Braun Strowman. It’s a shared experience that we can have with our kids that transcends generations, and in a world that is moving at the speed of light, it’s nice to have something that, while much different than the WWF that we enjoyed at their age, is essentially operating under the same set of rules.

What We Thought: With a big focus on character returns, including The New Day’s Big E and newly-formed heel Dolph Ziggler, the night offered a lot of surprises for those who don’t follow Internet spoilers. There was plenty of foreshadowing, including a main event between Roman Reigns and Elias, that further set the table for Reigns versus Shane McMahon at the upcoming WWE SuperShowdown on Friday June 7. Becky Lynch induced the most raucous pop from the crowd as the Rhode Islanders in attendance went nuts for the charismatic bad girl with good intentions. All in all, it was a night that both the young (our kids) and the old (us) could enjoy.

Bonus Takeaway: Live WWE events are a blast, but it can be jarring to watch the matches without the color commentary, which in our opinion, always enhances the action by way of propelling the narrative forward or injecting a dose of humor. Why not stream that commentary through the stadium speakers or at least offer up a way for those in attendance to listen live from their mobile devices? Hell, if we willingly paid $6.00 for a bottle of water, we’d be happy to pay for a chance to further enhance the experience.

And that’s why we’re giving this show…

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Sit and Spin

Skating Polly’s Flyer

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Artist: Skating Polly

Song Title: “Flyer”

Single Sentence Singles Review: You’re never left having to take a flyer on new music from this Oklahoma trio because every song they deliver is grunge-pop goodness, including this most recent offering which is more infectious than peak flu season.

Beyond The Track: The band will be performing at the Vans Warped Tour 25th Anniversary Show in California alongside All-American Rejects, Good Charlotte and Quicksand. Check out their full upcoming tour dates here.

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Opening Act

Cricket Blue

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Photo By: Monika Rivard

Artist: Cricket Blue

Socials: Twitter/Instagram/Facebook

Hometown: Burlington, VT

TrunkSpace: Your latest album, “Serotinalia,” dropped May 10. As artists, is it difficult relinquishing control over your work and releasing it into the world? Does it ever feel overwhelming?
Heaberlin: Honestly, it feels nice. We started working on the album a year and eight months before the release (and started writing the songs years before that in some cases) and it feels great to be out of the stage where we would listen to the same song we’d heard a thousand times saying, “At two minutes in, did I say the word ‘garbage’ too strangely? Should we swap it out?” or “I know I thought the trumpet was too quiet last listen through but now I think it’s too loud.” It feels good to think of the album as a whole, finished thing, rather than under a microscope. It’s much better that way! And we’re so happy that people are interacting with the album now in their own ways.

TrunkSpace: The title of the album is so interesting, and we wonder, are these songs – the messages and meanings behind them – a response to the environment we’re currently living in? Would these songs – COULD these songs – exist if the album was conceived in a different time or place?
Heaberlin: That is such a great question! I mean, the title of the album and the fires in some of the songs invoke the idea of forest fires, and it just so happens that the country was devastated by forest fires as we were recording. If people want to connect those things we certainly welcome them to, though that was not our original intention. But I think our subject matter is more about individuals’ emotional landscapes than physical landscapes or even political landscapes. I won’t speak for Taylor, but a lot of the characters I put into my songs on this album are struggling with validation; they are women who are able to be validated only by things that make them feel unsafe or sad or angry or guilty. I certainly couldn’t have written about that subject outside of the cultural climate we’re in, but I think that’s a paradox women have lived with for a long time culturally, and it’s going to be very slow to correct. Like, I’m pretty sure it’s too late for my generation. But I hope, you know, 20 years down the line that young women will find that idea un-illuminating, and sort of heavy-handed. So in that way, I hope it is a product of its time.

TrunkSpace: The album is a literary journey in song form and was inspired by the likes of Alice Munro and Dylan Thomas. With that said, do you view each song as a chapter of the story, or is each song it’s own book?
Heaberlin: When we were writing the songs they were each their own individual “books” as you say. When we started placing them together and choosing our song order, there were certain resonances with some songs, and it started to be fun to view them as different perspectives on the same situation. For instance, if you think of “June” and “Psalm” being about the same breakup with different degrees of intimacy and self-denial happening in the narration, they layer together nicely – like the narrator is going through the various stages of grief. My favorite pairing of songs, though, is “Corn King” into “Little Grays.” “Corn King” is all about the inevitable demise of John Barleycorn when he is burned alive as a sacrifice to his lover, the deified earth. He dies to become the soil that holds and nourishes her new seeds, and there’s this implication that he’s erased again and again every year and he’s just as naive every cycle and the whole thing is quite tragic. “Little Grays” is a song I wrote about feeling elated and moved upon finding a favorite pair of scissors I thought I had lost when my house (actually) caught on fire. But if I pretend that the fire in “Little Grays” is the same fire that’s in “Corn King,” it’s an alternate ending to “Corn King” from an outside perspective that says: “Look, you’re okay! That was scary and I am so glad you’re alive! I love you!” It’s nice because the two songs contrast each other musically: “Corn King” is the most complicated song and arrangement on the album and it’s 12 minutes long. “Little Grays” I wrote basically in one sitting, it has no arrangement or even harmonies and it’s not even two minutes long.

TrunkSpace: The amazing thing about music and art in general is that the same piece of work can mean different things to different people. Does that also apply to both of you? Does this album and the work you both put into it mean something different for each of you? Does it represent different things?
Smith: Inevitably, I’m sure we each connect with songs the other person has written in a way that’s different from how the writer does. We do spend a fair amount of time trying to explain to each other where we’re coming from with something we’ve written, both in terms of what we were feeling or thinking about when we wrote the song, and what we’re hoping the song accomplishes for the listener. A lot of that happens while we’re revising, so often I’ll come to Laura and say something like, “Here’s what this line means, or what I want it to mean, but does it actually succeed at that?” And then she’ll think about it and give some suggestion that’s better! So sometimes she ends up putting in the meaning that I was trying to. Or sometimes, after talking about it, we’ll decide it’s better to go off in some totally different direction. So, in short: we do try to align our visions, and sometimes that’s because we’ve collaborated closely on some aspect of a song, but no doubt even in the final product Laura and I have different interpretations of and connections to the songs.

For listeners, I think the songs likely “mean” as many different things as people who listen. Actually, I often don’t think about what a song “means” as much as what a song “does,” since “meaning” kind of sounds like it should be unitary, but there’s nothing strange to me about thinking, “The song does this thing to Alice, and this other thing to Bob.” The magic isn’t in the music itself, right? The spark goes off at the intersection of the song and the listener.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Heaberlin: We are really happy with the album, and so pleased to have gotten to work with so many amazing people on it. (Beehive Productions for the recording, the additional musicians we brought in are all amazing, our album artwork artist, etc.) One thing I think we are both really proud of is that we really did so much of it ourselves. We wrote all of the arrangements for the other instruments ourselves, and Jeff from Beehive allowed us to do a lot of our own editing on the album. We had the luxury of time, which helps a lot, but I would say that our level of involvement in every stage of the process is pretty unusual. And we learned so much along the way!

TrunkSpace: We talk with musicians all of the time about how albums become chapters of their lives – yearbooks that look back on their lives and spotlight moments in time. With that being said, what do you think “Serotinalia” will mean for you 10, 20 or 30 years from now?
Heaberlin: Wow, well that is hard to predict. I think that the release of “Serotinalia” marks the end of our early career. We put out two EPs before this and we did a fair amount of touring, but I hope that this new album will mark the beginning of the meat of things for us.

TrunkSpace: You both met in an a cappella group. Was it creative love at first sight? Did you instantly click on an artistic level?
Heaberlin: Well, yes! We absolutely did! We were both doing our own songwriting thing at the time, and so that was an immediate bond between us. I think our friendship was truly sealed one evening a couple weeks after I had joined the group (Taylor was a semester ahead of me at school) when we were at some fun party our a cappella group was throwing and Taylor and I found ourselves in a different room from everyone else discussing what Jeff Mangum’s best lyrics were on “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.” We each music directed the group at various times, and when we were recording our a cappella album I was music director and Taylor was general manager, so you could say “Magic House” by the Middlebury Mamajamas was truly the first album we put out together.

Photo By: Monika Rivard

TrunkSpace: Has where you’re based – Vermont – directly influenced your music and writing? Does a setting infiltrate the process, even on an organic level?
Smith: There is something kind of stuck-out-of-time of parts of Vermont. There’s plenty of opportunities to wander and encounter long stretches of unbroken forest or farmland, old graveyards, tiny towns with one store, weird idiosyncratic local landmarks. I do think it’s fertile ground to get the imagination humming, especially for the sorts of characters and situations that pop up on this album. A few of our songs do (in our minds) take place at literal places near where we live, though we don’t name them outright.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your musical career thus far?
Smith: Honestly, I think it’s probably putting this record out! But we’ve already talked a bit about that. Perhaps more specifically: I think getting to write for, practice with, and perform with the incredible musicians who recorded with us on “Serotinalia,” especially our string trio, has been a very long-time dream come true. Laura and I enjoy playing as a duo very much, but while I’m writing a song I often sort of hear a ghost version of the True Arrangement in my head — little countermelodies in the background, how the bass end would enter or fall or go silent, the timbre of a trumpet on this riff or whatever. Having a little “orchestra” this time around, and so getting to learn how to translate the vague sonic impressions I had into something concrete that actually sounds good and is playable was really new and challenging but also incredibly rewarding, and we really lucked out to have found players who just totally nail it.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Smith: Oh, probably not! Feeling like our goals are either a) hopeless or b) a foregone conclusion both seem like they’d sap some of the adventure out of the thing. That space of not knowing what to do or what will happen next is where you’re able to have fun.

Serotinalia” is available now.

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Musical Mondaze

The Woolly Bushmen’s In Shambles

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Artist: The Woolly Bushmen

Album: In Shambles

Label: Pig Baby Records

Reason We’re Cranking It: Channeling the vibe of Providence, Rhode Island’s The Amazing Crowns, who themselves were tapping into the rockabilly roots of commercial music, The Woolly Bushmen bring shorefront swagger to their third album, never relenting even when they’re slowing it down for an Everly Brothers-like transition on “Fine,” which is actually better than fine, it’s great.

What The Album Tells Us About Them: You can genuinely feel the appreciation that the Florida-born band exhibits for what came before them. Their blend of rockabilly, pop and soul is like a love letter to the maturation and evolution of music. Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Kinks all lit the torch and The Woolly Bushmen are just carrying it forward.

Track Stuck On Repeat: Wax up your surfboard and get ready to hit the waves because when “Paid” starts playing, your mind is going to be struck with a beach blanket bonanza of coconut oil memories. Lather it up!

And that means…

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Trunk Stubs

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

JohnWick3_TrunkStubs

Title: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Rated: R

Genre: Action/Thriller

Release Date: May 17, 2019

Run Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon

Director: Chad Stahelski

Writers: Derek Kolstad (Story and Screenplay), Shay Hatten (Screenplay), Chris Collins (Screenplay), Marc Abrams (Screenplay)

Reason We’re Watching It: The first two installments of “John Wick” were nothing short of cinematic action masterpieces. It’s a simple plot, but it’s done so well and with such a likeable cast of characters that you can’t help but overlook their murderous ways and root for them like they’re your hometown team. So, with that in mind, you can bet that we will be it the front row of every “John Wick” installment ready to root, root, root for the Mr. Wick team.

What It’s All About: “Parabellum” picks up immediately where “John Wick 2” left off. Mr. Wick has become excommunicado with a $14 million bounty on his head as a result of killing a member of The High Table in The Continental hotel. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way that weave a narrative tapestry, as well as amazing fight sequences and even glimpses into John Wick’s upbringing and training.

Whoah! Rewind That!: There were so many great fight scenes it’s hard to pick one moment, but it was pretty great to see Charon (Lance Reddick) offer up his concierge services in ways we have not seen before in the “John Wick” films.

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: Ian McShane will inform you of this in the film, but “Parabellum” is from the Latin phrase: “Si vis pacem, para bellum,” which means, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” It is also another name for the 9mm handgun cartridge.

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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Musical Mondaze

Jacob Miller

JacobMillerFeatured

Prior to entering the singer/songwriter arena, Jacob Miller was writing mostly jazz and blues songs. His genre transition wasn’t only a creative change of direction, but also an emotional necessity. Using the experience as a way to push forward through a particularly difficult time in his personal life, the Wisconsin-born musician’s goal was to create music that was authentic and honest, and given the end result – the dazzlingly-affecting “This New Home” – he achieved his objective.

We recently sat down with Miller to discuss opening the time capsule, learning to not second-guess himself, and how Aunt Rosie put him on his musical path.

TrunkSpace: Your debut album, “This New Home,” is due to drop on June 6. What kind of emotions are you juggling with as you gear up to release these songs into the world?
Miller: Kind of a mixed bag. It’s a bit surreal to work on something so diligently for a year and a half and then be in the mental space where you’re just ready to let it loose into the world. It certainly feels like a time capsule from a very specific handful of months in my life when I was writing the record in early 2018.

TrunkSpace: There’s so much music out there… most of which is accessible in a click or two. Can that be an overwhelming thought when you consider how crowded the landscape is?
Miller: I would say that overwhelming feeling comes and goes. With digital streaming and social media, etc., it can leave an artist with this sinking feeling that their material will be overlooked. But honestly, I write music because it’s what I love to do and if the songs can resonate with even a small group, I’ll consider that a win.

TrunkSpace: Talk to us a little bit about the title of the album and how it came to be. Is the “Home” a physical place or more of an emotional state of mind?
Miller: “This New Home” was the decided album title pretty much from the writing process of this collection of songs. The period in which I wrote them saw me through a big transitional phase in life; having gotten out of a long-term relationship and also disbanding a musical group that I had led for seven years. Quite a lot of change, and definitely more of a state of mind than a physical place.

TrunkSpace: What did you set out to accomplish with the album when you first set sights on bringing it to life, and now that it’s officially wrapped, do you feel like you have put a check mark in all of the boxes that you had originally hoped for?
Miller: The writing and recording of this album was again, very transitional for me. Before pursuing solo music, I was writing mostly jazz and blues songs. I wanted to try something very different, that was coming from the most authentic and honest place possible. These songs became tools that gave me strength to carry on during some pretty tough times.

My biggest goal was to write music that wasn’t pandering or adhering to some formula, but rather to create an album that felt sincere.

TrunkSpace: For the listener, the end result is always the most memorable aspect of an album… the physical music. But for you, what are some of the memories in bringing “This New Home” together that you’ll carry with you through the rest of your life and career?
Miller: The making of this album was definitely a memorable experience. I recorded basically the entire thing at my friend Charlie’s house in SE Portland. He has a grand piano in the living room, a drum set in the basement, etc. I found myself for days just alone in the house tracking and reworking arrangements. It gave me time and space to just fuck around, which made for a much more relaxed recording process than having done it in a studio.

I should mention that I did spend a handful of days with good friend and engineer, Ryan Oxford (Y La Bamba, Like A Villian, etc.), at Sound and Color Therapy Studios in NE Portland for some overdubs and various additions to the songs. It was a pleasure working with Ryan on the songs.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Miller: I think I’m most proud of unabashedly trying something completely different than I’ve done before – musically. I love singer/songwriter music and the nuances that surround it. This album has been an outlet for me to try new things and not second-guess myself in the process.

TrunkSpace: Where did your journey with music begin? At what point did you decide to pursue it further than a hobby?
Miller: I grew up in Eden, WI (pop. 400) and sang in the church choir growing up. I’m not at all religious, but it was a good place to be exposed to music and music history. My Aunt Rosie who led the choir gave me a guitar when I was 12, and things just escalated from there.

I played in bands throughout my school years, then moved to Portland, OR when I was 19. I didn’t move to PDX with the intention of pursuing music professionally, but more for a change of scenery. A few years into traveling and on-and-off living in PDX found me in a place where I was taking music more seriously and it has become a pretty big part of my life. The act of emotional expression through music, paired with the community that surrounds it is something real beautiful.

Photo By: Ryan Oxford

TrunkSpace: You’ve written and performed in bands. How does the solo experience differ for you? Is it apples to oranges or more like apples to… more apples? Is the process the same, only with less minds in the mix?
Miller: I’ve done both and doing the solo thing has been a real treat. I love playing music with others; that shared experience and communicating together through sound is special. But after leading a six-piece band for seven+ years, steering the solo ship has been a nice reprieve. And it’s also allowed me to do and play exactly what I’d like to without compromise, which feels very respective to my own artistic process. It’s been a pleasant switch overall.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your musical career thus far?
Miller: The highlights seem to vary! I’ve played Portland’s Keller Auditorium at a Ted Talk for 2500+ people a few years back, which was an incredible and simultaneously strange feeling. The big stuff is I assume what most people expect to hear, but I think my favorite experience that comes to mind is a house show I played in the Ravenswood neighborhood in Chicago, IL last fall. It was this elongated living room filled to the brim with about 60+ people. Pin drop silence.

A great joy I have is sharing what the songs I write are about, and telling those stories. At this particular house show, the audience was so respectful and receptive. It felt like we shared something.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Miller: I don’t think I would, I’ll let that unveil itself over time. If I did see what the future had brought me, I feel like I’d keep asking myself how I got there or what I should have done differently. For the time being I am trying to enjoy every day and be appreciative for the things I do have – musically and otherwise.

This New Home” is available June 6.

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Sit and Spin

Frankie Lee’s Stillwater

FrankieLeeFeaturedReview

Artist: Frankie Lee

Album: Stillwater

Label: River Valley Records

Reason We’re Cranking It: We can’t keep stressing what an incredible year 2019 has been for music. Week after week, album after album, we’re amazed and moved by the art being created across all genres, but without question Lee’s sophomore effort has been the most memorable. If digital recordings could be worn down by continuous play, our copy of “Stillwater” would be nothing more than a sonic blob by now.

What The Album Tells Us About Him: “I write music for adults, or at least for people who’ve gotten over most of their childhood and angst,” Lee said in a recent interview with TrunkSpace. That quote sums up our gut reaction when we first listened to “Stillwater.” As we continuously fall further and further outside of the desired demographic that those in power aim for when greenlighting commercial art – film, television, music, etc – this is an album that we relate to on multiple levels. As an artist Lee may make music for a general assortment of people, but it feels like it was created specifically for us. That’s not something that is easy to replicate.

Track Stuck On Repeat: Naming one song as our favorite is impossible to do because we’ve only ever listened to “Stillwater” as a complete collection. Sure, some tracks are better than others, but even those we’d deem ‘weaker’ are still stronger than those songs found on the albums of other artists. Therefore, “Play All” is our chosen method of repeat.

And that means…

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