If lyrics were the passengers in a parade, the songs would certainly be the vehicles …
Tomorrow night’s (4/14) lineup at the White Eagle Saloon is an intriguing one, as Nashville-via-Athens, GA rock band White Violet headlines a bill that also features the alt country stylings of Geronimo Getty and a solo set from Sam Fowles of The Parson Red Heads.
I lived in the musical mecca that is Athens, GA for about nine years and worked in the music scene there for the majority of that time, and as such I’m very familiar with Nate Nelson’s White Violet project. Known as a songwriter’s songwriter, Nelson and company churn out breezy and seemingly effortless rock that sounds a bit like what I’d imagine a Southern version Real Estate would might sound like. The band’s debut Hiding, Mingling was basically a Nelson solo record, and last year’s Stay Lost showed White Violet becoming more of a collaborative project and saw the band flesh out their sound a bit more.
On this jaunt up the West Coast, White Violet will be preforming a stripped down set with an analog drum machine backing up guitarist Brad Morgan and Nelson on baritone guitar. I spoke briefly with Nelson while he was driving through Big Sur about his excitement about touring the West Coast, the decision to leave Athens and the future of the project:
Donovan Farley: What inspired the move to Nashville? Those of us that have lived there obviously love Athens so much it’s hard to leave at times…
Nate Nelson: My decision to leave Athens was an obvious one. It was hard, but that was half the reason I left. I grew up there, and in that time I learned everything I know about playing and producing music. I give Athens all the credit I have to give. It just came to a point that I needed new surroundings, challenges and struggles. Stay Lost is entirely about the idea of redefining my home, because I felt like Athens and I had reached a mutual decision to move on. My parents, best friends, and lots of inspiration is still there. It will always be a part of my life.
DF: How did recording outside of Athens help shape the sound of Stay Lost? It seems like that atmosphere would really help sharpen your focus.
NN: Recording outside of Athens took away all the distractions of social lives, jobs and our own beds. It was two weeks of us all in the studio listening to each other play and create. Scott Solter (Spoon, Centro-Matic, Superchunk) is an amazing producer and human. He and I were entirely on the same page the whole time, which allowed for the songs to expand in ways we never thought possible.
DF: Is this the band’s first time out West and/or in Portland?
NN: I have spend a good amount of time up and down the west coast. But, this is the first time White Violet has officially played Portland. We’re very excited! The West Coast is easily the most impressive and inspiring part of the US to me. The people seem much more relaxed and open to seeing bands and hearing songs. Art seems to be much more ingrained into the economy out here.
DF: What are White Violet’s plans for the next record/near future? Since Stay Lost showed an evolution in sound to more of a full band experience, I’m interested to hear the next step.
NN: We’re going to keep touring through the summer and fall. Brad (guitar) and I have been writing a lot over the last few months, and through that have stumbled into the sound and vibe that we want for the next record. Playing live can easily feel stuffy, so we’ve been working hard to evolve our songs into much more fun and engaging experience for an audience and us. That’s definitely something we’re trying to translate with the new songs, and record.
Between White Violet, Getty Geronimo’s interesting new record and Sam Fowles, $8 buys you quite a bit of quality music Tuesday night. Buy tickets right here, and get out there and support live music.