Ty-Alex, Happy Abandon, The Cabin Project
Mon, Oct 2 at 9pm
Over a short period of time, Tommy Alexander has emerged as a modern-age DIY trailblazing troubadour. When he was in his early twenties, the now 31-year-old songsmith had just dropped out of college, quit baseball and was sleeping on a friend's couch, working at a pizza shop. His parents bought him a Fender acoustic, and as he started writing songs and playing guitar, his life changed. Although the opportunity to play had presented itself earlier on in life, Alexander was comfortable with his relationship with music being just a listening relationship. Now, he discovered, he had something to say.
In 2009, Alexander traveled to the Northeast United States, landing in Vermont with only $100 and his Fender acoustic. Alexander recalls feeling pulled to the NE by his pre-California family roots. "The air is different out there. The food tastes different," he said. "I love New England." After settling in Burlington, Vermont, two years later, Tommy founded a non-profit artist collective: Jenke Arts. Jenke became a staple of the underground Vermont art scene and quickly grew into a community center, recording studio, and even boasted an after school program to teach inner city youth basic recording and videography. For those first two years in Vermont, Alexander slept on a couch in order to prioritize music and art. "Being able to play and write songs all day was my goal. If you don't have a job or a rent it seems the most possible way to accomplish this."
By 2014, Jenke was hosting over 100 donation-based classes a month and a handful of shows, many of which Alexander recorded for release as a steady stream of tapes, CDs and digital downloads. He spent much of his time recording traveling bands who did not have a demo to their name. Finding outside funding and allowing these bands to record demos for free helped them book shows and grow.
Alexander kept himself very busy running the studio as well as fronting his own musical endeavors: Quiet Lion, Agent Slacker, and Set Up City. By 2014, Quiet Lion had done some regional touring including one extensive tour that took them as far West as Chicago. At this point, Alexander fully realized his love for being a touring act. In 2015, It became clear to Tommy that it was time to leave the Queen City and the NE & relocate to Portland, OR where he could focus solely on writing, recording and touring.
After a year of solo touring, which included a 65-show national tour and multiple west coast runs, Alexander's music found its way to legendary songsmith Michael Mcdonald. Mcdonald invited him to open a couple shows that year. "What a trip that was. And my parents were very excited," Tommy reminisced. Tommy decided it was time to make a record. After 3 full lengths, two EPs under other band names and countless of recordings for other people, Alexander made a record for himself, calling it Old News.
Alexander recalls hoping the record would be a step towards forming a band. "The idea was that the album would manifest a band. I figured if I could get a more full, rounded out sound it would be easier to put a group together."
Old News, was produced by Mike Coykendall (M. Ward, Blitzen Trapper, She and Him, Bright Eyes) and features guest appearances by Robert Burger (Iron and Wine), Jay Cobb Anderson (Fruition) and Buddy Weeks (Sallie Ford). Old News combines groovy rock beats with traditional folk influences, mixing modern sounds with meaningful messages.
As touring progressed and the sound continued evolving from soft and folky to rock 'n rolling without losing sight of where he had started, a lineup solidified and Ty-Alex was formed in the winter of 2016. A modern-indie rock outfit with folk roots, Ty-Alex is Tommy Alexander, Adam Witkowski, Ian Wade, and Django Koenig.
The sound has been over and over again hailed unique and hard to pinpoint. Praised as infectious across the board, the music is palatable, powerful, and honest.
Ty-Alex released their debut EP, 'Lets Do This' in June of 2017.
"As a dynamic first statement, 'Heavy Lines' makes a case that Happy Abandon could break through to the big stages its idols occupy"
- Spencer Griffith, Indy Week
"If I had to pick one North Carolina band that I think could have a breakout year in 2016, it would be Happy Abandon."
- James Willamor, Croquet Records
"With traces of Mumford & Sons and Noah and the Whale, the five tracks blend orchestral touches and shoegaze influences into an EP that builds sonic goodness with each note. The band unleash strong songs, ethereal vibes and well crafted musical lines that mark a super strong debut."
- Ric Gordon, Floorshime Zipper Boots + Russian Winter Records
The Cabin Project is an orchestral indie pop band from the Portland whose sound stems from anthemic choruses, three-part harmonies, octave pedals, and string sections. The songs are musically expansive, yet retain an intimacy similar to that of The National, Bon Iver, Feist, and Warpaint.
Born in an attic studio lined with Douglas Fir, the band started as a project of Katie Sawicki, a former-folksinger from Brooklyn who became inspired by electric guitars, keys, synthesizers, and balancing all three onstage. After moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2008, Sawicki sought out musicians to collaborate with, leading her to musical partners Zanny Geffel, an orchestral drummer, rooted in jazz and percussion, with a preponderance for poetry and onstage mayhem and Rebekah Hanson, a PhD in viola recently turned onto delay and effects pedals, creating the band’s strings and bass section.
The Cabin Project released their second album, Heliotrope, this last October. The album came together after passing demos back and forth between coasts and collaborating with a variety of talented musicians from all over the country. The Cabin Project has worked hard to build the community of influences and collaborations that surround Heliotrope, and what results is a culminated sound that chimes earnest, reverent, and full of warmth. Their newest release, Sine, is an EP of songs taking the band’s indie rock sound to the next level. Currently, the band is recording their third full-length album, due to be released in Spring of 2016.