Out of the Blue with The American Blues
I have seen The American Blues several times and finally was able to score a recording at their sold out CD release show at the Middle East Downstairs in March. “A Place I’ve Never Been” is one of the best local EP’s I’ve heard in years. It doesn’t sound local and this band is such a mystery to me and others in the local music scene that I felt like the need to be an investigative reporter to find out what this band is all about. Rooted in Americana with a little bit of Country-Pop this band has wrote an EP that defines their generation. The outfit is backed by a top notch band of brothers and musicians including the incredible lap steel work of Bobby Washburn. Co-Lead singers Thomas Whitehead and Bevin Vigneau are an amazing duo that keep the audience captivated with their out front stage presence and dead on vocals and harmonies.
HNL: There have been a lot of fans at your shows that actually don’t know you personally and are just always blown away by your performances including myself. Where are you all from and how and when was the band put together?
Bevin- First off, thank you! We officially became a band two years ago. I am originally from Burlington, MA, and the boys are from Franklin, MA. They were already in a band, and had been together for many years. It’s kind of funny because I found out about their band, while on a date. The guy told me to check out this band, so I did. There was, however, no second date, but I got a band out of it, so that’s good. I immediately became a fan, and after doing a little research, I found out that Thomas, the lead singer, was a producer/songwriter. I contacted him, and we started writing together. The first time we met, we wrote a song. That song was Promise Me. The boys were looking to try something new, and when they asked me to sing with them, I was more than happy to. We started writing, recording, playing gigs, and eventually became The American Blues.
HNL: How do you all approach the songwriting process? Do you each bring your own lyrics and ideas or is it more of a band approach?
Thomas- It’s sort of a mixture of the two. It usually begins with an idea…either a guitar riff or a lyric/melody. Then, we take it to the band to get some thoughts and see if it’s worth turning into something. You would probably be surprised just how many ideas never even make it past the first attempt.
HNL: When was your first gig and can you tell us a little but about how it went?
Bevin- Our first official gig was at The Middle East Upstairs, opening for Allison Weiss. I was so nervous. It was our first time as a band playing together, and learning how to play together live. Feeding off of eachother, blending, listening to eachother. The boys were already so used to playing together, and I was the new girl trying to fit in. Fortunately these guys are the best. They made me feel so comfortable. The second we got off stage, we were already looking forward to the next show and how to make it better.
HNL: Where did you record the ep and who produced it?
Bevin- We recorded the EP at Circles & Squares Studio in Natick, MA which happens to be owned by band members Thomas and Jon. We use this space to write and rehearse as well. It’s quite convenient.
HNL: The name of the EP is “A Place I’ve Never Been” and also is mentioned in the lead off track “A Love Song” is this about a place you all want to go to, is it a state of mind, a lover?
Thomas- Well, pretty much all three of those things. It’s a simple approach to wanting something but not knowing what yet. A bit abstract, but we think it is something everyone can relate to one way or another.
HNL To Bevin: In “Rearview” it seems like you are trying to escape from your past or a former companion but you say that you are “not running away” can you elaborate about the meaning of the song?
Bevin- This is funny because Thomas actually wrote this song. I came to the studio with the idea of wanting to write a roadtrip sounding song. I love going for long drives and listening to music, and for some reason I really wanted us to have a song that evoked that same feeling of driving, windows down, radio on, not a care in the world. Thomas sat down and wrote Rearview in about 15 minutes, and it was exactly what I was thinking and feeling. Personally, this is my favorite song on the EP.
HNL: “How High” is the most different track on the EP and a true duet can you tell me about your approach to recording the multiple layers in the mix?
Thomas- We sort of just wanted to write a very dynamic song that features the both of us but isn’t as… well, sad as the rest of the songs. We both wrote our own verses. It is hopeful in its nature and floats through the melody much like the lyrics. As far as the mix, we just did our best to make it sound like something we’d want to hear. As simple as that, I guess.
HNL: The chord progression vocal delivery in “Crazy” is dark but the lyrics have some hope in fixing a relationship that may have been over… is this a story about what could be or what happened to you Bevin?
Bevin- Actually, Thomas wrote this one too. He basically came into practice with the whole thing one day and told me I was singing it. It is very vocally dynamic and one of my favorites to sing live. To be quite honest, I don’t know exactly what it’s about. He tends to keep these things pretty close to the chest.
HNL: “Promise Me” is a show stopper. Can you elaborate about the writing process both musically and lyrically for this track… this song sounds familiar was there another artist that inspired this song?
As I said previously, Thomas and I wrote Promise Me the first time we met. I had some lyrics written down in a messy old notebook that I let him look through. He came across a verse that he liked, and we wrote off of it. Thomas then showed the other boys the song, and everyone wrote their own instrumental parts to it. All of us are inspired by different artists and sounds, but there wasn’t one particular artist that inspired the writing of Promise Me. We certainly are influenced by the artists we listen to, but we try to turn that into something new. We don’t really write with a genre in mind, we just write.
HNL: What is the future for “The American Blues” Any more big shows lined up? Recording? Touring?
We are in the process of booking shows for the summer, and we are playing in New York City, May 17th at The Bitter End. We have new material that we are in the process of recording, so a full length album is definitely on our radar. We like to challenge ourselves, and try new things musically. Our new songs have a bit of a different sound than those on our EP, but we never stray too far from what makes us the band that we are. We’d love to tour, and hope to do so after we finish the full length. We would like to thank HearNow Live for supporting us and other local acts. The Boston music scene is such a wonderful community, and we love being a part of it.
Uncarefully, Unedited by