Fathom Lane’s Michael Ferrier (right) with Ashleigh Still (left) - photo submitted
CenterStage MN: Fathom Lane to perform at Reif Center September 21
Web posted September 12, 2017
Minneapolis based Fathom Lane will perform at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids on Thursday September 21 at 7:30 pm.
The concert is part of the KAXE Centerstage Minnesota concert series.
After producing two critically acclaimed albums Fathom Lane received international attention for their wonderfully indefinable sound. Songwriter Michael Ferrier cites classic touchstones such as The Velvet Underground, Tom Petty, Gram Parson’s “Cosmic American Music”, and the Laurel Canyon songwriters, but even with these influences Fathom Lane manages a contemporary sound.
The blend of Ferrier’s steady and simple tenor with fellow singer Ashleigh Still’s more mellifluous soul is a main feature of the rich sound Fathom Lane brews; the band invite their listeners in and then delight them with audio surprises.
The band’s third full length album “Asilomar” was released in May of 2017.
“Asilomar” in Spanish means “asylum by the sea.” Ferrier explains: “I liked the double meaning of the word 'asylum’, which can mean a safe and welcoming place, but the word also can have scary connotations due to its association with insanity. It kind of encapsulated the last few years of life for us. It’s been crazy, and in all senses of the word, from positive to gut-punchingly negative.”
Asilomar is also the name of a beach in Northern California. It was there that, in the wake of a painful divorce, Ferrier was inspired by the surfers doing what they loved for ostensibly no reason other than joy, and decided to return to making pop music.
The sound of Asilomar takes Fathom Lane in exciting new directions. The band is already known for their indefinable blend of alt rock/alt country/alt folk - Seven Magazine recently enthused “Fathom Lane's sound never settles into any one genre. Bouncing from countrified swing to balladic picking, the band can go through an entire history lesson of popular music in one song. Yet despite drawing from such a diverse palette, you do not notice the difference in these disparate elements so much as you appreciate that they are different facets of the larger gem.”
And now with Asilomar, owing largely to the addition of master guitarist Matt Patrick, Fathom Lane adds even more facets to their sound, pushing further into ambient music, otherworldly contemporized psychedelia, and British folk. The band also boasts a revamped, more rock-oriented rhythm section with Paul Boblett on bass and Alex Young on drums.
Already acclaimed for compelling cover versions of wellknown tunes (Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” among them), Ferrier also contributes a surprisingly haunting arrangement of John Denver’s seemingly shopworn “Take Me Home Country Roads” which casts the song in a completely different light, and showcases the beautifully effortless blend of the group’s two main voices, Michael Ferrier and Ashleigh Still.
Of the cover, Ferrier recalls, “I was assigned the song, against my will, in a way. I was in a songwriter night and we had to learn and perform versions of our first ‘favorite’ song that wasn’t a children’s song. Despite the un-cool factor, I had to admit that ‘Country Roads’ was that song for me. So, in order to actually perform it in front of an audience, I had to deep dive into it and make it into something that I could really love again. I found and tried to give voice to a narrator who was perhaps a lot less happy about returning home to West Virginia.”
Other album highlights include the shimmering string arrangements on three tracks by Laurels String Quartet, an accordion solo on “Zero” by the incomparable John Mark Nelson, Ashleigh Still’s first lead vocal on a Fathom Lane album on the song “The Great Magnificent,” and Ferrier’s insightful and poetic lyrics, which reward repeat listeners.
The band has been playing throughout Minnesota in support of Asilomar, and recently was chosen to represent Minnesota with a Canadian performance, as part of 89.3 The Current's Local Music Exchange. The band also recorded an interview/performance at MPR studios in St. Paul with the Laurel String Quartet. A video of the performance can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88Hqc7lc8yY
Tickets for the Reif Center performance are available at their box office or online https://www.reifcenter.org
The Reif Center is located at 720 NW Conifer Drive in Grand Rapids.
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