When The Silence Breaks you are left with new beginnings.
The debut CD from Sprout was just released in June, relieving fans that have waited a few years for fresh studio material since the band morphed out of Sprout and the Orange. Marking a new depth of sound and dynamic, the disc is well worth the long wait. No one was in doubt the CD would be good; in actuality, it is absolutely fantastic.
Sonically clever and undeniably a varied listen, with elements drawing upon multiple genres of music from a group that offers the full platter with complete experience and vibe, Sprout live as they play and play as they live. And they are Class A musicians.
From the opening track of 'Everything And In Between' to the closer, 'More' - some twelve songs later - they have given the listener a carnival ride into the depths of humanity with a dash of vaudeville thrown in for good measure. It is more than a CD and it is more than just a couple of guys playing music. When The Silence Breaks has the ability to touch the soul, make you laugh, make you think and with each listen, can grow upon you and within you.
Part of that is filtered through the work aesthetic the group has established. Quintessential guitarist/lead vocalist Aaron Johnson, keyboardist extraordinaire Justin Weisenbach, and the brilliant rhythm section one-two punch of brothers Matt (bass/vocals) and Steve Nyquist (drums/vocals) play music like they breath - it's a natural & life affirming process that has become second instinct.
Culling elements from their past, like Johnson's brother, ex-Orange vocalist Brian's lyrics for the songs Mule and Gevalia, as well as music and lyrics for Alibi, and original bassist Jeff (Cornpone) Schrems music and lyrics for The End Of Alchemy, they tie together the family quilt that the band has been stitching since its early days.
And what the band may not have at their disposal, they brought in via a few helping hands: Padraic 'Barefoot Mick' Ingle on harmonica and Patrick O'Dunnstein on violin, both of which add a textured layer and feel to the tracks Get Over You, Willow Stream, as well as the title track.
It's no secret that the Mid-Michigan area has always been a hotbed for talent, but for Sprout, When The Silence Breaks takes the cake as an artist's platter and a listener's gem, open to everyone and not stationary in any one direction.
Having kicked off the year with an all-star musician performance of The Band's Last Waltz at Pit & Balcony, they have morphed into a five-piece outfit, adding percussionist Mike Wardynski and have been hitting the tour trail as of late. Combined that with the new CD and multiple wins at the 2008 Review Awards, including Best Rock Songwriter & Best Male Rock Vocalist (Aaron Johnson), as well as Best Funk Band, which followed numerous nominations, their summer has been full-steam ahead.
The Review contacted keyboardist Justin Weisenbach to reflect on the past few months.
"When the Silence Breaks was started about three years ago," said the keyboard player. "It's recording was slowed due to the distance to the studio, the busy schedule of the band and its mates, and some blatant procrastination. The CD was recorded at Media Music in Coleman, MI. Chris Roach was a huge part of the recording process and helped a lot with production. Mike Lavolette also had a hand in the production and final mixing.
Were there more songs to choose from, or were these the only tracks recorded?
"This is all of the songs," said Weisenbach. "We went in there with a plethora of original music to choose from and just started recording what came to mind. When the Silence Breaks is what we ended up with."
"We have sold a few hundred within the first three weeks. We also have a few festivals this year that we are optimistic about and should do really well with this album. Our CD release show was spur of the moment and between that, coupled with our lack of advertising for it, we are happy to have as many gone as we do."
It sounds as if the band took its time to craft very 'personable' songs. At any time, did you intend to give it the 'warm' feeling or did it just happen?
"We really tried to capture our live feel in the music," he stated. "However, it is easy to get carried away with overdubs, which you definitely can't do on stage in the bars. As far as trying to pull warm feelings out, we really just went into the studio and did what we do. Our songs are constantly changing, so what might be faster and happier one time might be slower and funkier the next."
Looking ahead, what does Sprout have planned for the year with the CD release and shows?
"We are currently booking as many shows around Michigan as we can to finish out the year and promote the album. A mini tour around the Great Lakes is being booked for December. We are also getting our album out to college, public, and Internet radio stations, so watch out for Sprout on the radio. Other than that we are going to get back in the studio and start working on number two. Hopefully we can finish this one before 2010."
How do you feel about the Review Award wins?
"We appreciate being recognized."
Do you have any more dates planned for The Last Waltz?
"The Last Waltz was one of our favorite shows to do and we are grateful to all of the musicians that helped us put it on. As far as another Last Waltz, I think we only get one. Isn't that how those work?"
You can get a copy of When The Silence Breaks at all Sprout shows or contact them via their website at www.myspace.com/sproutfamily.
16th November, 2023
7th November, 2023