THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
03rd April, 2014 0
Wiretree may be the best kept music secret outside of Austin, Texas.
The group’s power pop sound wrestles with an Americana folk spirit that provokes some of the finest tunesmith work coming out of the Lonestar state in many years. Led by Kevin Peroni who has been fine-honing his craft since initial Tascam 4-track demos back in 1993, Wiretree exits as a quartet, yet swims in Peroni’s own deep end of creation.
Formed in 2005 when Peroni was still the sole visionary, it was the need to perform live which brought the band together. His output on the debut release Bouldin in 2007, catapult the Wiretree brand into an Indy spectrum with its high praise and popularity. Peroni taught his wife and former Michigander Rachel Miller the bass lines and eventually drafted drummer Daniel Blanchard and lead guitarist Joshua Kaplain to round out the group off of Craigslist. Other than writing and recording the debut himself, Peroni continues to handle acoustic guitar and vocals, fronting the group.
Luck released in 2009 was followed by Make Up in 2011, which Peroni describes as the first real “full band album, recorded live and with few overdubs.” In 2013 Wiretree released its most recent album, Get Up, in which Peroni went back into the ‘bedroom approach’ and comfortably recorded much himself. A few months after, Peroni and Miller welcomed their son Ellis into the world this past November.
With Miller born in Saginaw, the couple is visiting Michigan over Easter and also will be performing at Bemo’s electrically Friday, April 18, at 9 pm, opening for Bryan Rombalski and Three Worlds, as well as acoustically Saturday April 19, at Thunderbrew Coffee in Saginaw around 6 pm.
“We left Michigan when I was five, but I still have lots of family here,” said Miller. “My dad lives in Cheboygan, aunts, uncle, cousins in Midland. We make it back at least once a year.
“I met Kevin in Austin twelve and a half years ago. It was a whirlwind courtship. (We) Met in October and by March we were eloping to Scotland. We just celebrated twelve years of marriage this past March.”
Peroni’s vision as a musician was something Miller more than embraced, helping turn Wiretree into an Independent touring machine, making rounds in both China and Europe, including local stints performing at Austin City Limits and the South-By-Southwest music festival (SXSW) where they found themselves hanging out in a car once with Jason Lytle of Granddady singing ELO songs together.
“It's funny, Rachel and I had our boy in November of last year and we played a show in December,” said Peroni. “We also played a couple shows for SXSW and are still booking a show every two months or so. I think we'll slow down a bit playing out, but we're on a mission to have the boy adapt to our crazy world as much as possible.”
“In China, we truly felt like rock stars,” said Miller. “We played to some of our biggest audiences there and they ate us up. Cute little Asian girls were asking for our autographs and pictures with us. We were all on cloud nine! Spain was also an amazing trip for us. We played the Loop festival in Granada and rocked the pants off that crowd too. It was so great to feel loved. You don't always feel that in your home town so much.”
“Spain was probably our favorite because of the people,” added Peroni. “Spaniards really love our kind of music, and you can tell. China is up there as well, so much to see, so foreign to us. (We) Played shows with thousands of people in the audience.”
Touring has afforded the band a chance to rub shoulders with some of their contemporary musical heroes and inspirations.
“In China we played alongside Travis (of the UK),” remembered Peroni. “They're one my favorite bands and (I) was pretty starstruck to see them in the flesh, much less playing a festival with them. We've opened up for Young the Giant (before they made it big), as well as Bettie Serveert, We Were Promised Jetpacks, The Soft Pack, The Walkmen, Quiet Company and many more.”
“I really enjoyed sharing the stage with Kelley Deal (of the Breeders) and her new project R Ring,” added Miller. “She is such an amazing talent and so approachable. (I) Loved it!”
Wiretree has been self-driven since their early days and it has been an experience for the band to bring the band as far as it has come through its own success.
“It's becoming easier and easier to do it without a label nowadays,” said Peroni. “I mainly use CD Baby for digital/physical distribution. On top of that I individually submit the music to Pandora, Songza and other streaming sites. The big advantage of not being a label is keeping every cent of the profits. It's a good time to be a DIY musician, however there's a lot more bands out there because of it. It's harder to get noticed.”
As both Peroni and Miller bring Ellis to Michigan for his first visit as well as Wiretree’s first performances here, the year ahead is wide open for the outlook of the group.
“We're still booking shows throughout the year and I'm still submitting to festivals here and there,” said Peroni. “If something great comes along we'll do it and take the kiddo with us. I also have two new songs that need to be recorded with the band in the studio.”
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THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)