The Kelly boys have arrived. You may remember a former Fortnight upon which I introduced you to this young Charleston band that moved down here from upstate New York as teenagers. They have since slugged out a loyal following, and made a record with legendary producer Mitch Easter (REM, Ben Folds Five). Their sound has fully developed; rooted yet unique, with three siblings playing and singing together alongside childhood friend Shaun Rhodes on Bass. The album is called BE NICE, BE CAREFUL, and you can buy it here - https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/be-nice-be-careful/id558294987
This week's SONG OF THE FORTNIGHT, "Kernersville" features awesome bonus vocals from Vicki Peterson (Bangles, Continental Drifters) and Susan Cowsill (The Cowsills, Continental Drifters), as well as a cameo from last month's Fortnighter, Don Dixon.
How did your tour with K's Choice go?
The tour was amazing. Most nights were sold out, and the one or two that weren't were very close. More importantly, the crowds were really responsive and seemed to love our set. It was amazing to see K's Choice every night. They're one of our favorite bands so it was a huge thrill. I think the best part, though, was getting to hang with and get to know K's and their crew. I feel like we have some new friends! I personally bonded with them over our mutual love of Crowded House/Split Enz/other Neil Finn related projects. In fact, for the last two shows, we wound up doing Crowded House's "Weather With You" together at the end of our set, which was a highlight for us. I'd say that my favorite show was Portland. It was really special.
Tell us about working with Mitch Easter, and all the cool guitars you guys laid down on this album...
Working with Mitch (and our co-producer/engineer Ted Comerford) for this record was literally a dream come true. I'd written something like 40 songs in a year and a half, and when it came time to narrow it down and we had the final picks, we realized that Mitch would be the perfect guy for the record we wanted to make. He's always been a hero of ours. The process was really hands off and spontaneous, which according to Mitch was a lot like the 'Murmur' sessions. All basic tracking was done live and a lot of the overdubs and additional parts and flourishes were written and played on the spot, pretty much just putting ideas down as we went along.
The guitars we used on this record were amazing. Brendan and I both used Mitch's Rickenbacker 360 a lot. I played a ton of 12 string on this record, all on Mitch's fairly new Rick 360 12. There was also a really amazing Gretsch Peppermint Twist, which is super rare, that I played quite a bit. Usually I ran through a Matchless DC15 but I also used a vintage AC30 a good bit, which I remember particularly being fond of on a song called "Intentions", when I paired it with a vintage ES-330 that Mitch had. Instrument wise, though, we also used an old Danelectro electric sitar, a really amazing Guild S-60. Shaun mainly used Jazz basses through an Ampeg SVT rig but there's a vintage P-bass on a couple songs as well as a great Rickenbacker bass with flatwounds. We ran a lot of Brendan's heavier and fuzzier guitar parts through this unbelievable mid 1960s 50 watt Matamp (not sure of the model) and there were a bunch of other great amps. There was also a good deal of compression on the record, on both 6 and 12 string, mostly through a Janglebox Silver. The cool thing, again, was how spontaneous even something like finding tone was! We didn't plan ahead a whole lot, just sort of went with the flow.
You kids have really grown into a mature, powerful rock and roll band. What's it like now that you are actually living out the dream?
It seriously feels amazing to be doing this for a living. We've learned a lot since we started doing this 10 years ago, and I feel really lucky to have learned a lot of things the hard way at such a young age because its gotten us to where we are. We've totally evolved into the band we always wanted to be, and we've made the record we always wanted to make. Critics and listeners are really responding to us now thanks to this record, and people are buying it all over the world! We even just had to restock with our small Japanese distributor. It's little things like this that give us the drive to keep going. It feels great. Plus, because we've been doing this since we were kids none of us feel like we could ever do anything else. This is completely ingrained in us now. Music has actually become my life, which is pretty much the only thing I ever dreamed for myself.