Sam Evian, John Vanderslice

(((folkYEAH!))) Presents

Sam Evian

John Vanderslice

Meernaa

Fri · July 20, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$15.00

This event is all ages

Sam Evian
Sam Evian
You, Forever

As it has been said: no matter where you go, there you are. With his new album You, Forever, Sam Evian, the project of New York-based musician, songwriter, and producer Sam Owens, is here to add some eternity to that sentiment.

“This is you, forever,” he says. “It’s about accepting that you are responsible for you, that you’re in charge of your actions. Everything you do affects others and yourself, so, no matter what you choose to do, be there and learn from it.”

It’s a mantra that powers self-starter Owens, a producer and sound engineer by trade who entered the scene with his debut Sam Evian full-length, Premium, in the fall of 2016. The notion takes on a dual meaning that is echoed across You,Forever.

“There’s a ton of romance on the record,” he says. “Maybe it’s all romance.”

You, Forever is Owens’s first foray into a more soul-baring sensibility and places the artist directly in the sightlines and heartlines of his listeners. The album (as well as 2017’s “Need You,” a collaboration with the multi-hyphenate musician Chris Cohen) was written on the heels of his experience touring Premium with his band and was recorded across the latter half of last year. The tours—which included opening shows for bands like Whitney, Teenage Fanclub, Luna, Nick Hakim and Lucius—taught him much about feel and interaction. Further fueled by a desire to escape from the glow of screens and to embrace a sense of limitation, he quickly developed a new set of instrumental songs written for a band rather than just himself and recorded them on a Tascam four-track cassette recorder in his parents’ house in North Carolina.

“Just like most people, my recording studio day job had me staring at a computer eight hours a day,” he says. “I just needed to get away from the glowing rectangle. The only way to do that was to work on tape. The four-track is so limiting; you’re forced to get only the bones of the song down. You can’t do any overdubs, so it was fun to work on that with the experience of the live band behind me. And something about playing my family’s instruments in the garage where I grew up spurred a set of songs that became the new record.”

Inspired by these limiting techniques, Owens borrowed an eight-track reel-to-reel tape recorder from a friend, rented a house in upstate New York, and took his band – Brian Betancourt (bass), Austin Vaughn (drums), Adam Brisbin (guitar), and Hannah Cohen (backup vocals) – there to record the new album in July of 2017. Focusing on instrumental grooves and the vibe he had achieved on the original four-track recordings, Owens found the process so enlightening he decided to up the ante yet again by banning tuning pedals from the house.

“Tuning pedals make it so easy to sound good together, so when you eliminate them it takes everything back to the ’60s, which is when all my favorite records were born,” he says. “It makes everything more questionable, weird, and unruly in a really simple way.”

Dreamy album opener “IDGAF” explores the notion of embracing one’s passions and pursuing one’s goals no matter the impositions in their path. On one hand a subtle stand against the current political climate and on another a call to be responsible, Owens calls it a romantic song that embodies his act of self-mixing his record: “I had to put myself aside and let the music happen.”

“Health Machine” is a crunchy, slow-burning but deliberate stomper glowing with warm electric guitar noodling, saxophone wailing, and Owens’s reverb-laden lyrics that he says detail an abstract version of how he relates to his own physical form. “It’s about the unattainable health that I would like to imagine for myself on tour. The line ‘We slither out on a Tuesday feeling tired and hopeless’ is such a hilarious picture: four people in a minivan slithering out of Atlanta, Georgia, stopping at a CVS and getting a bunch of Zicam. Health is your job if you’re touring as a musician, although it’s a job I don’t do so well.”

“Country” is a fleet, nimble driving song written after Owens and his girlfriend (Hannah Cohen, who also sings throughout the album) took a cross-country road trip and encountered what they perceived to be a dust storm in rural Nevada. “For a hundred miles we didn’t see a person or even a tree, then all of a sudden this giant dust cloud appeared which turned out to be ten cowboys on horses lassoing cows. It was the most real thing I’ve ever seen.” In fact, Owens wrote every song on the album with the act of driving-while-listening in mind, and says many of the lyrics came together following that life-changing road trip—the only time he has ever driven across America without anyone waiting on him to show up for a soundcheck. But despite the allure of the transient life, his heart belongs to one place.

“The record is about romance, and about my love for living in New York and trying to separate myself from any idea I had previously of living in New York,” he says. “I’ve kind of designed my own world there.”

Whether behind the wheel in the dust bowls of America, navigating the bustle of his adopted home, playing festival stages with rock legends, or getting back to basics in his parents’ garage, no matter where Sam Evian goes, there he is…forever.
John Vanderslice
John Vanderslice
John Vanderslice has released 10 records with Dead Oceans, Barsuk, and Polyvinyl. He owns Tiny Telephone recording in San Francisco and Oakland and has recorded and produced the Mountain Goats, Cherry Glazerr, Grandaddy, and Brothers Comatose. He is working on a new record due out next spring.
Meernaa
Meernaa
Meernaa is Carly Bond’s beautiful, freaky dream. When you listen to her songs, you have the feeling of walking alone in the woods, sometimes spooked and sometimes elated. The group is comprised of Carly Bond (guitar and vocals), Rob Shelton (keys), Andrew Maguire (drums) and Doug Stuart (bass). The Oakland-based Meernaa have a gift for balancing intimate songs with immersive psychedelic arrangements. Meernaa’s debut EP Strange Life (out 6/8/18 on Native Cat) is no exception, building on the framework they have previously established on a series of singles with even more depth and complexity.

When not working on their own music, members of Meernaa work as engineers and session musicians at John Vanderslice’s renowned Tiny Telephone Studios, and their vast knowledge of audio production has worked its way into Strange Life as well. Lead single "Good Luck” is built on a foundation inspired by the melodies of Muddy Waters. Through repetitive guitar lines and a plaintive mantra the song is driven into the present in a chorus of glittering synths. "Wildest Eyes," another standout track, was on the verge of being scrapped in the studio before finding life through funky bass lines, poignant percussion and a 70’s soul-inspired production.

Woven through each one of these songs is Bond’s transfixing voice; what starts as an amorous croon can transform into a full eruption. In the title track “Strange Life” there is a theme, she explains,“a longing for truth above all else and the frustration that comes with not having it-- in relationships with others, with oneself, and the conundrum of just being alive;” her emotive, elastic melodies and tone are perfectly suited to tackle those complexities.

Meernaa’s Strange Life EP is expansive and arresting; the group is able to create a thick and moody backdrop that takes the listener through moments of catharsis just as easily as moments of spirited playfulness.
Venue Information:
The Chapel
777 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA, 94110
http://www.thechapelsf.com