Over the last year I’ve managed to narrow the scope of this website to just music, specifically local music. Occasionally when I hear something that is truly exceptional, it doesn’t really matter to me where this music was made, I just need to tell you about it. That The Get Togethers album has some connection to the Northwest is even better.
Home As In Houston, the debut album from Nashville’s, The Get Togethers comes neatly packaged in a concept that is easily digested, twelve songs, each titled a different month of the year, in chronological order. It’s an intriguing concept, one that follows through in the execution of the musical content, and one that comes with a back story.
In 2007 when lead singer Bethany Frazier was 17, she had an affair with a female teacher at her High School, and as these stories often go, it didn’t end well. She up graduating early and fled to Austin, Texas to get away from the anguish back home. This is where Home As In Houston’s journey began. Yet it still took a severe car crash, relocation to Houston, and some chance meetings with musicians from Nashville before the ignition sparked and the engine shot to life.
As you can probably imagine the album’s twelve songs and corresponding titles, are each a month of the tumultuous year of 2007. In a way it almost separates the music from the titles, don’t expect every song to literally be about it’s corresponding month, or to contain a hackneyed chorus about September leaves, or the white snows of January. It’s really a visceral experience, imagine making a mixed tape with one song representing your emotional state for each month of the year.
I must confess that after reading the press release accompanying the album, I was expecting a dark and moody folk album, one full of desolation and loneliness. In actuality the album is just the opposite. I was surprised by how heavy and sharp-edged many of the albums songs were, this is really an emotional rock album.
Sonically, Home As In Houston, perfectly mimics a Bell Curve. January through.. Oh, we’ll call it mid-Spring, have a softer feel to them, certainly more folk/Americana, then somewhere around June to October the songs really pick up both in tempo and heaviness. There is a satisfying grittiness to these songs, distorted guitar that bleeds just outside the box, and thick drum beats that really pound your chest. The album closes out with November and December, a pair of softer, more contained numbers. December in particular just feels right, the mixture of instrumentation with the banjo under score, paints a very vivid portrait of genuine emotional moments.
It’s the louder more uptempo songs that Frazier’s voice is really at home, sliding through keys with ease, inhabiting qualities most singers could only hope for. April, is a perfect example of the range her voice can travel and how well it adds dimension to the music. On the softer songs like the albums opening track January, her voice is a little too dry and colorless. Those were the moments that felt less special, and more like typical indie folk-rock. Regardless, this album is full of great songs.
Aside from the compelling story that drives the albums concept, I was intrigued by Home As In Houston because demos for the album were recorded Studio0Four in Marysville Washington. Though the album was almost entirely re-recorded back in Nashville, some of the audio from these demos found their way onto the album. Surprisingly, with the exception of April, all the songs were written in Seattle.
I’ve been accused of giving too much credit to the influence by the force of nature that is the Pacific Northwest on an artists work, perhaps hearing things that aren’t there. Home As In Houston, might be the product of the American South, but there is an aural twinge of the influence from the PNW on this album, it lies just beneath the surface, but it runs through every song.
Though the story of Home As In Houston, spans twelve months in 2007, there are an additional five years of sweat and blood that went into its creation that are just as important if not more so. It took a long time for this album to reach our ears but it was well worth the wait.