Friday's Pick: Devotionals, Sean Hayes, Kacey Johansing
Two Gallants frontman Adam Stephens has been performing his solo material live for a while now -- his debut, We Live on Cliffs, is out Sept. 28 -- but Tyson Vogel has quietly snuck past his bandmate in getting new music on record shelves. Devotionals is the name of both Vogel's project and the album, which just came out and finds the drummer moving to the front with a guitar in service of gorgeous, mostly instrumental songs aided by great strings. "The guitar has always been an instrument of deep connection for me, but we have had a bit of a tumultuous history," he says. "There was a long time where it didn't allow me to play it. ... I would pick it up to feel/search a release, but felt this strange sense of estrangement. Then these songs started writing themselves, and I couldn't help it." With assistance from people like Anton (violin) and Lewis Patzner (cello) of Judgement Day and Honeycomb's Andrew Maguire (vibraphone), Vogel hooked up with ex-Film School and current Hot Fog drummer Donny Newenhouse at his Center of the Mile basement studio to complete Devotionals, which exposes the effects of being influenced by master guitarists like Blind Willie Johnson, John Fahey, and Carlos Montoya. "Regarding the recording process, I wanted it to be as anonymous and natural as possible," Vogel says. "The songs come from a place close to my heart -- they were my caretakers, another voice that felt perhaps more pure than my own." The album's record-release party takes place on a locals-only bill tonight at Bottom of the Hill, with Sean Hayes co-headlining and Kacey Johansing opening.