OMNISOUL

Musical Inspirations?

I guess the sonic element of music is what got me hooked in the first place. Music always made me feel good. Then when I started creating my own music I fell in love with things as simple as six steel strings on a guitar making sound through vibration. So my biggest inspiration probably comes from sound first and inspiration through life experience second. That is probably why most of my songs start as musical pieces on a guitar with no lyrics. The guitar parts lend themselves towards certain moods which help create the lyrics and melody.

Favorite Cd's songs, or musicians?

Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, Counting Crows (old)...My list always changes but these are the ones that currently come to mind.

Has music helped you through a difficult time in your life?

I was 19 when my parents got divorced. I didn't see it coming at all. This was the same time in my life I picked up a guitar and decided to become a song writer. My guitar was my best friend for a long time.

Derek Fuhrmann/Omnisoul

BIO

Derek Fuhrmann - vocals/guitar
Shawn Manigly - guitar
Josh Berger - bass
Tyler Ingersoll - drums
Jamie Orlando - keyboards

How does one of the year's most refreshing pop/rock acts end up with legions of fans -- as well as a heavily-played track on radio that's also been featured on a network TV series and in a forthcoming summer movie blockbuster - all before the release of its hotly-anticipated debut album? Years of practice.

Three years, to be exact.

Omnisoul, a five-man outfit creating a sound that is new, refreshing and completely unique, is poised to explode into the national consciousness in much the same way it has in its native Delaware. That's where local radio jumped all over Waiting (Save Your Life), leading to its eventual inclusion on CBS' Joan of Arcadia and in the impending Fantastic Four film.

Most bands take at least three years just to solidify its lineup, but most bands don't have the driving force that is Omnisoul frontman and singer/songwriter Derek Fuhrmann.
"I really hadn't thought much about a music career until high school," he recalls, "and even then I only discovered I could sing by accident. I wanted to be an actor, and I was told that to do that, I had to learn how to sing. I wanted to see if that was possible, and people started telling me I was good."

Entering college at the University of Delaware exposed Fuhrmann's world to classic rock acts like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin as well as guitar-centric outfits like Radiohead and the Dave Matthews Band. By his sophomore year he'd begun playing guitar, "and I almost immediately started writing my own songs. I decided that I wanted to surround myself with people who were more advanced musically than I was, since I'd only been playing guitar for a couple of months."

In an au courant twist from the usual way of choosing band members, Furhmann went online and started doing profile searches for "University of Delaware students, piano" and so on, collecting an immediate database of potential partners. "That way I was able to cherry-pick the type of band I wanted to create," he explains, "although Jamie was the only one who actually was willing to meet with me and join. Everybody else," he chuckles, "kind of ignored my instant messages."

"Jamie" is keyboardist Jamie Orlando, a self-taught musician who'd played in everything from jazz to techno bands before that fateful first meeting with Fuhrmann. "When I first met Derek he had only been playing guitar for a couple of months - I wasn't sure what to think, but then he started singing and I realized that this was something I should stick with."

"I didn't even know how to read sheet music at that point," Fuhrmann adds, "and here he was with a book of jazz standards. Instead I asked him to improvise over my guitar playing and vocals. I figured if he didn't want to do that, he was not the guy for me, but he went along with it. As a result I've learned a lot from Jamie."

In the meantime, fellow Delaware students Josh Berger (bass) and Tyler Ingersoll (drums) had been playing together in a number of bands. "I'd met Tyler during our freshman year, when I was still playing guitar," Berger recalls. "He came over to my place one day and we just played all day and into the night. The police finally came and shut us down."

The pair was eventually drafted into Omnisoul, to be joined a short time afterwards by guitarist Shawn Manigly. He had sung with Fuhrmann for about three years in a campus a capella group before auditioning for Omnisoul. "I was really the one to introduce electric guitar into the band," he says. "Our sound now has become much more rock-oriented and edgier."

Realizing that a fiercely held passion for music might not be enough, Fuhrmann and Orlando took music management courses. "That helped give the band direction," says Ingersoll. "We would come up with a list of goals every six months, and we were usually able to check each of them off at the end of that six months. Today the list is a little shorter, since we've done so much over such a short period of time."

One of those goals was to build a fan base of at least 25 people who'd come to every show - not counting people the group already knew. "We thought that would be impossible, but we blew that number out of the water pretty quickly," Fuhrmann says.

Winning a Battle of the Bands during what was its first real gig gave the group even more motivation. "It's about the music first - about it being a great deal of fun and being something we're passionate about," Fuhrmann says. "But there's also the business aspect - which we take seriously too. We know that if we want to achieve our goals and build a long career, we have to take it seriously."

As the principal songwriter, Fuhrmann says he never lacks for ideas: "It's working off memories a lot of the time, which can be very inspiring." He then presents songs to the group, who each strive to put their own stamp on the song.

Their breakthrough tune Waiting (Save Your Life) evolved from a soulful idea that Fuhrmann had started to play solo, between band sets. "It had a very different feel then, but Josh came up to me and said, 'That's a hit song.'" The group has since recorded two versions of it, including one on a self-distributed album called Happy Outside, and the latest version, to be included on the debut Wind-up album and on the Fantastic Four soundtrack.

As Omnisoul heads into the studio to work on its album - with a team that includes producer Gregg Wattenberg (Five For Fighting) and engineer Greg Gordon (Jet, Oasis) - its five members are filled with awe at the possibilities, as well as confidence that their quick maturation will come across. "Music is a language, and we want to touch as many people as possible with it," says Berger. "Other than that, our goal is simple: world domination." He adds with a laugh: "I'm only slightly kidding."

"A lot of the songs I write deal with experiences, either personal or otherwise," adds Furhmann. "I hope that people will relate to the album…to me, that's the greatest thing.  It's what makes playing music so rewarding."
www.omnisoul.com
www.myspace.com/omnisoul

PAT MCGEE BAND

Photo by David Bergman

* Your musical inspirations?

Musical Inspirations are rooted in Classic Rock, the big ones, Beatles, Led
Zep, Springsteen, ACDC, Van Halen, Tom Petty, U2

* Favorite CD's, songs, or musicians?

My Favorite CD's...old stuff, Sgt Peppers, Born To Run, Rubber Soul,
Led Zep II, Unforgettable Fire, Running on Empty.

New stuff records by Travis, Switchfoot, Death Cab, Keane, Silverchair

* Has music helped you thru a difficult time in your life?

Music has always been there for me and I hope anything that I ever write
helps someone in some positive way. I can't say that it really helped me,
well, maybe one time in 6th grade when I got dumped, a single tear went
 down my cheek listening to Bryan Adams' "Heaven".

BIO

On its fourth album, Save Me, the Pat McGee Band come full circle, returning to the independent music roots of the group's formation almost a decade ago. As one of the nation's hardest-working live acts, playing more than 250 dates, annually, the band has earned a loyal following nationwide, based on musicianship and carefully crafted songs that don't cater to short-lived trends and whims of the marketplace.

After spending the first part of the decade signed to a major label, the Pat McGee Band has now partnered with Kirtland Records. "They have the attitude of a major, though technically, they're an indie," Pat says. "It's an amped-up version of what we started with. When we signed our last contract, I was hesitant for four years. Now, it feels good again."

Pat first began playing guitar in his home state of Virginia after seeing a neighbor smash an electric guitar in the middle of the street. With a little help from his brother, including advice not to play left-handed like him, Pat was on his way. He honed his skills playing locally, released an independent solo album then, formed the Pat McGee Band in Richmond in 1996.

With a few changes in players along the way – though most key members have been in it for the long haul – the group built a following step by step, year after year. "For us it was get in the van and tour, win over a crowd one person at a time, " Pat says. "We're a working band on the road all the time, without having had a hit song, and not one of us has had a day job since high school."

With Save Me, the group has captured the essence of its concert performances. Pat candidly admits, "In the early days especially, people would say 'the records are great, but the live show is electrifying.' We sort of got sick of hearing that; at the end of the day we wanted them to be as impressed with our record and feel like we've finally made something where we have to actually better our live show."

The first single and video, "Must Have Been Love," is a song for all ages, from young lovers to couples celebrating golden anniversaries. And it's not just about romance. "It can be about an amazing job, a love for your kids, any kind of relationship," Pat says.

Perhaps the two most intensely passionate tracks are "Don't Give Up" and "You And I." "Don't Give Up" came to Pat onstage as he watched from the wings while his band mates traded solos. He quickly grabbed his tour manager's cell phone to sing the song in his head on voice mail. "It's not something I sat down in a hotel room to write. The song literally just fell from the sky," he says. In contrast, it was the struggle of a close friend trying to maintain a failing relationship that inspired "You And I."

These rich songs filled with shifting meanings afford the band the flexibility to play them in varied arrangements, which is why the album also features five acoustic tracks that include scaled-down, yet equally powerful versions of "Don't Give Up" and "You And I," as well as a lightly stepping take of the cheery "Annabel."

"I grew up loving classic rock, the stuff my parents pounded in my head, from Motown to the Beatles. But there's also all the stuff in the '70s and 80s – punk, new wave, and even bands like Metallica. I'm just a fan of music that moves people in a live setting and a recorded setting. At the end of the day, when you get up on that stage, you want to feel like you put on the best show you possibly could."
www.patmcgeeband.com

SALSA CELTICA

 * Your musical inspirations? 

My musical inspiration is quite broad from earlier in my life punk and
ska to then funk and hip hop to then jazz and folk music to then Salsa,
Cumbia, Son e.t.c.  

*   Favorite CD's, songs, or musicians?

Some of my favourite music includes almost anything by Tito Puente, old
discos fuentes Cumbia recordings, an old Benny More album I bought in
Cuba, The Clash, De La Soul, Toto La Momposina, Fused by Michael
McGoldrick, Shoogleniftey albums, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Fania
Allstars, Afro Cuban Allstars, Grace Jones , Skatalites, Moving Hearts,
  The Undertones,  thats probably enough for now

* Has music helped you thru a difficult time in your life?

 yes always the good times and the bad

Toby

BIO

On January 1st 2004 Salsa Celtica were the first artists to perform on BBC Radio 3's live transmission from Lock 17 (formerly Dingwalls) in London. This is the culmination on BBC Radio 3's annual World Music Day and a high profile start to an important year for Salsa Celtica.

Three weeks later on Friday January 23rd Salsa Celtica performed in the Strathclyde Suite of Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall in front of an audience of industry and Scottish fans as part of the Celtic Connections Festival. This was a debut performance for new material developed during autumn/winter 2003. Salsa Celtica's performance at Celtic Connections was later broadcast on television on BBC4 on Friday 5th March. Further blurring the boundaries between salsa and Celtic sounds and daring to tear down the walls that define musical genres with a irrepressible energy and an inventiveness that always leaves audiences gaping, in 2004 Salsa Celtica are ready to declare their intent to take their place as one of the foremost World Music bands of the UK.

Salsa Celtica's remarkable success story began in 1995 in the bars and clubs of Edinburgh and Glasgow. They were an immediate hit with the locals and the newly arrived Hispanic community. After recording their debut album

'Monstruos y Demonios' (Monsters and Demons), Salsa Celtica took their music around the village halls of Scotland: from Skye to Mull, Iona to Barra, Lewis to Orkney, Ullapool and everywhere in between.

After this they saved up their pennies and headed off to Cuba to hang out with salsa groups, including Son14 and Sonora La Calle, and generally soak up Afro-Cuban sounds in Havana and Santiago de Cuba. Swapping whisky for rum they were asked to join in at musical/religious "bembe" gatherings and were invited to worship the Afro Cuban "orichas". After acquiring new tastes and skills they returned to Scotland to sign to Scottish label Greentrax and to release two albums 'The Great Scottish Latin Adventure' and there current album 'El Agua De La Vida'.

Following on from a sensational breakthrough in 2003 when 'El Agua De La Vida' reached number 5 on the World Music Chart of Europe and number 24 in the end of year round-up 2003 World Music Chart for Europe and was also their first album released in the US on Compass Records, 2004 saw the band take their unique fusion of Latin and Celtic sounds on tour in the UK for the first time. The nineteen date tour highlight was a sold out headline performance at the UK's premier World Music venue, Queen Elizabeth Hall on London's South Bank on Friday April 16th as part of the La Linea Festival, which saw the entire audience on their feet throughout most of the show and much dancing in the aisles.

In support of their UK tour, Salsa Celtica re-released the album El Agua De La Vida on March 1st 2004. The album gained a prestigious Top Of The World recommendation in the UK's foremost World Music magazine Songlines.

'This is a tremendous album which further establishes this unique group as a dynamic force on the world scene.' Songlines

The album also achieved the paper's highest rating for its review in London's Evening Standard the week before their show at Queen Elizabeth Hall,

'Just what it says on the tin, a great Scottish salsa band that manages to combine the Cuban charanga sound of flute and fiddles with a Highland blend of flute fiddles and bagpipes…one style flows naturally into another and there is a fizzing instrumental musicianship. Live, they are a storm.' Evening Standard

During the tour the band were featured on BBC Radio 2's flagship folk programme The Mike Harding Show on April 7th. On April 4th The Andy Kershaw Show on BBC Radio 3 also broadcast a session and interview with the band, specially recorded at the BBC's Maida Vale Studios.

The UK tour was followed in the summer by a series of high profile festival dates including Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Dublin's Temple Bar Festival, Ghent's (Belguim) Pole Pole Festival, Northern Ireland's Celtic Fusion Festival and the National Theatre's Watch This Space Festival on London's South Bank.

In Autumn 2004 they will perform in front of 40,000 people as part of the prestigious BBC Proms In The Park in September and in November they have been chosen to close Belfast's Queen's Festival.

2004 has seen Salsa Celtica establish themselves as an important force in World Music in the UK and beyond, winning new fans and reaching a new level of profile and critical acclaim.
www.salsaceltica.com

NATHAN WILEY

My musical inspirations come from all over the place I guess, I grew up in
a musical family, so it was always around me all the time.

My favorite CD's, songs, or musicians...hmmm...that's a tricky one. There
are so many. I'm a big fan of Tom Waits, he definitely has never made a
bad record. Nighthawks at the Diner sticks out in my mind. I just like the
live feel. It's a very late night record. Favorite song would probably
changed from day to day...but I'm a big fan of Stardust. I just don't
think anything else has been written since that just works so well.

Has music helped you thru a difficult time in your life?

Yes...but I've never been without it in one way or another, so it's hard to say really.

Your thoughts on the connection between music and healing--

I'm sure on some level music is healing. I don't think about all that too much, I don't really want to know the science behind it. I know that I play and
write because I have to but for some reason, I've never really had to know
the reason why.

NATHAN WILEY BIO

After earning widespread critical acclaim for his debut album Bottom Dollar (Sonic 2002), singer-songwriter Nathan Wiley just released his much-anticipated follow-up album High Low (Sonic 2004) in September and already it has earned him four 2005 ECMA nominations for SOCAN Songwriter of the Year, Alternative Recording, Male Artist of the Year, and FACTOR Album of the Year.

High Low, recorded at Power Post in Charlottetown, PE and at The Sonic Temple in Halifax, NS, features 12 colorful, all-original tracks and offers a rich fusion of roots, pop, rock, and blues. The first single is title track "High Low".

"It’s been two years since the first album was released, so I am really looking forward to getting the new album out there and to giving people something different to listen to," says Wiley. "This album is more personal than the last one, where I disguised the more intimate aspects of my songs in my own ‘code’, yet it also has its fair share of storytelling as well. It’s a combination of both personal experiences and storytelling, sometimes even within one song."

Multi-instrumentalist Wiley maintains the same creative contribution in High Low as he did on his debut: in addition to co-designing his artwork and layout, he wrote, arranged, and produced all songs and played a bevy of instruments on the recording, including guitars (acoustic, electric, slide and lapsteel) bass, drums, percussion, and organ.

Also unwavering is the originality, texture, honesty and intelligence of Wiley’s music. His youth and congenial disposition belie the darker side of a truly old soul that reveals itself through the depth and breadth of the life experiences and characters, both good and bad, highlighted in his songs. The maturity and insight of his lyrics suggest someone possessing the wisdom of many more years under their belt; someone who has experienced life on both sides of the proverbial track. Simultaneously, and perhaps ironically, Wiley’s unforgettable melodies and infectious grooves create an engaging sound for the listener that is fresh and compelling.

"The sound on this album is more up-tempo, more upbeat," notes Wiley. "Prior to my first album, I never played my own material live and I think that experience and the confidence that came from doing that, contributed to this difference. Playing live changed my songwriting in that I envision more in terms of a full-band treatment of a song instead of from scratch."

For many live performances, Nathan solicits the help of his group The Big Time Spenders which features Dale Murray (formerly of The Guthries) on pedal steel and guitar, Mike Farrington on bass and Damien Moynihan on drums.

Wiley’s musical influences are drawn from a wide spectrum of artists and genres, most notably Tom Waits, Nick Lowe, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and also early jazz and blues performers like Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. Most of his songwriting usually occurs "with me locked in my music room," he says. "I just bought a piano, so that spurred the creative process and I actually wrote a couple of the songs on this album on that instead of the guitar this time."

Wiley is a big believer in his songs being open to interpretation to his listeners. "There’s not a right or a wrong way to try to figure them out," Wiley declares. "I just hope the songs speak to people in some way that is personal to them."

Although he hesitates to pigeon-hole any of the songs on High Low, they run the gamut from the title track, "about being up, down and everything in between"; the dark, mysterious "Bride on Fire"; the longing of "Hey Hey" and "wanting something you can’t have"; the upbeat groove of "Get Your Own" a "song about greed" and the "relationship songs" with-a-twist, "Old Familiar Things" and the lilting "Sentimental Fool".

The imagery-laden "Braggers" is about "being somewhere bizarre and seedy"; "I Am Seen", capturing someone’s "15 minutes of fame, their spot in the sun"; "Best That I Can Do" about "your day-to-day routine being interrupted by certain thoughts that pop into your head"; the melancholy "Movin’ On"; the "stand up and give it your best fight", "Fire Away", and the melodic "Last Of The Big Time Spenders" about "spending money, delusions of grandeur and glory days long past, glory days that perhaps never really existed."

Chosen by Billboard Magazine as one of Canada’s Top Ten CDs of 2002, Wiley’s debut Bottom Dollar was also nominated for Chart Magazine’s 2002 Golden Toque Award for Best Canadian Album. The emphasis track, "Bottom Dollar Baby" received airplay on Bravo! and charted on MuchMoreMusic’s Top Ten. Wiley was featured in Elle magazine’s "annual roundup of hot new musical talent set to sizzle in 2004" and heralded as "the next Tom Waits meets Leonard Cohen."

Wiley won Alternative Artist of the Year at the 2003 East Coast Music Association (ECMA) Awards. He was also nominated for Album of the Year, Male Artist of the Year and New Artist of the Year. In 2002, he was winner of CBC Radio’s "Definitely Not The Opera’s" ‘Big Break’ contest and was a finalist in CBC TV’s "Great Canadian Music Dream".

Wiley has shared the stage with such artists as Steve Earle, Sarah Harmer, Blue Rodeo, Ron Sexsmith, Gord Downie, The Skydiggers, Dan Bern, Kathleen Edwards, Danny Michel, Crush and Sarah Slean.

Experience the heart, soul, imagination and conviction of this very gifted artist.
www.nathanwiley.com
Nathan/Maple Music

BRINDLEY BROTHERS

photo by Bryn Barber

some musical inspirations:

bruce springsteen
coldplay
bruce cockburn
bob dylan
nick drake
stevie wonder
d'gary
the replacements

BIO

The already critically acclaimed Brindley Brothers do a lot together - working, living, writing, fighting - but the magic happens when they make music together.

Growing up in the New York City area, Luke and Daniel played in various bands and both graduated Phi Beta Kappa with music degrees. In early 2001, they released the acoustic album, How Faint the Whisper, under older brother Luke's name. The record was highly praised in such national magazines as Acoustic Guitar and Performing Songwriter. Soon after the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Brothers relocated to Washington D.C. and opened Jammin' Java, a 200-seat music venue with a full-fledged recording studio and music lesson school on-site.

Running the club has greatly impacted their musical growth. Every evening for two years, the Brothers watched regional and national acts performing on the Jammin' Java stage. Weºd be completely different musicians if we hadnºt had the experience of running this club together, says Daniel. "It's given us the chance to observe and pick apart the subtle things that separate a great band from a merely good one."

Though Jammin' Java is perhaps best known on the songwriter circuit, the brothers aimed their sites toward a different target on their unusually confident debut album, Playing With the Light. I think if we wanted to make an introspective, sensitive, singer/songwriter album, we could do that,  says Luke. And if we wanted to make an artsy, esoteric album, I think we could do that, too. But what weºre trying to do now is have fun. 

Bristling with hook-infested rock-and-roll and literate lyrics, Playing With the Light proudly displays the influence of Summerteeth-era Wilco, the subtly complex chord voicings of Paul Westerbergºs Replacements material and the alt-folk-rock bands like Big Star, The Wallflowers, and Tom Petty. Itºs a well-paced affair full of aggressive, energetic rockers ( Supernova, and the title track), catchy well- crafted mid-tempo tunes ( Roman Candle,  Crazy One ) and a quiet, pensive folk song that erupts midway through, builds a climax and then fades, leaving only a dreamy loop of beautifully droning backwards guitar (the album-closing, Breakdown ).

The response from critics and fans has been overwhelming. The Washington Post called Playing With the Light, "Magical &Near perfect...A pop/rock gem &A superb bid for any top ten list...An early contender for one of the best albums of 2004." In the studio, though they played most of the instruments them- selves, the Brindleys enlisted the help of a cast of local musicians, including Jared Bartlett, a young up-and-coming producer/engineer/guitarist (Last Train Home, The Grandsons, Ellis Paul, etc.) whose role as co-producer and engineer proved invaluable. The driving shuffle of Harder, Easier, Better is graced by the presence of Australian lap steel virtuoso Jeff Lang and veteran Jon Carroll (Mary Chapin Carpenter). I wanted this record to showcase more variety in instrumentation and style,  says Luke
.
www.brindleybrothers.com
CD Baby

Next Page

©Voices and Visions
 2003-2005