Wild Child - Expectations Tour

DSP Shows

Wild Child - Expectations Tour

Beverly Stokes

Fri · March 3, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$12.00 - $15.00

Tickets at the Door

This event is 18 and over

Wild Child - Expectations Tour
Wild Child - Expectations Tour
Wild Child won't settle. For seven years now the Austin-based ensemble has carried its infectious blend of indie-pop and infectious melodies across the international music scene, charting viral hits and wrapping their arms around a diverse and dedicated fan base. But earlier this year when the band set out to make their fourth studio album, they found they had their hands full: After half a decade of maturation, the group had grown beyond its traditional writing and recording process.

“We had too many ideas for how we wanted to make this record” says Kelsey Wilson, the group’s lead vocalist and violinist. She shrugs. “So we said, ‘Why not just do all of them?’”

The group realized this offered an exciting opportunity to make a kind of record bands rarely get right: To take a new, multispectral approach to writing and recording that went beyond simply trying to engineer success. The band made a list of their favorite musicians who were also great producers in their own right — choosing ones they thought would shine a new and unique light on specific compositions — and then Wild Child set about chasing their album from studio to studio all over the world, never saying no to an idea.

The result — the band’s fourth album, Expectations — is Wild Child’s most creative, colorful and intellectually engaging album to date.

Now a seven-piece pop mini-orchestra (Wilson on violin and vocals; Alexander Beggins on ukulele and vocals; Sadie Wolfe on cello; Matt Bradshaw on keyboards, trumpet, and harmonica; Tom Myers on drums; Cody Ackors on guitar and trombone; and Tyler Osmond on bass), Wild Child formed in 2010 when the group's core duo of Wilson and Beggins wrote and released their first album, Pillow Talk.

Wild Child shaped their last record, Fools, in the shadows of more than one failed love, and Expectations, as the title suggests, is a continuation of that personal experience into an awakening. Wilson and Beggins, whose voices fit each other as naturally as any family act, pushed their boundaries as writers, drawing freely from the stories they've lived as well as the artists around the world that have inspired their growth. Their rate of output over that last year got them thinking differently about producing, focusing on one track at a time. “We’ve always focused on the record as a whole.  We wanted to think about each track as it’s own piece- but somehow it all fits together” Wilson says of the approach.

That route took them around the world — from Chris Walla's (Death Cab For Cutie) studio in Tromsø, Norway, where the Northern Lights are the brightest in the world, to a home-built warehouse studio on the outskirts of Philadelphia, where Dr. Dog's Scott McMicken picked up the bass and “joined the band for a week,” arranging harmonies and sharing living and recording space. Back in Wimberley, Texas, Matthew Logan Vasquez (Delta Spirit) set up a makeshift studio in Kelsey Wilson’s beloved childhood home — abandoned since the floods of 2015 — where they found the muses were eager to resurface. The group also tapped the talents of frequent tour mate Chris Boosahda (Shakey Graves), Atlantic Records recording artist Max Frost, and Grammy-winning producer Adrian Quesada (Groupo Fantasma, Brown Sabbath, Spanish Gold).

The result is a theater of possibilities, with arrangements that reflect the range of tastes of the producers, from scruffy lo-fi tape hiss, to smoothed out precision-cut electronic pop sounds. Smartly, the album avoids defining itself and kicks off with a child’s voice telling Alexander Beggins, "Don't think that way." The track that follows (called "Alex") is a hook-spangled opener which in its three breezy minutes builds from a single ukulele to a lush and playful arrangement reminiscent of Beirut.

The record almost immediately settles in to find the band at its most expansive. Songs like "My Town" and the deep-breathing "Eggshells" stretch the spaces between beats like a Chinese finger/time trap. They stop for more than one layover in Detroit, with "Back and Forth" evoking the horn charts of Arthur Conley and Jackie Wilson (or even Jens Lekman), and "Think It Over" throws an unexpected nod to Sly and the Family Stone.

The closing track, “Goodbye, Goodnight,” is also the first the group recorded, and the one they believe best epitomizes the journey of making this album. At first, Scott McMicken’s production caught the band off-guard: He slowed the waltz down to the tempo of a dirge — or a dirge with the levity of a waltz — and built the track up at an almost excruciatingly slow pace that in the end gives you what you want from it, but only gives it to you once. “At first we were all just trying to understand where he was coming from,” Wilson says with a laugh. “And it took us a while to get there, but the arrangement works out so well — with what the song is about and how we felt when we wrote it — that it ended up being one of my favorite songs on the record.”

And the more you listen to Expectations, the more the many worlds of this project begin to cohere around you. After all, one of the great joys of traveling the world is discovering surprising connections: A skyscraper in Barcelona reminds you of a spire in the Utah desert; the Northern Lights in the Norwegian sky look like an oil slick on the Philadelphia pavement. Expectations, an album which can by turns be bitter, wistful, angry, and flirtatious, is rich with these surprising rhymes across the record.

“We’re all growing and changing and learning new tricks,” Beggins says. Wilson responds, “Yeah, there’s no right or wrong way to do anything.” Her own record, though, is proof she’s wrong.
Beverly Stokes
The story of Beverly Stokes’ emergence as a powerful new voice in the American singer-songwriter tradition is marked first by a series of transformations. A Virginia native transplanted to Ithaca, NY. A classically trained trumpet player turned self-taught guitarist. A childhood musical diet of Mozart and Sondheim traded for the lyric-driven songwriting of Josh Ritter, Patty Griffin, and Gregory Alan Isakov. After this quick succession of changes, Stokes became known for her ability to transform noisy bars into listening rooms with songs that embody "an extraordinary mixture of poetry and observation, a gentle lyricism that seems to arise simply, organically from [her] experience and observation."

Her authentic approach quickly gained attention, including a 2014 songwriting residency with the Brush Creek Foundation of the Arts in Saratoga, Wyoming. But after several years of performing, Stokes still had no recorded music to show for her efforts. Songwriting had always been a solitary effort, and it was unclear whether recording should be any different. “For whatever reason,” Stokes writes, "I thought recording was something I was supposed to do by myself, at least the first time. It was something that was always on my list of things to do, but it wasn’t getting done. It was overwhelming and I didn’t know how to ask for help."

Fortunately, help swooped in anyway, in the form of musician and mentor Anna Coogan and pianist Brooks Miner. “Anna encouraged me to start playing with Brooks, and once we started rehearsing and performing together, I began to see my whole musical process in new ways.” After several months of rehearsals and shows, the project turned toward recording. “Anna forced the issue. She basically said that I needed to make a record, and if I couldn’t do it alone, we would do it together.” With Anna Coogan signed on as producer and the solid bones of an album arranged as a duo, the three traveled to Brooklyn to record at Acme Hall Studios. They recruited the help of drummer Mike Hunter, bass man Jeremy Chatzky (Bruce Springsteen, Steve Earle, Ronnie Spector), slide guitarist Joe Novelli (Orkestra Mendoza, Nive Nielsen), and cellist Hank Roberts (Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Marc Ribot) to flesh out the arrangements.

The result, All These Dotted Lines, sounds seasoned and assured. The term “debut” belies the years of writing and performing that preceded this effort. Sonically, the record shifts seamlessly between soulful roots and dark indie folk. While the full band arrangements add warmth and depth to songs like “In the Morning” and “Sault Ste Marie", Stokes’ voice and evocative lyrics stand out against this backdrop as rare and powerful. In this latest transformation from an unknown troubadour toiling in obscurity to an established musician with a collection of beautifully orchestrated songs in hand, Stokes has carved out a new place for herself among emerging artists to watch.
Venue Information:
The Dock
415 Old Taughannock Boulevard
Ithaca, NY, 14850
http://thedockithaca.com/