[feather_share] January 18, 2015
After nearly four years of jamming, writing and performing their original material, Nelson rockers Yeehaw Jihad have just released their first full-length CD.
Yeehaw Jihad is Geoff Williams, guitar and vocals, Tom Tolman, bass and vocals, and percussionist Josh Turnbull. Their style can be described as acid metal -a vintage metal sound a la Black Sabbath with a bluesier classic rock feel. And if you are not a follower of metal music, give this band a hearing - their recording is full of interesting instrumentation and influences from other genres that makes for fine listening. As Geoff explained to me recently: "Our producer wanted us to clean up our sound; we usually play with a heavy metal sound, but our writing is really more of a rock band. So we used less tube saturation and distorted guitar and our vocals are strong without growling. We are playing around with being a rock band - it can get monotonous playing heavy and loud all the time."
The recording is engineered by Jason Lawrence and produced by Brad Decatur. They were both in the band Flawd with Geoff (and drummer Christopher Whitney) and were a natural choice for Yeehaw Jihad to work with. "I was confident that they would give our songs and our sound the right treatment that was a true reflection of us and what we do," said Geoff. Chris Sonia at Dauntless Mastering mastered the recording. “Chris was very hands-on in making sure everything sounded the absolute best that it could. He was very comprehensive in making sure we understood everything he was doing and why.”
The drums were recorded at Marlborough House, the former Catholic church in Marlborough, selected for the natural reverberation the space offers. The rest of the recording took place at a home in Fitzwilliam. Guest artists feature on many of the songs - Ty Snitko of Side Effects May Include (S.E.M.I.) helps with the vocals; Clint Pecor adds guitar work, Leslie Shelton of Hug the Dog plays keyboards on five of the songs, and Jason Lawrence adds electric violin to two selections.
There are nine songs on the CD, named Songs about Rough Sex and Violent Deaths. "We write about real life and it can be dark sometimes. Some of the lyrics are reactions to what is going on, some are personal experiences, and others are directed at a particular person."
Bottle is a song written by Tom about a drunk driving accident that he witnessed. "It is our slowest, mellowest song," said Geoff. "It gives me a chance to do the lead work without being so busy with shredding the whole time."
Nothing Left is a favorite song of Geoff's that he wrote. "It has very big parts and feels epic to me." Along with an Eastern feel created by the inclusion of harmonic minors in the guitar, Josh's drumming contributes ear-catching energy and complexity to the instrumentation. "I appreciate playing with Josh's drumming; he's very unique in his style. He keeps it busy and interesting without being overbearing."
The songwriting process is as varied as the sounds you hear among the different selections. While sometimes Tom or Geoff will write the entire song and lyrics alone, often the creation of a song is a joint effort. The band records all of its practices and jams. Geoff later listens to the recording to see if anything stands out and how to add, expand or change it. He brings these ideas to the next practice and the band decides what else needs to be done. Once the music is finished, the lyrics are written by all or some members of the band.
What's next for Yeehaw Jihad? For starters, there is a CD release party on January 24 at the Wreck Room in Peterborough. Also on hand is Side Effects May Include (S.E.M.I.) and Honest Thieves. A goal for the New Year is to get back to writing more songs, some of which are partially complete. The band is also looking forward to finding gigs in Massachusetts, which has a strong metal scene. Yeehaw Jihad enjoyed a debut performance at Church in Boston this past August, and has made new connections as they seek to broaden their audience. Other possibilities include acoustic shows, or a demo of songs that were not included on this CD. For more information about Yeehaw Jihad, their upcoming concert or to hear more music, visit their Facebook Page.
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