I haven't done the best job at keeping up with all the RANCH\HOUSE news, but I can tell you it has been an incredible year of music for us. After our CD release party in January of 2015, I put together a band of local San Antonio talent. We have been playing together for one year now. I bought a small ranch-style house and turned it into a great rehearsal space for us to work on the next next record. The core group is Architect, Matt Carrell on Drums, UTSA Jazz Bassist, Dylan Ilseng on Bass Guitar, and S. Brady Dietert at the helm.
We are keeping true to the collaborative spirit of RANCH\HOUSE. We have collaborated with several great musicians in this past year, and plan to keep that momentum going into the future. Allowing other musicians to join RANCH\HOUSE has become one of the biggest pleasures of performing. Many of our songs are so tightly crafted that we can play them the exact same way everyday, but when a unique artist steps in and affects the song, the atmosphere brightens with a new shade of light.
We have Elijah Stone, who played on the record, as a special guest with his fiddle regularly. He is always a lively addition to the band, and we love having him. I used to think differently about fiddle. I have said many times that "a fiddle just doesn't fit with this song," and Elijah Stone always finds a way to prove me wrong with his adaptable, creative approach. He stays incredibly busy with other bands, teaching high school English, and going on surf trips. Check him out around San Marcos and Austin with Wilkinson's Quartet and, Also, The Bottom Dollar String Band. He will also play with RANCH\HOUSE many more times in the future.
We also explored incorporating some brass with Adam Tutor. He is a fantastic saxophone player and a terrifically charismatic personality. He came to the Liberty Bar during our residency last June and took over the room with his enormous talent. I have been a fan of him since. We have jammed several times over the past year, and I'm pretty sure we're due for another. During Dream Week, he put on a Jazz education concert that took the audience through the evolution of Jazz, as an African-American expression, from the earliest days to modern times. Watch for Adam Tutor playing Saxophone around town with his band Soulsify, and read his articles in the Rivard Report as he explores the San Antonio local music scene. He's the Jazz Tutor.
We collaborated with local guitar hero, Elijah Zane Echeveste, on several occasions over the past year. He added an element of excitement and flash that is typically not native to RANCH\HOUSE. His fluency on the six-string is inspiring and energizing. When he closes his eyes and looks towards the heavens, South Texas Blues pours out of his soul. We sat down a few times at the house to work out some quality guitar parts, and he proved to have rapid understanding of the structure and impressive musical intelligence. Watch for Elijah Zane playing with his ever evolving "Elijah Zane and The Experience
Our RANCH\HOUSE drummer, Matt Carrell, became a Licensed Architect this past month. He is one of the most quality guys to be around. He's reliable, tech savvy, energetic, creative, open-minded, and has impeccable tempo. We have had so much fun over the past year playing together. Despite his, not-so-secret, desire to turn the band into the next incarnation of Kings of Leon, he has been patient, steady and collaborative in a way that keeps playing in a band possible. We have been working on some new songs, and he readily applies a broad working knowledge of appropriate beats and attitudes that have become integral to the song writing process. His dad, John Carrell, is also a collaborator with us. He has played in his own band for 30 years and has knowledge, equipment, and enthusiasm that he shares readily. He ran sound for us a the Alamo Brewery and sat in with the band on keys in New Braunfels at Phoenix Saloon.
Dylan Ilseng is an incredible asset. RANCH\HOUSE has benefited greatly from having him on board with his bass stylings. Despite he being the youngest band member by far, we have learned so much from him and his formal, musical education. He is the kind of musician that will never doubt his path in life. He can show up and play with anyone, anywhere, anytime, and then, rush off to play again elsewhere. He played 3 back-to-back gigs on Saturday with 3 different acts, one being musical theater, and he saved the day at each arrival. He has also become integral to the song writing process, and I'm looking forward to hearing some of his bass lines on the next record.
RANCH\HOUSE is moving into it's second year. We have a permanent home base here in San Antonio that we refer to as The Ranch House that is undergoing renovations at the hands of yours truly. We have been preparing collection of interesting, experimental songs for our followup record. We have gigs coming in. The State of RANCH\HOUSE is strong! Come see us play soon. Cheers!