A whole new type of “Philly Soul” is poised for discovery on Seeds and Thorns. The second studio album from Philly folk artist UP THE CHAIN is an intimately rich and intensely personal work that comes from deep within the soul of Reed Kendall and his current collective of some of Philly’s finest musicians.
Produced by Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man, Toy Soldiers) and due for Oct. 15 release, Seeds and Thorns already is being heard in the band’s hometown on Triple A tastemaker WXPN, which also supported UP THE CHAIN’s 2011 full-length debut, their previous studio effort, and called Kendall on its blog, The Key, “[one of] Philly’s most creative singer-songwriters” and the band “part of Philly’s new folk explosion.” A nationwide radio campaign and U.S. tour begins in October, starting in the Northeast and continuing into the Midwest and South, following a tour warm-up opening for 10,000 Maniacs at the FAF festival. UP THE CHAIN has built a strong reputation as a live performing act, reinforced to another festival audience in late summer when they won over the crowd at the historic Philadelphia Folk Festival.
The tour includes a live studio Daytrotter Session on Nov. 7 from Rock Island, IL (streaming at www.daytrotter.com), and a live radio performance on the WDVX Blue Plate Special in Knoxville, TN (Nov. 12). Among other tour highlights, UP THE CHAIN will play two clubs in one night in Burlington Vt. (Oct. 5), and back-to-back nights at two different clubs in South Bend, IN (Nov. 8-9).
And in an unusual twist, the band will be releasing a different video of a song from Seeds and Thorns on its Facebook page every week leading up to their Philadelphia hometown CD Release Party, Nov. 1 at the Ardmore Music Hall in the town where Kendall grew up, Ardmore, PA.
Seeds and Thorns is decidedly more sparse than its predecessor, but the new album’s beautiful allure is powerfully enhanced by the way Moriarty colors Kendall’s vocals with carefully nuanced piano, trumpets, strings and big harmonies from top Philly “players” Anam Owili-Eger (keys, vocals), Avery Coffee (electric guitar), Matt Scarano (drums) and Matt Wong (bass). A subtle Americana vibe emphasizes roots over twang.
Kendall tackles his “potential vs. struggle” (seeds vs. thorns) thread with direct hits in lyrics that question motives in his quest for inner peace. There are rails against complacency, pseudo-‘70s singer-songwriter style (the upbeat “Seasick Sailors”); self-confrontations of inner restlessness (the piano-driven “Same Story”); arguments for staying grounded (“The Horse’s Course” and ultimately, self-discovery of lost faith from a painful breakup (“For to Give Away”).
UP THE CHAIN navigates these intricate songs while Kendall draws his inspiration from musical heroes such as Conor Oberst, Neil Young, Ryan Adams, Amos Lee, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, and Paul Simon. In fact, Kendall utilizes UP THE CHAIN as his recording and performing “vessel” much like Oberst did originally with Bright Eyes. Kendall takes exceptional pride when told the songs he writes are both energetic and laid back, or “catchy yet substantive.” Such is the healthy dichotomy that is UP THE CHAIN and its frontman-creator, Reed Kendall.
UP THE CHAIN – TRACK LISTING
1) Seasick Sailors
2) Tire Track
3) Same Story
4) Take Me Talking
5) A Ground
6) The Horse’s Course
7) Something New
8) For to Give Away
9) No Sweeter Sound
10) Everything We Have
11) Names of Ghosts
UP THE CHAIN – U.S. TOUR DATES
Thu., Oct. 3, Precinct – Boston, MA
Sat., Oct. 5, Red Square – Burlington, VT
Sat., Oct. 5, The Skinny Pancake – Burlington, VT
Wed., Oct. 9,The Garage – Charlottesville, VA
Thu., Oct. 10, Alvernia University – Reading, PA
Wed., Oct. 16, WXPN’s The Porch @ 30th St. Station – Philadelphia, PA
Tue., Oct 22, Marymount Manhattan College – New York, NY
Tue., Oct 29, Castleton State College – Castleton, VT
Thu, Oct. 31, Harry’s Oyster Bar – Atlantic City, NJ
Fri., Nov. 1, Ardmore Music Hall – Ardmore, PA – CD Release Event
Sat., Nov. 2, The Cove – York, PA
Sun., Nov..3, The Schoolhouse – State College, PA
Tue., Nov. 5, Wilbert’s – Cleveland, OH
Thu., Nov. 7, Daytrotter Session – Rock Island, IL
Thu., Nov. 7, Rozz Tox – Rock Island, IL
Fri., Nov. 8, Chicory Café – South Bend, IN
Sat., Nov. 9, The Pool – South Bend, IN
Sun., Nov. 10, Brothers Drake Meadery – Columbus, OH
Mon., Nov. 11, Whiskey Jam @ Winner’s – Nashville, TN
Tue., Nov. 12, WDVX Blue Plate Special – Knoxville, TN
Wed. Nov. 13, Para Coffee w/The Hill and Wood – Charlottesville, VA
Fri., Nov. 15, Gypsy Sally’s – Washington, DC
Sat., Nov. 23, Dream Away Lodge – Becket, MA
MORE DATES TO COME …
UP THE CHAIN ON THE WEB