Dirt Road 14
When we first started Dirt Road 14, I really was doing it just to be able to enjoy a night of laughing, singing and playing with Ryan and Linda. And that hasn't changed. Which is probably what makes the band work-we've always wanted as much fun as we can have playing music that means something to us. We financed this album by selling Ryan's motorcycle. It's that kind of passion that's kept things exciting. I never considered where things were heading in those beginning days, and now the only difference is that I know to expect the unexpected and enjoy the ride along the way... Creating this self-titled first album was a new experience for me in terms of being in the studio and the overall production. I had much more input into how I wanted my vocals to sound. I'd been in a studio before, but this time I wasn't just laying a backup vocal here or there, I knew I was a central part of the group and the sound. It's always been a very inclusive sort of progression; Ryan'll write the chord progressions and lyrics, and when we come together it just takes off. Linda and I'll do a lot of experimenting with different harmonies and textures that work for us. It's that kind of process, of building the music, that's made the album what it is. New Hope's John and Peter's Bar is not the kind of place you might expect to have a great show. It's ceilings are low, the monitors on the sound system can cause a lot of feedback, and it can go from feeling comfortable to cramped real quick. But it's not those things that I remember. It's having one of the best experiences to date there-at our CD release party-that'll remain stamped in my memory. At first, being on stage felt like raw exposure-you're coated in lights, glaring, while the audience is bathed in dark. They're super close, many of them pressed up against the stage in small booths. But when we started, that sense of exposure became less raw and more intimate in a good way. Sharing who you are musically begins and ends with your audience; there is no experience without them, and their responses help shape the performance into what it is. We couldn't have asked for a more supportive, excited audience that night. It shared the songs with us, quieting down for Strange Fascination (the only song on the album we recorded at home on Ryan's 8-track!) and turning right around with such energy I felt shivers, singing along with Love that Girl. There was one girl-hair that came almost to her waist-who danced to our music all night. The dancing is the best; hell, seeing people into your music, having fun, is what it's all about, really. We're playing in New Hope again, in April. That small underground space will continue to inspire me, through it's people and the memories of what we've experienced there. ~Alyssa.