Band: The Blueberry Jam Sessions
Date: Sunday, Nov. 22 with gates at 1 p.m.
Venue: Weeks Bay Plantation, 12562 Mary Ann Beach Road, Fairhope,
Tickets: $40 general admission/$90 VIP, available at www.liveandlisten.com
One month ago, those who attended the birth of the Blueberry Jam Sessions were truly thrilled with the lineup and location of the music festival, organized by the Montgomery-based production company Live & Listen. Organizers used the natural geography of Weeks Bay Plantation to create a beautiful, natural amphitheater that added not only to the sound quality but also the atmosphere.
Now, for those eager to return or anyone who missed it the first time, we’re getting another taste of Blueberry Jam sweetness with a second session. Once again, proceeds will go to the WISP Foundation and its mission of promoting organic farming and sustainable agriculture.
For this installment, bands including Earphunk, McLovins and Maradeen will lay the foundation for the evening’s headliners, The Revivalists, a New Orleans-based band that have gone from a regional favorite to a nationwide sensation. Not only have they created an infectious groove, but The Revivalists also deliver an electrifying stage show that tends to create permanent fans from newcomers.
The group is currently enjoying the success of its latest effort, “Men Amongst Mountains.” Lagniappe’s conversation with guitarist Zack Feinberg was a chance to discuss the band’s past and future.
Stephen Centanni: The Revivalists are one of those regular bands visiting the Mobile Bay area, and we’ve had the opportunity to watch you grow. You established your reputation on the Gulf Coast and have slowly expanded your listening audience until it’s become worldwide. It’s almost as if you guys were systematic in your approach. Besides your music, what would you say is the secret to your success?
Zack Feinberg: We’ve been working really hard. We’ve been hitting the road hard. The first song on our record is “Keep Going.” We’ve played tons of shows every year for about five years. We’ve been grinding away at it and putting ourselves out there and putting on great shows, and it’s been spreading by word of mouth, more than anything, I think.
Centanni: A few days ago, you released your latest single “Amber” and its companion music video.
Feinberg: It’s not really a single. As far as the companion video, we’ve been calling those videos “Live Sessions.” We have one for every song on the record, and it’s us playing the tune completely live in one take and not the studio version. It’s like a little live video. We thought it would be a cool way to get live versions of the songs out there.
Centanni: Are those “Live Sessions” videos something you might release all together as a collection, or the live recordings as an album?
Feinberg: No, we don’t have those versions available or released as a download, but I think we have a live video for every song on the album. I mixed all of those personally. So, it was a fun project.
Centanni: Who is Amber?
Feinberg: Amber is a homeless woman in New Orleans that Dave Shaw saw flying a sign. He felt like he needed to talk to her. He talked to her and got her story. It was really intense, so he wrote a song for her.
Centanni: One of the big debates on the studio side of things is whether it is better to go digital or analog. You guys laid down tracks on tape for “Men Amongst Mountains.”
Feinberg: People in the studio aren’t really debating it, to be honest with you. Nobody really views it as black and white. They’re both tools that you use. We did record to tape to beef up our record. The initial part of us being in the studio playing live went to tape. At the same time, we had it split. We went to tape, and we went to digital. Sometimes, there were problems with the tape, and it was noisy. There was a lot of tape noise, which was problematic, so we ended up using digital for some of it. All of our overdubbing was digital. In my mind, it’s not this big black and white debate, where it’s one thing or another thing. They’re both tools, and you use them both to your advantage. There’s different things that you can do.
Centanni: That’s great to hear, because people have made it black and white. It’s great to see that you used both.
Feinberg: Yeah, I think it’s silly, you know. They both have their advantages.
Centanni: So, you went live in the studio for the tracks on this.
Feinberg: The way we started with the record is we were at Studio in the Country in Bogalusa, Louisiana. The way the songs all started was that we had everybody in the room playing live and doing our takes that way. Then we built off of that. If we needed to go back and address some parts, then we would redo those parts. If we wanted to do a bunch of overdubbing or do a bunch of vocal takes, then we would overdub that. Yeah, the meat of it was playing live in a room together.
Centanni: This album is about growth. Besides your listening audience, how do you think The Revivalists have grown?
Feinberg: We’ve grown up. I was 20 years old when we started this band. So I’ve grown tremendously as a musician. I think everybody has, as songwriters and musicians. We’ve matured a lot, you know.
Centanni: A Blueberry Jam Session is the perfect environment to catch The Revivalists. Your live show is just as powerful as your music. When are you guys going to capture that vibe with a live album?
Feinberg: This year, and you’re the first one to know about that, man. You asked it, and we’re planning on doing one this year.
Centanni: Can you give me any more details, as far as venue or location?
Feinberg: Nope, I’m not going to do that just yet. We have something planned but, you know, it’s not completely set in stone yet. But I will say it’s going to happen in 2016. It will be out in 2016.