Jason Gallagher, front man for Leroy Justice, is talking about Above The Weather – the band’s first major label release, coming in April 2013 on the Elm City Music label with distribution by Caroline/Capitol Music Group.
“We felt that if we wanted to keep playing music, we would have to explore new ways to write, arrange, and produce songs. The result is an album where we pushed our limits creatively, while still living in the world of rock and roll we love.”
The album title, he explains, “was inspired by the weather itself. There was a time when it seemed to rain every time we played a show – it became a running joke.”
Above The Weather is the next level for Leroy Justice, and a potential career breakthrough for the New York City quintet with roots in the Wyoming Valley (Scranton/Wilkes Barre) region of Pennsylvania. Here is a multi–hued portrait of a band that reaches back to the American musical bedrock – and the best qualities of the American character – to create contemporary rock music that may question our troubled present but also points to the better world that may yet be possible.
It’s a diverse and dynamic set that showcases Leroy Justice’s musical maturation since the release of The Loho Sessions in 2009. The new album also introduces 22–year–old guitar wunderkind Justin Mazer, who makes his disc debut with Leroy Justice on Above The Weather.
“The Valley is our home,” says Jason. “The music scene there is so alive with amazing players and bands. We knew Justin through friends, and after playing with him just once, we knew he was the perfect fit.”
The ten songs that comprise Above The Weather were subject to extensive pre– production rehearsals in the band’s own Pennsylvania rehearsal room. Jason Gallagher explains: “It's a converted bakery – there’s still a gigantic oven the size of a studio apartment, and there was no heat or a/c until we installed a heater. But the room sounds great.”
As album producer, Jason worked closely with two important non–members.
John Siket, credited with mix engineering and additional production, has participated in every Leroy Justice album since their 2006 debut Revolution’s Son in addition to working on projects with the Dave Matthews Band and Yo La Tengo.
Bil Emmons, whose credits include Lykke Li and Sonic Youth, came aboard as the band’s new front–of–house sound mixer but soon applied his talents as chief engineer for the Above The Weather sessions.
On Above The Weather, Leroy Justice displays the kind of songwriting and arranging skills that have characterized great American rock bands from Neil Young & Crazy Horse to the Allman Brothers Band. Songs like “Up On The Mountain,” “Blue Eyed Blues,” “So Long,” and “Two Trees” are destined to become staples of Leroy Justice’s compelling live show, an emotion–packed thrill ride shared by musicians and listeners alike.
That commitment to a collective musical experience is one that this group shares with such like–minded acts as the North Mississippi All Stars, Blues Traveler, and moe. – all of whom have been warmly supportive of Leroy Justice, sharing stage time, advice, and encouragement.
The highway calls, the crowds await...and Leroy Justice is ready to roll with Above The Weather.
The genesis of The McLovins was forged from a series of chance encounters between the three founders at various music camps during 2008. Bassist Jason Ott, drummer Jake Huffman and guitarist Jeff Howard realized from their first practices that they all shared a similar musical integrity and a desire to perform; the band was born.
The McLovins soon started playing shows locally in and around southern New England, where they quickly defined their sound- an amalgam of funk, soul, jazz and jam rock. As they self-released their debut album Conundrum, the band again broadened their sound as they embraced improvisational jamming. This new musical influence led them to record their version of Phish’s “You Enjoy Myself,” which instantly became an online viral hit and brought them to the attention of Relix and Rolling Stone magazines. This video recording put them on the jam-band map. The opportunity to perform at concerts supporting local and national acts quickly followed, as well as spots performing in regional music festivals.
Their 2010 performances at Gathering of the Vibes, Mountain Jam and Nateva brought them national attention and solidified their standing as a not-to-miss band. The trio next released their sophomore album Good Catch which included a new and distinctive progressive feel to many of the songs. 2011 opened with the band developing a mutual admiration with Phish lyricist Tom Marshall which led to a collaboration on the single, “Cohesive.” Marshall and his producing partner Anthony Krizan also worked with the band on 2 more songs and all 3 have just been released on the band’s Marshall/Krizan produced third album, Who Knows.
The end of 2011 brought both acclaim and new challenges for the band as founding member Jeff Howard decided to leave the band in order to focus on his academic future. The band has proven to be resilient and they now begin 2012 performing as a quartet with new guitarists Atticus Kelly and Justin Berger. The band has plans for a more aggressive touring schedule as they continue to evolve as artists and as a band.
The McLovins, a quartet comprised of Jason Ott, Jake Huffman, Justin Berger and Atticus Kelly.