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.
Tangiers Blues Band
The Tangiers Blues Band was formed in 1998 after guitarist Chris Scianni (Dangerman, Echobrain with Jason Newsted) and drummer Dave Borla (Dangerman, Echobrain) met photographer/harmonica player Danny Clinch and discovered their mutual love for blues music. The first Tangiers Blues Band jam session took place on Thanksgiving night that year with other musicians and friends, including Huey from the Fun Lovin' Criminals, King from Cooley High, Mick Jones from Foreigner and tennis player/guitarist John McEnroe. The original line-up was formed after that with Chris (guitar), Dave Borla (drums), Danny (harmonica), Huey (lap steel), King (vox and guitar) adding their long time friends Dave Sellar (bass) from Darla Hood and Peter Levin (keys) who had played in various bands in New York City and currently tours with The Blind Boys of Alabama.
The TBB line-up changes from show to show, with a deep rotation of musicians they have known and jammed with for many years, and in many different configurations. In addition, they have many "special guests" who will sit in with them for a night when they are around including G-Love, Phil Lesh, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Charlie Giordano (Bruce Springsteen) and Chris' father, Joseph Scianni. The line-up on the TBB studio recordings consists of Chris, Danny, Pete, King and Dave Sellars with Jon Graboff (Ryan Adams and The Cardinals) on lap and pedal steel guitars and Mo Roberts (Shemeka Copeland) on drums. The recording was done in one day at Moon Palace Studios, mixed and produced by Tim Latham (Lou Reed, Tribe Called Quest) a long time friend of all the guys.
In the early days, The TBB had a weekly slot at Lot 61 (Amy Sacco's club in N.Y.C) where they started experimenting with their set list. They soon realized that by "down-dating" current hits and reworking non-traditional blues songs, they could appeal to an audience that was not familiar with the blues, while throwing in "up-dated" versions of blues standards and originals to appeal to blues enthusiasts. On any given night, the TBB can play a set including music by Lady Gaga, Elvis Costello and the Clash that morph into blues classics performed by Junior Wells, Muddy Waters and Albert King. The band has performed their eclectic set of blues from clubs in NYC like The Iridium, Joe's Pub and The McKittrick Hotel to the stages at Bonnaroo (2009), opening for Gregg Allman (2011) and playing at Presevation Hall during Jazz Fest in New Orleans (2011) (2012) and Voodoo Fest (2012). Some of the musicians that have joined the band on stage have included Phil Lesh, Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), members of the Dave Matthews Band and My Morning Jacket, Nicole Atkins, Citizen Cope, Donald Fagen and Cage The Elephant to name a few.