Who's the Next Big Thing?: A Three-Point Post

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Tyler Boone has a plan to make a name for himself in the Charleston music scene with the release of his second EP, Changing Pace, at the Midtown this Thursday.
 
The plan seems to be, well, to get his name everywhere—with stickers, radio ads, Facebook notifications, press releases, posters, an upcoming video, and even his lyrics. The lead track on the five-song CD, “Don’t Forget My Name,” may be a good summary of his marketing campaign. The song is currently being played on the 105.5’s Homegrown Music Series, and Boone is investing in himself with ads running on the station leading up to Thursday’s release.
 
While “Don’t Forget My Name” is a rather typical acoustic-driven singer/songwriter track built around rhythmic guitar and comfortable vocals, the rest of the songs on the EP show that Boone can be more than a street corner troubadour. Blues-based rocking guitar solos make their appearances, but it’s the horns of the closing track and violin in “Home” which show the most promise for this very young College of Charleston student.
 
The song “Home” demonstrates a particularly mature level in arrangement and instrumentation that rises above the rest of the tracks.
 
The CD is short—five songs clocking in under 18 minutes total. The songs, in general, lean toward the familiar and cliché, but there is enough here to think very good things could be around the corner for this hard working young man.
 
Tyler and his band will be celebrating the release of the CD with a show at 10 p.m. Thursday at Midtown Bar and Grille on King Street, with Sun Dried Vibes opening.
 
http://www.tylerboonemusic.com/fr_intro.cfm
 
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Tyler’s CD is being released by an upstart Charleston record label, King City Records, which was founded by Matt Megrue of the Loners Society in 2009. It’s a record label built more on the belief of sweat equity than money. Megrue says the label's simple goal is to “put out music that we believe in, while developing a reputation of consistency with the people who are consuming it.”
 

Tyler Boone joined Megrue, and will act as more of the talker, handling promotions and press releases for each of the label's bands.
 
For Boone’s release, they’re taking a modern approach. Megrue says of the marketing plan for Boone, “I'm starting to be convinced that our focus needs to really be put on his online presence first, and let that dictate tour dates.” So expect a video for “Don’t Forget My Name,” lots of online ads, and any viral marketing they can drum up.
 
The guys have recently signed another local act, Wrenwood. It’s an Americana Boy/Girl duo (Dan Rainey and Dallas Corbett), featuring impeccable guitar work, smoky vocals, and songs with a story.
 
If you can’t make it out to Boone’s release show on October 11th, then be sure to check out the King City Records' showcase of all three bands November 3rd at the Tin Roof.
 
Check out this new label here.

 

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I find it curious how bands with all the promotion and critical acclaim in a market will frequently not get very far beyond the hometown, while a group with no local acclaim will suddenly blossom on a national stage.
 
For example, while growing up in Northeast Ohio, I knew Trent Reznor as a keyboard player in a college party band called Slam Bamboo. Then he teamed up with Richard Patrick, a guitarist from a U2-sounding band called The Act, and a few other local guys from random bands, to start crunching sounds on computers. Out of nowhere, Nine Inch Nails hit the national scene while local press in the area was still fawning all over some folky singer/songwriters. Or more recently, I was in a Southern-fried country punk band called Rambler 454, playing the same venues as the Black Keys. We got nominated for local music awards all the time and the Keys didn’t. Which one have you heard? Yeah, not my band.
 
So I’m always on the lookout for bands that are under the critic’s radar. Last week, I asked Potter and Laura at the Bridge who were the up-and-coming artists that have a real chance to skyrocket beyond Charleston’s borders. Right off the bat, they mentioned Tyler Boone, who I reviewed up above. That’s great praise when the Bridge tastemakers suggest that Boone could follow in the rising path of Crowfield or Shovels and Rope.
 

 
I asked them specifically about another band I’ve recently enjoyed, and that band was A Fragile Tomorrow. Neither one had heard of this young four piece, which I found at first odd. It’s a band with all the goods. They are very young (three members under 21) and very driven. Their second CD was produced by Grammy Award-winner Malcolm Burn, who has worked with Emmylou Harris and Bob Dylan. Their fourth CD comes out in January and was produced by Mitch Easter, another Grammy winner, who may be most famous for his work launching REM.
 
That CD, Be Nice Be Careful, will be released January 8th, and it is a masterful slice of power pop. The band wrote upwards of 40 songs for the record, of which 10 made the final cut. Throughout the record, there are plenty of things to like—memorable hooks, thick harmonies, guitars reminiscent of the Byrds, lead vocals that are somewhere between Elvis Costello and Ben Folds, and very smart songwriting. It’s thoroughly enjoyable, and features guest appearances by Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, two of the Bangles, Don Dixon, Susan Cowsill, and others.
 
So how is it that the Charleston music experts are unfamiliar with this local four piece, yet people with Platinum records on the wall volunteer their time and talents to this band? (Yes, most of the famous guests on the record did so without compensation). I’d have to figure that since moving to Charleston in 2009, the band has been busy going on tour with The Indigo Girls, recording with them and Amy Ray’s solo release, touring with the Bangles, then Matthew Sweet, before recording with Mitch Easter. Instead of playing every club in town, they’ve been playing large rooms all over the country. By the way, while on tour with the Indigo Girls, the boys were invited onstage to sing backups for an encore of the hit Closer to Fine, which was captured and added to the live record the Indigo Girls put out. So, I guess unbeknownst to the Bridge, they have put the band on their airways when they've played that version of the song. 
 
This process may have built them an incredible rolodex of famous friends, but they have yet to build a strong local presence.
 
Perhaps that will change soon? Check out the free download of their first single Kernersville at http://afragiletomorrow.bandcamp.com/. There is also a video of another standout song from the release, "Don’t Need Saving," on YouTube.
 
Tell me if you think they have the goods. Oh, and before I forget, not everyone locally is oblivious to this band. Credit Mark Bryan of Hootie and the Blowfish for having an ear for talent—he first noticed the potential of this band when the principle members were only 13 years old. I asked Mark what he thinks about them now, “They used to be a band with potential, now they are a band I can see making this a lasting career,” he told me. “They’re the real deal.” 
 
Photos (Boone and Loners Society) from www.kingcityrecords.com; (A Fragile Tomorrow) from www.afragiletomorrow.com