The Grand Rapids jam band with a big upcoming Thanksgiving Eve show went acoustic for Local Spins on WYCE, which also debuted tracks by Lucy Lowis, Aquaerials, Lexi Adams, Allie Fennema and more.
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It’s been dubbed Desmond Jones’ “country album.”
But guitarist and songwriter Isaac Berkowitz insists that the Grand Rapids jam band’s latest, twangy studio collection, “Why Not?” represents much more than that.
“I don’t think that’s really what it is,” he says. “There is a lot of country influence in there, but it comes out a little more twisted than that with our interpretations.
“We have been slowly adding songs with more of this Americana flavor to our repertoire over the past few years and we figured it was time to bring them all together in one place.”
And while “that sound will always be a part of the fabric of Desmond Jones,” he adds, “we like to grow and change, so I wouldn’t expect the next record to sound similar.”
For now, however, the popular West Michigan group is excited about showcasing its latest release, especially for what’s become its traditional Thanksgiving Eve show at Elevation inside Grand Rapids’ The Intersection – its third-ever “hometown throwdown.”
“Our Thanksgiving Eve show has become one of our favorite shows of the year,” says drummer John Nowak.
“It is a great opportunity for us to reconnect with our West Michigan friends, family and fans after many months with no shows, and out-of-state touring. We couldn’t be more excited for the dance party. … It’s a great honor to have a traditional show like this to give proper thanks to our music community.”
Doors open at 8 p.m. for the Nov. 24 performance that will also feature sets by Flexadecibel and Zack Volkers & Friends. Tickets for the 17-and-older show are $10 in advance online at sectionlive.com and $12 the day of the show.
As a preview, Desmond Jones performed two songs in acoustic fashion for this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE. View the official music video for “Two Dreams” here, and scroll down to listen to “Pink Moon” and “Casino Cowboy” along with the entire interview as part of the radio show podcast.
VIDEO: Desmond Jones, “Two Dreams”
Subtitled, “A Sensational Midwestern Jamboree,” the new album features guest appearances by Don Julin and Mark Lavengood, and features “enough twang for the whole dang family” — or so the liner notes maintain. The songs were inspired by a wide range of rootsier artists from seminal musicians such Ernest Tubb, Buck Owens, David Grisman, John Prine, Roger Miller and New Riders of the Purple Sage to contemporary acts Jason Isbell, The Avett Brothers and Dawes.
“We all like to do our own thing,” Berkowitz says, “and this album is a reflection of that attitude both in its lyrical content as well as the idea to do a more country-leaning record. Why not?”
PROUD OF THE HARD WORK, EMBRACING OPPORTUNITIES TO EXPAND FAN BASE
By all accounts, after nearly a decade of performances and studio work, Desmond Jones – Nowak, Berkowitz, guitarist Chris Bota, saxophonist/keyboardist George Falk and bassist Taylor Watson – has hit its stride.
“As we’ve aged, we’ve brought in a lot of different emotions and styles — just seeing the diversity grow,” Bota says. “Now we’ve got almost 80 originals and it spans a bunch of different genres.”
Offers Nowak: “We are really proud of the hard work we’ve put into this group, before and during COVID, and recently now that we can play live shows again. We are almost at 10 years as a group and I think that certain things really start to mesh and click after such a long time of performing, writing, and spending time together.”
The band has played well over 700 shows as a group, “but every one has been unique and we look forward to each opportunity we get.”
Nowak credits manager Kevin McKay and new booking agent, Emily VanderWeil with Loose Leaf Talent Agency, for helping the band expand its reach.
“With this team and our ambition as a group, we plan to tour in 2022 and keep writing and recording new material as well,” says Nowak, who recently started a side project called Hot Girls with Berkowitz and high school pal Kyle Seasly.
The Intersection show is only part of a busy month for Desmond Jones. The band played Otus Supply in Ferndale on Friday night, and follows that with a Nov. 19 appearance at Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Cafe with Stormy Chromer and a Nov. 20 show at Ann Arbor’s Blind Pig with Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers. See more tour details here.
“We’re getting our calendars filled right now (for 2022),” says Berkowitz. “We’ve already been in the studio and laid down the bones for a new album already.”
This week’s episode of Local Spins on WYCE – which spotlights local and regional music at 11 a.m. Fridays on WYCE (88.1 FM) – also debuted new music from Lexi Adams, Lucy Lowis, Allie Fennema, Joey Frendo, Jessica in the Rainbow, The Heiden Underground and The Aquaerials, plus tracks by Crooked Spires and An Dro. Listen to the full radio show here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (11/12/21)
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