The Outer Vibe releases a new EP this week at a Grand Rapids homecoming show. The band reflects on its recent move to Nashville where the rock/pop band stands out from the country pack.
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For some West Michigan musicians, the yellow brick road leads to Nashville.
At the industry’s vortex, Music City U.S.A. draws songwriters and musicians from all corners of the country seeking to collaborate, perform and rub elbows with music icons in a city that boasts by far the highest concentration of music-related businesses in North America.
In recent years, Michigan favorites Billy Strings, Kari Lynch, Gunnar Nyblad, Matt Giraud, Kris Hitchcock, Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys and, most recently, The Outer Vibe, have relocated to Nashville to test musical waters – and ostensibly – raise their game.
As overwhelming as it can be, country singers such as Lynch describe Nashville as a “super-inspiring” city filled with talented artists who create an environment that “makes you work harder” to write good songs. Nyblad, frontman for Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys, calls it his “home away from the farm,” an eight-hour drive from West Michigan.
For The Outer Vibe – a popular Grand Rapids rock/pop band with nary a hint of country music in its approach – it’s also about being surrounded by industry connections that could “take us to the next level,” says drummer Noah Snyder.
“We weren’t quite sure what to expect when we moved,” trumpet player Lisa Kacos says of the band’s relocation to Nashville in October. “Nashville feels like a city full of nice, small-town folks and Southern hospitality that has rapidly boomed faster than anyone expected.
“All the bands here are fantastic, but you know what? We still stick out as a very different-sounding band, even in a major music market, which is cool.”
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The Outer Vibe rented a house in the city’s Forest Hills neighborhood, about six miles from Music Row, and signed a three-year publishing contract with Nashville’s Catch This Music so will “likely be in Nashville at least that long” — though the band will continue to play regular shows in Michigan and continues to book sessions for other bands at its Rockford-area recording studio.
Indeed, The Outer Vibe is back in West Michigan this week, playing The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids on Thursday as it promotes a new single, “Why Don’t You Listen?,” and releases a new limited edition EP, “Surf Disco Compacto, Vol. 1.” Listen to the new song below.
As a Christmas gift to the “hometown Vibe Tribe,” Grand Rapids fans will be the first to get a chance to snag the EP, which will only be sold at the band’s live shows. Michigan’s own The Turnips will open the Grand Rapids concert. Details online here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1309934475707614/
“We are partnering with Kids’ Food Basket for this concert in order to attack childhood hunger,” Kacos said. “For every copy of the EP we sell, we are donating $1 to KFB. In addition, if we can fill The Pyramid Scheme to the brim, we will donate $1 per ticket.”
The Outer Vibe also appeared this week on the radio for Local Spins Live on News Talk 1340 AM WJRW. Listen to the podcast and their in-studio performance here, with a video link below.
PODCAST: Local Spins Live with The Outer Vibe
So far, the Nashville experience has been a positive one for members of The Outer Vibe – Kacos, Snyder, Nick Hosford, Sean Zee and Andrew Dornoff.
“There are dozens of really good shows every night of the week, and since it’s a large centrally located city, our favorite artists tour through town on a regular basis,” Kacos said.
“It’s really great when people that you want to collaborate with or co-write with are right up the street, such as ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) or management companies or writers who are cranking out hit songs. Our publisher is well-connected and keeps us busy.”
Snyder noted that being more centrally located in Nashville for touring will also be an advantage for the band, which has been busy co-writing with other artists while hoping to find placement for its music in film, TV and elsewhere.
Amid this country mecca, the band formed more than a decade ago is less interested in “fitting in” than it is in “flying our freak flag high” and flaunting its West Michigan roots.
“We will never abandon West Michigan,” Snyder said. “Our best friends and our families are still there and you can believe that we will be coming back frequently and bringing the things we have learned with us. We can’t deny the fact that we are Michigan kids.”
VIDEO: The Outer Vibe, “Why Don’t You Listen” (Acoustic), Local Spins Live
Click Here: https://www.facebook.com/john.sinkevics/videos/vb.1050966703/10209418507673564/?type=2&theater
AUDIO: The Outer Vibe, “Why Don’t You Listen” (Single)
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