In the wake of its debut EP release from December 2011, Sevierville quartet Fifth Street Saints are establishing themselves as one of the area's most recognized modern rock acts. The quality of the release "Reasons to Run" has put the band on the map with local radio, venues and fans, and following a brief lineup setback, the band is back to juicing the last drops of promotional value from the EP before returning to Lakeside Studios to round out a full-length album by year's end.
An impressive first showing from the Saints, "Reasons to Run" has endeared the act to fans of such modern rockers as Seether, Daughtry and Nickelback. The group cites its recording experience with award-winning producer Travis Wyrick and engineer Mike Dearing for a shift in the way it writes and performs.
"Recording definitely changed the way that we play these songs," says bassist Shane Hoosier. "Going into the studio we played pretty much every song differently than how they ended up. … We still play the songs live pretty close to the album versions; however, we add a few surprises here and there to maximize the live performances."
"The EP has helped us focus on the direction that we are shooting," adds vocalist/guitarist Eddie Self. "Now when we write, we kind of measure it around the brand. 'Would that fit with the EP?' and so on."
Under Wyrick's direction, the act learned that like any great quarterback, a great drummer must have a strong "pocket" presence. With an emphasis on head-nodding, toe-tapping rhythmic grooves, Fifth Street Saints acquired a new drummer who can deliver. After parting ways with previous percussionist Jeremy Arangio, the band filled the vacancy with Joey Davis. Davis has quickly picked up the catalog, integrated his own seasonings and will make his live debut with the band Friday.
"We met Joey about a month after Jeremy's departure, through our photographer Jacob Long," recounts Self. "Before he auditioned we asked him to learn the EP. When he showed up he knew it almost note for note. So it hasn't taken long for him to adapt to the new material."
"I like a challenge," Davis says. "When I heard 'Reasons to Run,' I knew that I had my work cut out for me. With that being said, I knew I had to add my own flavor into it as well."
Having gone all out on its debut recording effort, Fifth Street Saints continue to promote the release nearly a year later. The band is currently shooting a video for the first track, "Dirty," that it hopes will provide a new venue through which it can expand its fan base. While the act isn't offering much in the way of details on its content, it tells that the video will be a conceptual narrative.
"The video for 'Dirty' will be our debut video," says guitarist Chad Webb. "We are hoping to get great results from it. We have a killer plot worked out and hopefully will be rolling it out by fall."
In addition to the video, Fifth Street Saints will return to the live performance circuit with its new member now up to speed. The group will use its existing material to build momentum for its second round of recording anticipated for later this year. To complete its first full-length, the band will record another five tracks to combine with those from the EP. All indications from the Saints are that the next batch of songs will feature more of the band's heavier material, having selected emotionally diverse tracks for the EP to demonstrate its range.
"We didn't want to put all of our heavy songs on the EP," acknowledges Hoosier. "We wanted to show that we are able to pull back and show emotion as well. We had quite a few debates about which songs were gonna make the cut and which ones weren't. ... We hope to start recording a full-length that will consist of the five songs from 'Reasons to Run' and five new tracks by the end of the year."
"We have a huge selection of songs that we play live now that are not on the EP," Webb elaborates. "So we will be making more hard decisions when we return to the studio to make the full length."
Tonight Fifth Street Saints take the stage at 90 Proof, joined by Belfast 6 Pack and Afterlife. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show has a $5 cover.
Sounds like a plan: Nashville's Winter Sounds plan a trip to Knoxville for a Tuesday night gig at Barley's Taproom. The show is slated for 8 p.m.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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