A little more than a year since the release of its debut EP, rock trio LoveWar now unveils its first full-length album, "Singing Summer." Still a young act, guitarist/vocalist Elijah Newman recently completed his first year at Belmont University in Nashville, a scene where he hopes to make significant connections and set up shop for a shot at the big time. But for now, with members sprawled between Nashville and Knoxville for much of the year, the act rehearses and writes remotely and performs largely on a seasonal basis.
Like last year's EP, "Singing Summer" was recorded at The SoundLair with Miah Lajeunesse beginning in August of 2011. Though the full-length has absorbed the tracks from the EP, members of LoveWar explain that the band has since decided on a direction. While tracks from the initial EP and subsequent descriptions by the band indicated a developing indie-rock angle, the new album reflects Newman's time in Nashville with songs that are simple, accessible and agreeable.
"We recorded the album over the course of the year from August until April," says Newman. "We were much more focused and on point with the album. We were intentional with what we played and how we performed. The only thing I wish to (do differently) next time is to record in a more live-feeling environment — just plug up the gear and lay it down.
"As a band, we've landed on our sound, I think. Although our sound will forever and always continue to progress and morph just as we do as individuals, I think we've found a clear goal for what we want to sound like. We want that old rock sound with a modern edge. The first songs we recorded all contain aspects that are responsible for forming our current sound. ... I think that as you listen to the album, you can see with each song how we became more solidified on a certain sound."
The ages of LoveWar's roster have made it difficult to book desirable shows in Knoxville. The shortage of all-ages venues has led the group to debut its album with release shows in Oak Ridge and Sevierville. The band's move to smaller markets is only short-term as the ultimate goal is to relocate to Nashville. Already writing for its next record, the group has spent much of the school year divided geographically but plans to consolidate in Nashville, where it has already arranged to work on its sophomore release.
"Our biggest obstacle as a band is getting grounded in the industry," Newman explains. "It's a hard business to break into. It takes work, work, work, work, work and a hefty dose of luck.
"The distance does make it difficult to perform, rehearse and write on a consistent basis. But we're all friends and keep in touch and work together via phone, Skype, email; and when we meet up to perform or practice, we go hard and put all we have into it. So it's been working. Our writing got a lot better when the distance came; it made us pay attention to the songs more. We're going to keep driving to and from each other to play and write. It's worth it to us."
LoveWar will perform its second CD release show Saturday, this time at The Sevierville Civic Center (200 Gary Wade Blvd.) Smooth Operations opens the show at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $5.
Down on the corner: Saturday night 72nd and Central (of Greenville, S.C.) joins Color of Fate, Altermatum and Deconbrio for a gig at The Birdhouse (Gill Avenue and North Fourth Avenue). Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with music to start at 8.
True GRITS: GRITS from Dumplin Valley perform in Maryville Saturday night, with a show at The Thirsty Turtle. Music kicks off at 9 p.m.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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