Murfreesboro's long-running, soulful, Southern indie-rock act Glossary is no stranger to Knoxville or many other Southeastern cities. The perpetually working act tours as often as it releases, which is saying a lot. This year the band played Bonnaroo and continues to tour behind its October 2011 release, "Long Live All of Us."
In recording the album last year, Glossary immersed itself in the project, holing up in Rockvale, Tenn., for more than a month. Conducive to the band's storytelling, the converted studio space was centered between the symbolic vestiges of sinners and saints, neighboring a church on one side and a condemned meth lab on the other. It was here that Glossary set to work on "Long Live All of Us," the act's seventh full-length release.
The recording marked the most time-intensive outing in the band's long career. With more than a month spent honing and experimenting free of disruptions in the rural surroundings, the resulting work speaks to the amount of time put in, but band members say that, aside from incorporating additional sounds and brass instruments, the product is no more polished than its comparatively hurried predecessors.
"The (album) was recorded in four weeks," details frontman Joey Kneiser (pronounced Ka-nizer). "Previously, we only ever spent about 10 days in the studio. The idea was to rent a house and record ourselves so we could spend more time experimenting with sounds and parts. The house was in Rockvale, 15 minutes outside of our home in Murfreesboro. There's not much out there, so we were able to really concentrate with few distractions. The songs were written in a three-month period prior to the session, and none had been played live beforehand. We worked them up in the house a couple weeks before recording. It was one of the greatest creative experiences we've ever had — no pressure, no time restraints.
"We always consider playing live a whole different thing than a record. After you've played a song a bunch of times, dynamics and parts change. It keeps it interesting for us to have that freedom. I don't feel like the record is more polished. It's a very different record than the last one. We're trying not to keep making the same album. The next one will be different from this one. I'm always writing, so there'll be a new one next year."
The October 2011 release is a bluesy, gospel-y alt-country opus sure to strike chords with the overlapping fan bases of Van Morrison and Spoon, and was crafted with the purpose of lifting spirits and inspiring some much-needed hope. Exhausted with widespread communal brooding over the state of the world, Glossary set out to revive some of rock 'n' roll's once-prevalent optimism. The album is intended to convey a hopeful message as it pays homage to some of humanity's more desirable qualities.
"Thematically, I feel what holds the album together is its stories of the great attributes of human beings," says Kneiser. "I really wanted the songs to show the greatness in people — no cynicism or apathy. Musically, I feel it holds together too.
"We wanted to make a positive record because we felt like a lot of older rock 'n' roll we loved had some sort of uplifting sentiment — the idea that rock 'n' roll can save you, that it can pick you up and had some almost spiritual power. That has always been something we believe, and we want the audience to experience that too."
In recent years the town of Murfreesboro has produced more than its fair share of indie-rock phenoms (e.g., How I Became the Bomb, Velcro Stars, De Novo Dahl, The Features, et al). Middle Tennessee State University's revered music programs are the most likely source, but nearby cities like Nashville and Knoxville often appear to be the biggest beneficiaries of Murfreesboro's talent due to the town's lack of venues.
"Murfreesboro is like any town, it goes through phases," Kneiser explains. "There've been years when it seems like there's a lot going on and years where it's really dead. There's never really been a proper venue in Murfreesboro. That's always been a problem with maintaining a tight scene. It doesn't make any sense. The town has so many musicians because of MTSU's recording industry program; that's why there are so many great bands."
Glossary visits Knoxville Wednesday night, playing at The Well with Mercer and Johnson. Music kicks off at 9 p.m. and costs $5. This show will wrap up the band's current tour of the East Coast, but after a two-week interim Glossary will take to the road again alongside Drive-by Truckers.
Forever Yung: Yung Life plays The Pilot Light tonight (Friday) with Cool Runnings and O Youth. The show is slated for 9 p.m., and the $10 admission charge is good for multiple Old City venues.
Tone zone: Saturday night The Longbranch Saloon hosts Robby and the Passing Tones. Music is scheduled for 8 p.m.
With: Mercer and Johnson
When: 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3
Where: The Well, 4620 Kingston Pike
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!