Artist of the day: Goodnight Neverland
Kerry Courtney’s mother died in August.
In the months since, Courtney and his friends, Jeremy and Jordan Tellone, changed the name of their band from Come Now Sleep to Goodnight Neverland, and refocused their songwriting.
In this new incarnation, Courtney has come back inspired by his mother. The band’s upcoming EP Oceans in the Clouds, to be released in April, features lyrics about dealing with grief and letting go of things that can’t be changed.
“It’s time to cope / I need this worry to leave me alone,” he sings on the album.
Oceans in the Clouds has been very cleanly produced, with Courtney’s vocals the focus of their sound. The vocals are pretty, higher-register, sometimes falsetto. Harmonies were created by stacking multiple tracks of his voice. The harmonies float along, creating an atmospheric feel.
“On the background vocals, I do try to sound like a different person,” Courtney said.
The members of Goodnight Neverland have been playing together since Courtney was 12. It’s been eight years now. Jordan Tellone plays bass and his brother Jeremy plays drums. Courtney is the composer for the band in addition to playing guitar and singing. Courtney said that they put on a tight performance because they’re so familiar with each other.
Courtney, 20, and Jeremy Tellone, 18, work at a mall; they ask people walking through to sign up for college. Jordan, 20, is a stocker at Publix and is enrolled in EMT school. “All of us have made a vow that the band is the number one thing in our lives,” Courtney said. “We all kind of made it clear that we’re not going to college.”
The Tellone brothers live in St. Petersburg, at their parents’ house. Courtney lives in New Port Richey, but sleeps at the Tellone house up to five nights a week because his job is nearby. This allows the band to practice whenever they feel like it.
All three were home-schooled, which Courtney said gave him extra time to practice. He stressed that it didn’t make him an antisocial kid, like a lot of people might expect. “We’re definitely super-outgoing,” he said.
The band sometimes surprises fans by hanging out with them after shows. This sort of genuineness is a goal of the group. An insincere band, Courtney said, is like a used car salesman trying to pass off a lemon. He said he performs with passion, taking the lyrics of their songs very seriously.
All three members have similar taste in music; Trenton is the group’s favorite band. They also like Death Cab for Cutie, Copeland and Coldplay. Courtney said he’s inspired by certain bands, but doesn’t want to mimic them. He tries to pull influence from other experiences in life.
“I like to keep my influences outside of music,” Courtney said.
Goodnight Neverland performs at 7 p.m. Friday at Market on 7th, 1816 E Seventh Ave., Tampa, alongside Vista Pointe, Elicit and The Ground Is Dancing. Ticekts are $5-$7. reverbnation.com/goodnightneverland.
-- Andrew Ford, tbt*. Photo: PaperSound Photography.