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Artist of the day: John Gold and the Old Souls

24

April

John.gold.and.the.old.souls

Alt-country collective John Gold and the Old Souls are a relatively new entity, but the youngsters from North Tampa and Lutz are developing a cool retro sound, with shimmering and dynamic folk-pop with honey-sweet hooks and emotive, heartfelt vocals.

"We really don't want to close off our music to a genre or whatever," says guitarist Matt Hanson. The band listens to everything, from rock to hip-hop, but their main influences range from Okkervil River to Hank Williams Sr.

The band plays Saturday with Whiskey and Co., Matt Butcher and Will Quinlan and the Diviners at 9 p.m. at New World Brewery. After the jump, read Julie Garisto's full profile of the band...

Kindred spirits: John Gold, vocals and acoustic guitar; Ross Ford, bass; Taylor Caum, drums; and Matt Hanson, guitar.

Their sound: Shimmering and dynamic folk-pop with honey-sweet hooks and emotive, heartfelt vocals. “We really don’t want to close off our music to a genre or whatever,” Hanson says. “We all love a middle ground sort of thing. We listen to all sorts of stuff, from rock to hip-hop, but we write music that we like to play and hear.”

Their motto: “Sleep when you’re dead.”

Newbies: The band’s history is short and sweet, only 3-1/2 months. The guys, all around 19 and 20, from North Tampa and Lutz, played their first official show as a band at the Skatepark of Tampa’s Transitions Art Gallery to a receptive crowd of around 100, and played the Orpheum a couple of weeks ago, where they say dancing happened.

High school memories: “We went to high school together, me and John,” Ford says. “Land O’Lakes High School, out in the boonies.” Ford was a senior when Gold was a freshman. “We kind of hated each other,” Gold says, but he later admits to admiring Ford. Gold played his first live show opening for Ford and Hanson’s metal band at a house party in 2004, the soiree of a friend nicknamed “Spigot,” where Hanson swung his guitar neck and broke a lighting fixture. Suffice it to say, they sowed their wild oats early.

Recordings: They’re working on a five-song EP due out in the next couple of months.

Musical tastes: “We’ve got a wide array,” Ford says. Bands they all listen to include Okkervil River, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, and Gasoline Heart. Caum and Hanson say they both grew up on Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Sr., which comes through in the band’s Southern-tinged tunes.

The shy one: Gold admits to being timid but comes out of his shell when he performs. “I don’t have social anxiety on stage. I’m confident in making music. … I was scared to play in a band, but it’s better in all aspects.”

Chemistry on and off the stage: The guys are unabashedly bromantic. They speak candidly about their respect for one another and how much they enjoy each other’s company, both as a band and socially.
“When we’re not working on music, we’re all still pretty much hanging out together,” Gold says.

By consensus: Gold writes most of the melodies and lyrics, which often get tweaked by the others, or the band composes an entire song together, such as their rousing closer, So She Knows, a tune Hanson says was composed in all of 10 minutes, a result of a feeding-off-each-other frenzy.

Music as therapy: “When I was younger, I had a lot of depression problems,” Gold says, “and when I listened to music, I felt like I could connect with the people who were singing the songs, and that’s No. 1 to me – building a connection through song.

Caum: “Music is the adult comfort blanket.”

Gold: “It’s a cheat code to life.”

Ford: “Yeah, we’re all geeks.”

Hear them: With Whiskey and Co., Matt Butcher and Will Quinlan and the Diviners at 9 p.m. on Saturday at New World Brewery in Ybor City. $7.

-- Julie Garisto, tbt*

[Last modified: Friday, April 24, 2009 7:00am]

    

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