Celebrating its 12th anniversary, the OC Music Awards kicked off on January 8th with eight weeks of free showcases at different venues across the county. 35 local artists will compete for the titles of Best Live Band and a performance slot at the 2013 OC Music Awards, March 9th at the City National Grove of Anaheim.
“The first album we did, we did it in like 6 hours. We’ll probably do that next time.” Moonsville Collective’s Corey Adams laughs, “I think we’d like to do a slightly more structured version of that. Maybe not 6 hours. More like 2 days. We didn’t even really practice the songs before. We didn’t practice this time either!” That’s kind of the epitome of the way that this group operates. Low pressure, high energy, and a level of musicianship that’s as organic as it is precise. Growing up in the same neighborhood and evolving from Dan and Seth Richardson’s “Yo Pitzy Jug Band” (a family band), Moonsville’s path has been paved with barn shows, bbq hootenannies, and of course a rich tradition of roots music. “We started out piggybacking on what [Yo Pitzy] was doing and playing the songs that they did.” Adams explains, “Dan had written songs that were killer and so we’d start playing them. That became about half of our set. Those are some of my favorite songs to this day. We still play Seagrass, Whiskey, and Wild Women. That’s always going to be a staple for us.”
The evolution of Moonsville Collective has happened in a way that’s as familial and natural as the idyllic landscapes described in their songs. One would be hard-pressed to find bales of cotton or moonshiners (actually… maybe the latter) in Orange County. The band explained why that doesn’t necessarily matter: “I think its something we all strive for. Although we all live in the city, when we get outside of it to a slower paced area, we thrive. Sometimes we go up to Morro Bay and magic happens there. I think slower paced, no quite city not quite country, somewhere in between. There’s a real longing for that simplicity. I mean, we’re from the city. We don’t want to live on a farm, but we love the idea of how simple that was. It’s almost like an actor who takes a role on. When we go to write, it’s like we’re playing a character. Even when we perform, I feel that too. That’s what makes it fun!”
The vivid imagery in the lyrics and the musical tradition woven into the arrangements is part of something greater. The band describes how they fit in to the heritage of Americana: “So central to the music is the narrative and people who tell stories. We hardly see that anymore, people who tell stories. We’ve grown to love the oral tradition. We’re trying to make sure that kind of thing doesn’t die. Because the stories make us feel good, we in turn, want to tell stories and keep that legacy going. That might be what draws us to that language and that style”. The band is well aware of the implications that come with playing roots rock music within a modern context: “I really feel like we didn’t choose to play old-timey music. It’s really not even about the music. It’s about the lifestyle. I think it chooses you, you don’t choose it. I think the fact that all of us thrive in that environment… something about that environment really chose us.”
They may be entrenched in the folk tradition, but the experience of growing up in Southern California hasn’t escaped them: “Growing up in Orange County, you’re exposed to everything at such a young age. Hardcore music, punk music, reggae music, ska music, we’ve all been through everything”. How does a group of guys with the a somewhat typical SoCal music upbringing land on folk? Adams explains: “When it came time for us all to play music, those are the songs that came out and that was the language that came out. It reflects what we read, what we like, what we do. If we tried to do it, we wouldn’t be doing it. The whole band happened by accident”.
To be honest, we found the “accidental” formation of Moonsville Collective hard to believe, but Ryan Welch put our doubts to rest: “We went on a trip and figured we needed a CD to sell. We recorded it just to have something to give away. It was all an accident. We just drink beer and laugh. We don’t practice. We’ve had one practice and decided it was a bad idea. […] That’s the style of this kind of music, anyway. It’s just someone playing a song and everyone following along. That’s folk music”.
So there you have it. Happy accidents do happen. Sometimes musicians are meant to come together. Sometimes a group of people with old souls and immense talent find each other and make beautiful music. In this case, that group of artists is Moonsville Collective.
–Robyn Luttrell, KROQ Los Angeles
You can listen to Moonsville Collective’s music through their website
Learn more at Moonsville Collective’s Facebook.
The 2013 Showcase Series runs every Tuesday night, January 8th-February 26th with stops at:
Feb 5 – Tiki Bar
Feb 12 – Founders Hall
Feb 19 – Yost Theater
Feb 26 – House of Blues-Anaheim
LEARN MORE AT: OCMUSICAWARDS.COM