No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.
And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.
The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?
Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.
"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
After years of relentless touring and 13,000 records sold independently, self-made minstrels The Wishing Well show no signs of slowing. A festival fixture in Europe and its native Australia, the orchestral-rock act remains relatively unknown here, but the group hopes its maiden tour of the States will change that.
Founding members, vocalist/guitarist Jai Larkin and violinist Rivkah Larkin, are being accompanied by a band of American musicians hired specifically for this tour.
“We auditioned them online,” said Rivkah Larkin. “All of our music is professionally recorded, and we have scores and arrangements. They’d learned the material before we rehearsed together.”
The likelihood of “making it” as a midlevel band has diminished significantly in recent years, but The Wishing Well seems immune to that, despite relying primarily on fervent self-promotion, word of mouth and CD sales — relatively unheard of in contemporary rock.
“We pretty much survive off of our record sales, at least in the U.S.,” Larkin said, “and all of our record sales are generated by live performances. Almost anyone who buys our CD has probably seen us live.”
Last year’s “Fire in the Valley” and 2008’s debut, “Life on the Border,” are comprised of emotive pop rock, fleshed out with layers of complex, delicate instrumentation. Appropriately, it has shared the stage with the likes of David Gray and Seal.
We don’t have a home anymore. —Rivkah Larkin
The Wishing Well will have played less than 10 American dates by the time it makes its first Oklahoma stop, Saturday at Belle Isle Brewery. Larkin said they’ve enjoyed the tour thus far, although they’re unsure of what to expect in the coming weeks.
“This is our first tour to the U.S., so it’s all very fresh,” he said. “We’ve done three tours of Europe, so people know us, and obviously, the culture here is quite different. It varies so much from state to state. I will say we’ve been well-received so far, but we’ve got so much ahead of us.”
The group is stateside through December, when they’ll head back to Europe for a string of winter dates.
“We don’t have a home anymore. We don’t have a fixed place of residence,” Larkin said. “Even when we take breaks, it really varies — wherever is most convenient. At the end of last year, we just went to Thailand for two months and rented a little flat.”
Said Larkin of the next step, “It just really depends where we finish up and where we’re heading.”