Saturday, June 23, 2007

SPB Anniversary Countday: Day 6

Howdy and welcome to Day 6 of the countdown to the SPB Anniversary Show, which is happening on Friday, June 29 at the Sunset Tavern. In today's countdown edition, I've decided to talk about the Dear John Letters. While the Dear John Letters are, of course, not on the bill of the Anniversary Show, two-thirds of Dept of Energy were in DJL (and I'll talk more about Dept of Energy in a few days).

The story of how Dear John Letters came into being and operated as a band is really interesting, and while it might be lazy blogging, they have the whole story told very succinctly on their myspace page. So, I'm hijacking it here. You can also download four songs from their myspace page.

Front man/guitarist/songwriter Robb Benson has been writing and playing songs for over 10 years in the Seattle area. During that time, his former band The Nevada Bachelors released two pop records on the Popllama record label. Soon after the release of Hello Jupiter the band went different directions citing artistic differences.

Robb immediately focused his attention on building a stripped down acoustic EP. He went in to Egg studios and recorded "Songs about Songs", with the help of Producer Johnny Sangster (The Makers, The Posies). The E.P. was officially released in October of 2000 on Roam Records.

On the EP, Robb had collaborated on three songs with, Writer/Poet Michelle Price-Auer. Her music business adventures began on the other side of the market in the press industry. Working for 'Plain Jane PR' she found herself promoting the likes of RadioHead and The Posies, before getting burned out and taking time off to work on her writing.

Michelle's realist and emotive subject matter and musical vision/style strayed from Robb's former happy go lucky poetic approach, and allowed him to channel a much deeper more moving style of Pop. Together they began recording an album at home for the band that they wished to create under the name Dear John letters, on suggestion from Michelle. (Named after her future husband Jon Auer of The Posies)

All song lyrics were penned by Michelle Price-Auer, the music was Robb's creation. Cassady filled out the beats, and Johnny Sangster helped with both his production skills and his lending his lead guitar and keys skills wherever it was needed. Soon after the record was mastered, Bass player Richard Davidson of Radio Nationals came on board to fill out the group.

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