All that’s old is new again

The New Old-Fashioned’s folk-tinged rock at Bob’s

By Rusty Pate

Photo: The New Old-Fashioned will perform on Nov. 6 at Blind Bob’s

It has been nearly three years since The New Old-Fashioned released their self-titled debut album. While that collection of songs sprung from the singer/songwriter roots of David Payne and Kent Montgomery’s solo shows, their latest release, Low-Down Dirty Summer Nights eschews toward a decidedly more visceral and raunchy rock sound.

“The new record is a little bit more rock and roll and a little less folk than the first one,” Payne says. “Not that those influences aren’t there, but there’s definitely more of a rock and roll energy in the new one. At the end of the day, that’s what we all like to do: play rowdy rock and roll music.”

One factor stems from the influence of the rhythm section, drummer Matt Oliver and bassist Tom Blackbern. However, Payne says years of playing together and allowing the songs and songwriting to naturally evolve has had the biggest impact on their sound.

When writing as a solo folk act, very little consideration of orchestration enters the process. Writing for a group brings in different dynamics.

“There were a lot of songs I wrote that I knew we were going to have three-part harmony on this chorus so I kept the melody tighter or I knew there was going to be a big guitar solo on this break,” Payne says. “So, I was leaving room for that stuff and every song I wrote I kind of had the band in mind as I was writing and I think that helped tailor the songs to the band and made it naturally a little more of a bigger rock and roll record.”

The band recorded with Micah Carli at his Popside studio in Troy. Payne praised the organization and the ease that came from working somewhat close to home. Their debut was recorded in Nashville with another Dayton native Patrick Himes.

Recording in Nashville required the band to carve out an allotted time and they had no choice but to finish when that time was up. While they imposed a soft deadline for this latest release, working in a somewhat more relaxed way helped some of the songs breathe a little.

Some of the more up-tempo stuff had been in their sets for a year or so. While the rockers are always easier to find a home for in a live show, Payne says some of his favorite tracks were the ones that morphed and shifted during the process.

“Some of the quieter stuff is newer to the live show and a lot of that stuff, I feel like, evolved a lot more in the studio,” Payne says. “[Those songs] tend to be more of your favorites, I think.”

In addition to Low-Down Dirty Summer Nights, TNOF also recently released a collaborative EP with friends The Repeating Arms. While many bands team up for split releases, rarely do two groups come together and actually play on each other’s tracks.

The resulting Hilltops & Highways incorporates each band’s unique sound, but also found them drawing on shared influences for something different from their usual releases.

“That was such a fun record to make,” Payne says. “They’re super good friends of ours—sort of our brother band in Dayton. Both of us tried to meet in the middle, as far as writing went. We had a couple songs that we knew would work well for the project. They’re a little more bluegrass-y and we’re a rock and roll band, but where we meet in the middle is that classic country influence.”

Recorded by Repeating Arms banjo player Max Nunery, the idea was always to keep things somewhat casual and raw.

The album was released by Don Thrasher and Kyle Melton’s Gas Daddy Go imprint and they encouraged the groups to not view this as a traditional split.

“We knew that we wanted Max to play steel on our stuff and we wanted Harold to sing on some of our stuff,” Payne says. “I helped Harold write one of their songs, and I sing a verse on it. We knew it was going to be collaborative, but I don’t think we knew just how collaborative it was going to be. Max plays on all our tracks.”

When asked if they enjoy studio work or playing live more, Payne says the two really go hand-in-hand.

“We want it to be focused on our songs and our music,” Payne says. “In that respect, the recordings almost come first a little bit, but the live show has to reinforce that. I feel like if you love a record and then you go see the band live and it’s only OK, that makes the record take a hit. Or, vice versa, if you see a band live and it’s great and you buy the CD and it’s only OK, that’s not great either. We try to put equal pressure on both.”

The New Old-Fashioned will perform on Friday, Nov. 6 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. Also on the bill will be Good English, Whoa Thunder and Me & Mountains. For more information, follow The New Old-Fashioned on social media or visit thenewoldfashioned.bandcamp.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Rusty Pate at RustyPate@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Rusty Pate
Reach DCP freelance writer Rusty Pate at RustyPate@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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