Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Catching Up With: David Tanklefsky

I recently met David after a gig at Passim a couple weeks back. We had the usual "hey, your a musician, I am too" convo, but they unlike most people, he actually followed up with an email. So we got to chatting and he has some really great stuff going on around town that you all should know about. Find out all about that and more in this round of Catching Up With...

1) So to start, who are you and what do you do?

DT: I'm a songwriter and guitarist whose been playing in the Boston area for a number of years now as well as touring as a solo musician and in friend's bands. Growing up in the Boston suburbs, I started off playing in a band called Grimis (incidentally, that was Guitar God Lyle Brewer's first band) when I was in high school.  We got a ton of support from the local youth services department in our hometown, who helped us put on a ton of shows when we were starting off and their thing was always like "find your passion, don't wait for anyone else, make it happen, create opportunities for others." That band survived for years (we still play a couple times a year) and it really helped show me the way friendships and communities can evolve into a scene and encompass many different musical environments and locales.   So from that beginning, I got really into I guess what you could call DIY, booking tours on my own, introducing friends to each others music, just trying to support people the way they have supported me.

2) I understand you run a residency at the Armory. For those that don't know about the armory tell us about the space a bit and let us know how you got involved hosting shows there.

DT: The Somerville Armory is totally a hidden gem. They constantly put on all sorts of great events: concerts, art shows, local business events, arts and crafts fairs, the New England Folk Music Archives are housed there. It's just an awesome place for creative people looking to make something happen. A couple summers ago, I was trying to put together a residency just basically as a way to workshop some new songs before I got into the studio to start working on my solo record. I had played a show at the Armory Cafe a few years before so I approached them to see if they'd be interested in putting together a monthly show. I got some friends and local musicians involved and word kind of spread from there that it was a fun gig. The audience is always pretty engaged and excited to see some pretty great musicians in such an intimate setting. It gives the musicians a chance to try some new things out, work out new songs, in a very low-risk environment.  I always tell people there's no better deal in town and when you look at some of the musicians we've had come through and you consider that it's free (we take donations for out-of-town musicians), I think that's probably true. We've had David Johnston, Hayley Reardon, Emily Mure, Elijah Ocean, Lyle Brewer, even my friend Emil who's a DJ and fronts an electro/pop band in Brooklyn came and played an acoustic set.  I usually do it for three or four months in a row (this current run is January-April), then take a month or two off, then organize another set of shows. My idea was just to create like a monthly hang where artists could perform in a listening room/low-key setting and enjoy themselves and I'm pleased that that's what it's become.

3) The next big one is on 2/15. Who is playing and why is this an exciting one for you?

DT: I'm really excited to have Sarah Borges in the house. Sarah is obviously a household name for anyone that's into country and folk music in this area. She's a great entertainer and front woman but I'm psyched for her to just showcase her tremendous voice and songs.  It'll also be just after her CD release so she'll probably have her new record for sale too.  And opening the night is my good friend Cat Prewitt, who is a really honest and beautiful songwriter from Philadelphia. Cat and I have been friends for a bunch of years and the depth of her writing and her openness is really unique among people I've played with.  We've also got a packed March show with Lyle Brewer, Tim Noyes (from Aunt Martha) and Hayley Readon! and an April show with a few of the dudes from the NYC contingent, Ricky Lewis and Tory Hanna. So a bunch of good stuff coming up!

4) Community is a big part of the reason this blog exists. It seems you are doing justice to the
community by hosting these events. What are you personal thoughts on the folk/roots scene in town?

DT: Coming back to Boston from New York a few years ago, one of the things I've really come to appreciate is the level of intimacy of the local music scene here. I love being able to walk up the street to Toad on a Monday night and watch David Johnston and the White Owls or see Lyle play at Atwoods on Saturday afternoons. There's a pretty friendly attitude without some of the pretension that you see in other places. I lived in Brooklyn for a few years and I'm still down there all the time and love the music scene there too, but there's definitely a "finger-on-the-pulse-coolest-kids-in-school" vibe there. The Boston scene seems to be more working musicians who are passionate about making good music.

5) Plug anything else you feel like getting out there!

DT: Shameless Plug Alert: My first full-length solo album drops April 22nd! Then I'm going on tour! CD release show at the Middle East Upstairs on April 25th!

Also, I play guitar in a band of my childhood friends now based in New York called Craig Martinson and the Heartbeats. Craig is another fantastic songwriter who may have cryogenically frozen Brian Wilson's blood circa 1965 and diabolically injected it into his own body. He's that good.
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