Old Sea Brigade

Premier Concerts and Manic Presents:

Old Sea Brigade

Jon Bryant, Figurine

Sat, April 6, 2019

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Space Ballroom (Front Room).

Hamden, CT


Tickets at the Door

This event is all ages

Old Sea Brigade
Old Sea Brigade
It really feels like coloring outside of the lines. For as much as the music of Old Sea Brigade remains rooted in Americana, indie, country, rock, and ambient soundscapes, it blurs and breaks barriers, tossing and turning between analog cinematic flourishes and provocative lyricism based on hard-won wisdom. Amidst this mélange of textures, Atlanta-born and Nashville-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Ben Cramer allows the emotion to resound loudest on his full-length debut, Ode To A Friend [Nettwerk].

“I put myself into my own bubble,” he explains. “The music doesn’t conform to one style. I’m in Nashville, but this isn’t straight ahead Americana or country. At the same time, it’s not just indie rock either. I chose to do something that felt like me. It’s the best representation of my songwriting and what I grew up loving about music. I hope you can pull your own meaning from it.”

He’s been encouraging audiences to do just that since first emerging in 2015. After the breakup of his last band, he wound up back in Atlanta at his parents’ house with “no idea what to do.” So, he figured it out.

The artist combed through his personal sonic archives, found inspiration, and started feverishly writing. Soon after, he teamed up with producer Jeremy Griffith to record Old Sea Brigade’s self-titled debut EP. The single “Love Brought Weight” caught fire, generating over 16 million Spotify streams. In the meantime, he inked a deal with NETTWERK after founder Terry McBride personally reached out on Facebook.

Between touring alongside Joseph, Luke Sital Singh, Lewis Watson, Julien Baker, John Paul White, and more, he released 2017’s Cover My Own EP. The lead single “Tidal Wave” quickly crossed the two-million-mark on Spotify as acclaim came from Clash, Indie Obsessive, Immersive Atlanta, and many others. During 2017, he retreated to Griffith’s Destin, FL studio in order to record what would become Ode To A Friend. In the studio, the sonic palette expanded to incorporate analog synths and a “squeaky, old, and out-of-tune piano that you’d never find in a music store—but gave the sound character.”

“This go-around, I brought in a lot of production ideas, since I’d been working with many artists in Nashville,” he explains. “I worked closely with Jeremy to bring the production to life. We went outside of the box and tried different things. That messed-up piano became a big theme of the record.”

On the lead single “Hope,” creaky ambience underscores the finger-picked acoustic guitar as he croons ponderous lines a la the opening admission, “I want to feel hope when I die, so I know what I left behind.”

He recalls, “I wrote that in Laurel Canyon at a friend’s house. That was first experience writing in L.A. like that. It wrote itself pretty quickly. It takes a while for me to figure out what a song is about. It was being really honest though. That’s how I’d describe it.”

“Feel You” sways between a steady beat offset by his gravelly delivery and sparse, off-time piano chords. “It takes on multiple meanings,” he reveals. “It could be like a bad relationship, or it could be something else, depending on your experience.”

“Seen A Ghost” hypnotizes with its airy guitars and ethereal production as “Cigarette” lights up embers of delicate picking and resounding vocals. Barely over two minutes, the title track and closer “Ode To A Friend” leaves a lasting impression that’s both heartfelt and heartbreaking with a vocal mid-section that practically levitates on the energy of raw feeling.

“When I started Old Sea Brigade, the time that followed was the best two years of my life,” he goes on. “I could tour and work on music full-time. In the middle of all that happening, one of my best friends actually committed suicide. It’s a heavy record in that respect. I came up with the lyrics right after he passed. I didn’t want a normal structure. It’s almost like an interlude to tie up the album dedicated to him. He was always such a big proponent and fan of my songs. He encouraged me to move towards a solo career. The title made sense. I finally felt vulnerable enough to put out music that was close to me.”

That’s why it’s so easy to get close to Old Sea Brigade. Cramer opens the floodgates emotionally and forges an unbreakable connection by simply being himself.

“I’d love for someone who is listening to feel like this is different and new, but also realize the vulnerability of the music,” he leaves off. “That’s definitely something I’ve struggled with in the past. This record is my leap of faith to express music in the truest way I can. I want to keep doing that.”
Jon Bryant
Jon Bryant
We look for connection everywhere.

It's why we're on our smartphones constantly. It's why we listen to music. It's why we go to church. It's why we get married. It's why we wake up in the morning. No matter how civilized we become, there's an innate inclination towards tribalism. That yearning won't be pacified until it's satiated or satisfied by the embrace of a tribe either.

Halifax-born and Vancouver-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Jon Bryant explores the conundrum of connection on his full-length debut for Nettwerk, Cult Classic.

"Over the past few years I've really become a skeptic. Thanks to social media, politics, religion and news media, etc.," he explains. "Many songs on the album reflect that skepticism and emphasize the ways I've evolved as both a writer and person; spiritually, mentally and emotionally."

The artist's personal path simultaneously twisted and turned in the most unexpected of ways, eventually leading him from Seattle to Vancouver. New in town, Bryant sought connection, so he joined an undisclosed organization at the urging of a close friend who also belonged to this -- we'll call it a "group."

"I had my reservations, but I didn't want to shy away from something that engendered so much excitement," he admits. "I was fascinated because my friend was fascinated. The people were lovely and some of what they were teaching was very useful and tangible. However, as I went deeper, this weird dynamic started happening among my new friends. I was once told that, 'Falling into a belief system is like dying in your sleep, you don't notice when it happens.' After learning details about some very troubling events within the group, I left. Following my departure, my fascination with cults began to percolate. This curiosity influenced my writing and became a framework for the album's concept."

Reclaiming his independence, Bryant penned tunes everywhere from Nova Scotia and Vancouver to Seattle, Los Angeles, and Australia. He also rediscovered formative influences ranging from Jeff Buckley and The Police to Shuggie Otis and Michael McDonald, Massive Attack and The Smiths to Hall & Oates to Chris Isaac.

Retreating to the studio (Afterlife Studios in Vancouver) with producer John Raham for the first time, he set about recording Cult Classic in 2017. This time around, he switched up the process. Rather than compose on guitar, he challenged himself by writing on piano from the start and found childhood inspiration from artists such as Bruce Hornsby, The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan. By welcoming analog warm synths into the sonic architecture, he explored styles that he had always wanted to as well. As a result, the sound evokes a sweeping and soaring cinematic scope.

He introduces the record with the seventies-style shimmer and lithe guitar of "Paradise." Tiptoeing between ethereal instrumentation and simmering soul, he paints a vivid picture of breaking away from the pack as his falsetto croons, "I don't want to take the road of another." "It's primarily about going your own way," he says. "Instead of following, you leave your safety net, the tribe construct of safety, and chase your passion without being swayed by opinions. At the same time, you do so with the people you love. That's where life makes the most sense."

"Cultivated" snaps from a subtle groove into a synth-driven chant that's impossible to shake. Fittingly, it thematically digs into how a relationship can feel like a cult. Elsewhere, the slow burn of "Ya Ya Ya" thinly veils raw emotionality under a shimmering falsetto, and a rustle of clean guitar spirals towards a heavenly hook on "Did What I Did."

The breathy delivery of "At Home" belies a hypnotic urgency to return to the one we love as the minimalist hum of "Out of the Blue" concludes this rollercoaster with a quiet wish "just to hear the words, 'I love you.'"

Distilling dynamic Motown soul into a dream-folk framework punctuated by grunge spirit, Bryant has diligently refined a singular style since first emerging in 2009. Releasing his debut Two Coasts For Comfort, he made waves when the single "Deaf" was chosen as iTunes "Single of the Week." Throughout 2010, the troubadour hit the road and earned fans across North America and Europe one gig at a time.

As he landed syncs on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Rookie Blue, Scream, Cougar-town, and more, the artist's sophomore outing What Takes You arrived two years later. Most recently, 2016's Twenty Something yielded a string of fan favorites. "Light" clocked over 5.1 million Spotify streams, while "Wilderness" and "Heroine" both surpassed the 1.5 million-mark. Honesty remains a hallmark through and through.

Given Bryant's heartfelt honesty, Cult Classic is worth connecting to in the end.
Ashly LaRosa goes by the alias Figurine. She’s yet another artist who discusses sex and jealousy and all those sad, dark, deep-rooted things, often blurring the line between introspective sentimental realist and attention-seeking middle schooler. Instead of pragmatism and confidence, Figurine’s power lies in unbridled vulnerability. Her latest album, View From Inside, was released in September 2017, and features nine tracks of pure unapologetically selfish bullshit. Proficient in Microsoft Word and pillow talk, Figurine feels less lonely when she spills her guts to all of you. She’s kind of like when you’re at a fast food restaurant and the soda machine glitches and the soda spits out continuously and you can’t get it to stop.
Venue Information:
Space Ballroom (Front Room).
295 Treadwell Street
Hamden, CT, 06514