By Chris Rotolo, The Creator
When Thomas Wesley Stern released “Don’t Put My Whiskey Away” on February 21st, the lead single to the outfit’s debut full-length, American Pain, which is slated to drop on Friday (March 9th) with a release show at The Press Room, the track acted as an introduction to a fuller and more refined sound than what fans feasted upon with the group’s 2011 EP Hope Folk.
Woodwind accompaniment, a series of soft stick work, and a darker tone stood out on this track marking a progression in the outfit’s songwriting abilities, leaving the listener to beg the question, have we seen the last of the group’s rustic four-man string band aesthetic that captivated the Asbury Park music scene in the first place?
According to the Folk collective’s Joe Makoviecki, the style will remain intact, but the players will be rotating stage positions.
“I dont really wanna give away too much yet,” said Makoviecki. “Not until the show…let’s just say we’ll be hauling a lot more equipment from now on.”
And with that being said, Thomas Wesley Stern has returned with “Gabriella,” a string-laden composition, featuring the collective’s lauded multi-part harmony that washes over a majority of its catalogue, about a sailor who’s luck has run out, who speaks to his beloved Gabriella as his ship sinks to the lake bottom below…take a listen:
Continue reading for more on “Gabriella” in the words of Thomas Wesley Stern front-man Joe Makoviecki and be sure to catch the band this Friday (March 9th) at The Press Room (610 Bangs Ave) with Boardwalk favorite Accidental Seabirds and the inaugural performance of Lindsey DeSena. Doors are at 9 p.m. with a cover of $5 to be paid upon admission (cover charge goes directly to the artists).
“The song was first conceived months back,” explained Makoviecki, “maybe in the Fall or last Summer by BJ [Robert Jackson]. He wrote the first verse and we constructed the song little by little.”
“I wrote a verse by myself one night that I barely recalled,” he continued, “but saved on my laptop, and then we didnt touch it for a long time, not until we did our first tour.”
“We were in Nashville,” he continued, “staying the night at a ranch house converted into an industrial kitchen for a catering company. It was pretty damn creepy in there. Huge knives everywhere, sounds of mice in the basement, and we had candles goin, barely any food, and a little bit of beer.”
“So were sitting at this small round table,” Makoviecki said, wrapping up the tale, “with my laptop and no internet. And I start pulling up my files of unfinished lyrics and ideas and i came upon my scond verse for ‘Gabriella.’ So we sat down, started singing it, writing harmonies, seeing if my verse fit with Bob’s [Jackson] and it actually did…Gary wrote the last verse and we finished it that night.”
Thus, the acoustic styling of Thomas Wesley Stern, the beloved base of its catalogue, is not gone but merely matured, and its this direction that Makoviecki sees his band of brethren moving.
“We will always play songs as the four of us,” said Makoviecki in closing, “especially on tour. When it comes to songs like ‘whiskey,’ and the other handful of songs that involve more than stringed instruments, we will be switching roles, but it’ll still be us, it’ll still be Thomas Wesley Stern.”
BONUS FOR THOSE WHO READ THIS FAR!!! ANOTHER NEW SONG!!!!