May 05, 2009

The Lonely H: "Concrete Class" questionnaire

The Lonely H
photo: Steven Walter

Welcome back to the Seventies. The Lonely H from Port Angeles, Washington, continue their quest to bring classic rock with great harmonies to the 21st Century. Their third album Concrete Class is proof that they are growing rapidly - investing time and effort to get it right paid off handsomely, especially on tracks like rock anthem Going Out West and the slow blues of White Horse Tears.

There are a lot bands tapping into the early seventies riffs (The Dirty Sweet, Rose Hill Drive, Wolfmother, The Yelling), but The Lonely is way ahead of the competition. They can get away with CCR guitar lines (Girl From Jersey), and intros straight out of the Simon and Garfunkel songbook (Straight A Chord). What makes them stand is their ability to track their vocals and build great harmonies underpinning the rough-edged lead vocals of singer Mark Fredson and the rawk of guitar player Eric Whitman.

The Lonely H are quick to the draw, even when they slow down. Recommended listening for all classic rock lovers.

The Lonely H:
Mark Fredson: vocals, keyboards
Eric Whitman: guitar
Johnny Whitman: bass
Ben Eyestone: drums

The Lonely H: Concrete Class

Concrete Class is released thru The Control Group. Release date: June 9th.

  1. Right Down To Me
  2. Cold Blues
  3. White Horse Tears
  4. Going Out West
  5. The Singer
  6. Diggin' A Hole
  7. Take Care
  8. Phoenix
  9. Other Side of the Water
  10. Girl From Jersey
  11. The River
  12. Strike A Chord

The HCTF "The Lonely H" questionnaire
Guitar player Eric Whitman kindly answered some questions via email:

You call yourselves The Lonely H. How come?
"Really? I thought it was obvious... Well its really an elementary English lesson -- When you ask a question, it always begins with a "who, what, when, where, or why," however, we're forgetting something... "how." And at that, we represent the lonely "how" (it doesn't begin with a "w"). And "how" questions are easily more thought provoking and intuitive, as are we."

No sign of a writer's block after releasing three full length albums within two years?
"Nah, we never really worry about having enough songs to fill an album, it just happens naturally. Mark and I work together on the individual parts to a song and then the rest of the guys throw in their ideas. When you have four heads thinking together its hard run dry. We're all comfortable enough with eachother that we can say "Hey dude, that fucking sucks" or "Whoa, Johnny, that idea is complete shit, no hard feelings." I find that there's a grain between youth and prolificancy. We have energy, and are sometimes too ambitious, but that makes for some great songs."

Concrete Class has more mid-tempo songs than the previous albums, with the all acoustic Take Care and the Creedence-alike Girl From Jersey as notable examples. Are you guys slowing down? "Fuck that, we're speeding up. Just because a song has acoustic guitars and a lot of layered harmonies it doesn't make it slower. Songs like Girl from Jersey and The Singer have faster tempos than a good portion of the rock songs. We have been diving deeper and deeper into Americana and country, though. It's really just we're were at right now. This album is about traveling and the American experience, and with that comes times when you miss your mother when you're a thousand miles away (Phoenix), but also the excitement and liberation of driving cross-country (Out West). There may be a few slower tempo songs on Concrete Class, but the Lonely H is driving way faster than they ever have."

The backing vocals are more prominent. Did you guys spend a lot of time to harmonize your vocals?
"Really, we spent a lot more time on everything in the studio. It took us about 75 days to finish the record, I knew I either had to start doing blow or just finish the fucking thing. So we finished it. Anyways, we did spend a lot of time on the vocals. Mark and I tracked most of them, but all of us did our fair share. A harmony section sounds really nice when you have four different voices. Songs like The River and Phoenix were done mostly live, but other songs such as Girl from Jersey took a fucking week just to get the chorus harmonies tracked. We don't use that "auto-tune" shit either, nothing pisses me off more than T-Pain's robot voice -- that shit's fake and requires absolutely no skill. You might as well just type something about "ridin' smooth at the club" into your computer and just have it fucking rap. It's the same goddamned thing, I just can't wait till it becomes a thing of the past."

You keep a busy live schedule. With music sales going down the drain, being a good live band is essential to keep afloat. Lot of band are selling soundboard recordings of their shows to put some extra cash into their accounts. Any plans to do likewise?
"Yeah, we've heard of that before, but we've never done it. We were flirting with the idea of recording every show live, and for the ticket price plus 5 dollars, you can get a CD of the same show that you just saw. There's really a lot of ways to go about that. We entered the music scene as sales were declining rapidly, so we were never taught that CD sales were the way to make a living. We've always valued the live show because that's what you really remember. You know, sure you might have smoked your first joint listeing to Ozzy, but everyone remembers that time when he decapitated the bat (or dove, as some say). To make more money, we would just sell our bodies after the show."

"Take us to the Netherlands now. Please!!!"

Video: The Lonely - The River (acoustic)


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