By Shaughn Kennedy
You can buy Life Along Side here
When I first picked up the album Life Along Side by Often the Thinker (OTT), I stared at the cover for a moment. I realized the brilliance of the band’s name because there I was, deep in thought. The picture on the cover had an extremely nostalgic feeling. A thousand thoughts and memories came to me from my childhood; late afternoons in the humid Wisconsin summers, driving through the country to or from a relative’s house for a family gathering. The cover picture alone brought all these emotions to me. As I heard the first notes of “Just Thinking,” it was like a doorway was opened to a theater where those memories were being shown to the soundtrack of Life Along Side. I wondered how amazing it was that OTT was able to tell such stories through the songs they had written –AND- how they did it without using any lyrics.
Sixteen total artists, lead by Drew Lundberg, played on this, their sophomore album (including former members of the Treats Andrew Isham and Tim Payne who also produced). Lundberg also played in Cait and the Girls and Coloratura as well as engineering at Standing Water Studios.
Life Along Side has a Dave Matthews jam feel and is tightly put together. There many great musical moments with driving rhythms, airy melodies and ambience from guitar, trumpet, saxophone and trombone. Highlights include the dynamic “Always Moving,” the beautiful “East Winds,” and the final track, “12 | 21.” The latter is a wonderful song, featuring pedal steel guitar played by Philip Sterk. All the artists who played on the album showed great skill in the art of constructing order from chaos.
Often The Thinker
Guitars- Drew Lundberg, Zach Gorecki, Andrew Isham, Geoff Sabin, Patrick Naughton, Philip Sterk,
Trumpet- Chris Clausen
Saxophone- Chris Daniels
Cello- Brian Grimm, Evan Kuhl,
Organ, Keys- Patrick Carr,
Bass- Tim Payne, Ben Birkinbine
Trombone- Jamie Kember
Drums- Travis Drumm, Paul Sirianni
Music written, produced, engineered and mixed by Drew Lundberg. Production assisted by Tim Payne.
The band has relocated from Madison to Boston, MA. They are currently working on a new album called “A Thousand Drops of Water”. The release date for the four tracks that make up the album is set for late May.