The Artisanals’ debut LP delivers organic, retro rock
(Left to right) Josh Hoover, Clay Houle, Johnny Delaware, Zac Crocker, and Eric Mixon of The Artisanals; watch a music video for “Drag,” a song from the new album.
When Johnny Delaware walked away from the successful band SUSTO after a gig in late 2016, some questioned his motivation. But take one listen to the self-titled LP that his new group, The Artisanals, releases on September 21, and it becomes clear that the singer-songwriter just needed to let his own creative light shine.
Back in February 2017, the album became the first to be recorded at The Magic Barn, a facility in rural Iowa that houses the original equipment from famed New York City studio The Magic Shop. The likes of David Bowie, Lou Reed, and Foo Fighters cut tracks at the now-shuttered space, whose spirit lives on in the Midwest. “It was truly transcending,” says Delaware. “Before, we couldn’t sonically achieve what we did on this album. We were tracking using plug-ins, recording digitally. Tape is warm and makes all the frequencies fit so nicely.”
So why the delayed release date? “We wanted to get our ducks in a row,” he explains. That meant hooking up with a label (AWAL), a booking agent, and a management team. Plus, the band, including lead guitarist Clay Houle—who shares song-writing duties with Delaware—drummer Josh Hoover, bassist Eric Mixon, and a rotating cast of keyboardists, has been busy touring, trying out the new tunes on audiences around the country.
On September 29, it’s Charleston’s turn as The Artisanals celebrate the new album with a show at the Pour House. Buy a copy and you’ll be struck by the organic feel of the collection that begins with a groovy, sitar-drenched intro before moving on to “Angel 42,” evocative of the Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Standout tracks range from the tranquil “First Time” to “Grow With You,” which is sure to get folks dancing at shows. Find fall tour details at theartisanals.net.
Images by (band) Jennifer Elrod & (album cover) Marshall Hudson