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Posted June 16, 2020 by Jeff in Tunes
 
 

The Explorers Club Pays Tribute to Its ’60s and ’70s Influences

The Explorers Club
The Explorers Club

The Explorers Club, a group revered for its “sunshine pop” reminiscent of ‘60s and ‘70s groups such as the Beach Boys, the Turtles and the Association, has just released two new albums, a self-titled affair and To Sing And Be Born Again. The latter is a ten-part love letter to their influences and features covers of tunes by the Lovin’ Spoonful, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Herb Alpert, the Zombies and others. Guest musicians include Steven Page, formerly of Barenaked Ladies, and Jay Gonzalez of Drive-By Truckers.

The two albums are available digitally, with vinyl and CD versions coming soon thereafter.

Three singles have already been released — “Ruby,” the kickoff track from The Explorers Club, “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight” from To Sing And Be Born Again (a song originally by Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart) and “Look to the Horizon.”

The Explorers Club is the brainchild of Jason Brewer, who founded the band in his native Charleston, SC before relocating to Nashville. The band received some positive feedback after issuing cover tunes as free downloads, and that made members think a covers album would be well-received.

“I still get asked about those songs, so there is obviously a demand for a covers album,” Brewer states in a press release. “I had a brand new album just about finished, which I think is one of the strongest things I’ve ever done. I figured I’ve got access to all this studio time and I’ve got some players to pull in to do it, so I’ll do an album of ‘60s covers, too. I just got to work and I finished both albums at the same time. It was an opportunity to give back to our hardcore followers who have loved the band for over ten years now.”

The self-titled album of originals is an artistic triumph that includes standout tracks “Love So Fine,” the Phil Spector-inspired “Look To the Horizon” and “Dawn” – The Explorers Club’s first exploration into bossa nova. “I had a solid lineup of musicians working with me on the previous albums and I catered to their tastes, but this time around I made the record that I wanted to make,” Brewer proclaims.

To Sing and Be Born Again presents a mix of top 10 hits (“I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight” by Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, “She’d Rather Be With Me” by The Turtles, “Kicks” by Paul Revere & The Raiders, “This Guy’s In Love With You” by Herb Alpert, “Quinn The Eskimo” by Bob Dylan via Manfred Mann) and obscurities. These include “Maybe After He’s Gone” by the Zombies and “Roses And Rainbows” by a pre-Three Dog Night Danny Hutton. “Can’t Find The Time,” originally by the “Bosstown Sound” band Orpheus as well as a later chart entry by Rose Colored Glass, features former Barenaked Ladies member Steven Page on vocals; the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Didn’t Have To Do It” features Jay Gonzalez of Drive-By Truckers.

“When I was a kid my neighbor had a bunch of cars from the ‘50s in his garage and he was always blasting Elvis, Chuck Berry, the Beatles and the Beach Boys,” says Brewer. “I liked that music better than the music that was current at the time. I listened to an oldies radio station in my hometown and studied the craft of songwriting.”

I’ve been a lifelong retrophile.

Grammy nominated producer Matt Goldman (Copeland, Underoath, Smalltown Poets), who had engineered the band’s first two albums, handled production on both projects. The majority of the album of originals was recorded live in Studio A in Nashville, where Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and the Byrds all cut records.

“It was really great to record organ overdubs with an old ribbon mic that Elvis Presley sang into,” says Brewer. “You can’t beat that!”


Jeff

 
Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at jeff@whopperjaw.net.