When John Blakesley finally recorded some of the first songs he’d written, his first studio experience grew into a collaborative hoedown.
His band, Hey Is For Horses, was joined in the studio by a few musician friends who helped Blakesley birth a batch of songs he has been performing as a soloist for years.
The Spokane quartet releases “Hey Everybody” tonight at 7 at a party on the rooftop of the Saranac Building. The $5 entry to the all-ages event includes a free barbecue plate and a copy of the album.
Along with Hey Is For Horses members – Tyler Kuhn on bass and mandolin, guitarist Damien Ramirez and drummer Doug Tobey (aka DJ Stone Tobey of Bad Penmanship hip-hop collective) – “Hey Everybody” features appearances by Jesi B. and the All Rites lead guitarist Justyn “JP” Priest, KYRS personality DJ Yochanan, and Spokane vocalist at-large Olivia Kintzelli.
“I’m finally getting these songs documented and it ended up being a bunch of friends and guests,” Blakesley said. “These are songs I wrote in Montana and performed with an acoustic guitar as a singer-songwriter, so I’m pretty excited about having these songs sound the way I always wanted them to sound, as far as guitar solos and backup vocalists.”
“Hey Everybody” is representative of what Blakesley described as original Northwest rock ’n’ roll, influenced by indie, folk and blues.
All of the songs on the new record were written by Blakesley, save for “Body and Soul,” a Hey is For Horses collaborative live show staple with former Horseman Luke Pate, who often opens for HifH. In live shows, Blakesley said he does a freestyle rap at the end, and so he did when he recorded his vocals for the song, leaving the scratch take on the album.
That’s fairly indicative of Blakesley’s writing process, he said. He never actually writes down his lyrics.
“If it’s something I’m meant to play and continue to play, then I’ll always remember it,” said Blakesley.
The lyrics on “Hey Everybody” were largely the product of a serious and complicated relationship.
“We’ve moved together and broke up and we’re still friends. … We’re still working through things, we share custody of a dog. There are a few songs about that on the album,” Blakesey said.
Following the release of “Hey Everybody,” Blakesley will take the album on a solo tour with friends in regional indie band Old Bear Mountain.