Working on new material is the response most recording artists had when asked what they were doing during chats in 2020. Since the novel coronavirus derailed the live music industry in mid-March, it made sense that musicians created while on performance hiatus. Expect quite a bit of music to see the light of day in 2021 created by musicians from Spokane and beyond.
Myles Kennedy has been writing songs throughout the pandemic in his South Hill home. The vocalist-guitarist, who has taken a break from his band, Alter Bridge, recently completed a solo album, which will be released at some point during the spring. Kennedy recorded videos and worked out songs in an empty Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox two weeks before Christmas.
“A huge thank you to our friends at the Fox in Spokane for letting me bang out a few tunes in what I consider to be one of the world’s most beautiful theaters,” Kennedy said via Facebook. “Definitely made me realize how much I miss playing live.”
One of the most entertaining music video clips of 2020 is the Rockabilly Space Force’s “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” a cover of Pete Seeger’s clever classic. Space Force multi-instrumentalist Garrin Hertel is talking about recutting the video since we’re all still waist deep in all of this nearly 10 months after the shutdown. But that’s not all the entertaining and inspired Rockabilly Space Force is focusing on right now.
“We’re working on a podcast,” Hertel said. “We’re working on a visual component that could incorporate animation. We’re trying not to paint ourselves into corners.”
The Space Force is working on a project that will feature a band in the not-too-distant future traveling into space and taking advantage of new frontier opportunities.
“It will be a rockabilly fantasia,” Hertel said. “Our look at the future will be fun, not dystopian. We’ve had enough of that. I want what we do next to be visually stimulating so it would enhance our live shows.”
Hertel is looking for a visual artist to help the group realize its grand vision. “The artist can be part of the band without playing an instrument,” Hertel said. “But if the artist played an instrument, well, we would love that. We’re polishing up what we have, and we’re honing it, and we’re writing a bunch of original songs, as well.”
Former Mead High School student Morgan Keene, who is part of the Disney vocal group DCappella, is crossing her fingers that her group will tour Japan during the summer.
“I hope it works out, but it’s not looking good for 2021,” Keene said while calling from her Orlando home. “Things are looking better internationally than in America as far as tours go, but I’m not betting on going on tour in Asia – but we’ll see.”
In the meantime, Keene is creating new songs. “I’m pretty heavy into songwriting,” Keene said. “I can record my own music in my down time. I’m looking ahead to my next chapter since my career with DCappella is probably coming to a close. What’s next for me is moving back to New York and working on a Broadway career. I feel for my friends in the Broadway community.”
Speaking of New York, that’s where Coeur d’Alene’s Amber Fiedler is residing. Fiedler, who returned home to perform at Honey Eatery on New Year’s Eve, was part of Next Stage’s “New Sound of the Season” virtual concert.
“I’m just doing what I can here in New York City,” Fiedler said. “When the restaurants were open, I was able to do a couple gigs down in Times Square, which was amazing. They are shut down again, and I’ve just been releasing original music and doing some virtual stuff.”
The charismatic “American Idol” contestant has proven to be a go-getter scoring whatever gigs she can. “I’m doing the best I can with this crazy situation,” Fiedler said.
North Spokane’s Jamison Sampson changed his sonic direction during the pandemic. “I had a musical epiphany over the shutdown,” Sampson said. “I switched my playing style to reggae-rock. I’ve been writing and practicing like crazy. Hopefully, I’ll be able to play out and showcase some of these songs at some point in 2021.”
On the national level, some of the most highly anticipated releases are the Foo Fighters’ “Medicine at Midnight,” which is slated for February release; Sting’s “Duets,” which will drop in March; and a host of projects with no exact date such as albums by Adele, Alicia Keys, Liz Phair, Future, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Cure, Weezer, My Bloody Valentine and Modest Mouse.
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