It’s a good day for Wednesday … only on a Thursday
Fri., May 5, 2023
From left to right, the members of Wednesday include Alan Miller, MJ Lenderman, Ethan Bachtold, Karly Hartzman, Xandy Chelmis. The North Carolina-based band will swing by Spokane on during their tour in support of their new record, “Rat Saw God,” on May 11. (Brandon McClain)
“They have scoliosis from constant slumps in misery” is one of the many lyrics that leap from the voice of Karly Hartzman, who is adept at creating vivid imagery. Wednesday’s singer-songwriter has no problem hooking listeners with clever wordplay as with a guitar line.
“Lyrics are a priority for me,” Hartzman said while calling from Waco, Texas. “The words that I sing are important since I have something to say. My favorite songwriters, Lucinda Williams and Vic Chestnutt, made a name for themselves by doing that.”
Hartzman, 27, is a keen observer of life in the band’s hometown of Asheville, North Carolina. Her tunes, which range from early ‘90s influenced guitar-driven rock, reminiscent of Cat Power and Sonic Youth, to alt-country a la Drive by Truckers, are filled with detail. Hartzman sings about incidents in Planet Fitness parking lots, sipping Fanta, and lascivious acts under a dogwood tree. Hartzman’s sonic short stories are catchy and often compelling, which is a considerable feat.
The music world is catching on since Wednesday, which will perform Thursday at the Lucky You Lounge, is headlining a number of theaters with a 1,000 plus capacity during summer.
“It’s surreal,” Hartzman said. “I’m beyond grateful about this success. I’m just soaking this all in. It’s my dream of dreams to have people appreciate what we’re creating. I love that this gives me the opportunity to do my favorite things, which is to write songs and play those songs in front of an audience.”
Wednesday, which also includes guitarist Jake Lenderman, lap steel player Xandy Chelmis, bassist Ethan Bachtold and drummer Alan Miller, will showcase cuts from its new album, “Rat Saw God,” which was released last month.
“This will be our first time playing Spokane but we’ve only played out on the West Coast once. But we have so much to play when we come in.”
The prolific band, which formed in 2017, has released four albums prior to the eclectic and adventurous “Rat Saw God.”
“It goes back to how much I love to write,” Hartzman said. “It’s fortunate that I’m usually inspired and I’ve loved music ever since I was a kid.”
The music bug bit Hartzman when she was a pre-pubescent. “When I was in middle school, like seventh grade, my sister and I used to record MTV at 5 a.m., when they actually had music videos on,” Hartzman said. “I would watch Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance videos before going to school and that was the start of it for me. I’m not so much into that emo stuff anymore but those videos propelled me to dig deeper into music.”
A friend gave Hartzman a mixed tape in high school, which was filled with such iconic shoegazer acts as My Bloody Valentine and Ride. “When I got that tape I didn’t go to school that day,” Hartzman said. “I went to the park and listened to those songs over and over again. It was like I found my people.”
Wednesday is a unique shoegaze band since unlike many of its peers, it ‘s easy to discern what Hartzman is singing. “I want people to know what’s on my mind,” Hartzman said. “I have a message.”
Wednesday also conveys Hartzman’s stories through folksy clips, which are charming and at times goofy. “The videos are hard work, Hartzman said. “The videos aren’t fun. I don’t know why I do them until I see the final product. Videos are another way of connecting with an audience. The cool thing about the videos we make is that we have our friends and families in the videos. My mom said something so dark the other day. She said, ‘I can die now that I left my mark by being in a Wednesday video.’ It’s so crazy she shared that with me.”
Fans throughout the country are sharing their enthusiasm over Wednesday’s tunes. No wonder Hartzman is showing no signs of scoliosis since she has every reason to hold her head high.
“I do feel good right now,” Hartzman said. “It’s a great time for us. But there are people out there that have a lot of back pain and mental anguish. The stress of life connects with what I wrote about with scoliosis in that song (“Quarry”). Life’s hard, especially when you’re in a band. I’m just so thankful for where we are now and I’m willing to work hard so that we can continue doing what we’re doing.”
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