Gleewood will play a series of shows in the Wasatch Back
July 15, 2014
New Mexico’s Gleewood, comprised of guitarist Jhett Schiavone, bassist Callie Sioux and drummer Myles Erdman, have a series of performances scheduled throughout Utah.
Six of those will be in venues along the Wasatch Back including the High West Distillery on July 16, Woodenshoe Park on July 18, Atticus Books, Tea and Coffee on July 23, the Notch Pub in Samak on July 26 and a couple of dates at Tarahumara Mexican Restaurant in Midway.
Admission to the Atticus performance is $12 and proceeds will benefit Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit that provides food in disaster areas.
Schiavone said he appreciates Atticus, which usually closes at 5 p.m., for staying open for the concert.
"They’ve been awesome enough to open up their doors late," Schiavone told The Park Record during an interview from Grand Junction, Colorado. "One ticket feeds 12 children. And [we] can’t wait to provide for kids from around the world who are in serious need of food."
Getting involved with a nonprofit organization is something that came easily to the band, because of Schiavone’s upbringing.
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"I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, but we were also just a bunch of hippies," he said.
Schiavone got interested in the guitar because of his parents.
"My parents introduced me to late-’60s rock and reggae and I had a guitar in my room, because it looked good next to my skateboard," he said with a laugh. "But I really didn’t start playing until I turned 18 and thought I was going to move to Hawaii."
Schiavone bought a plane ticket and rented an apartment on the North Shore of Oahu.
"Jack Johnson is one of my musical heroes and he grew up there, so that’s where I headed," Schiavone said. "I figured if I invested in a really good guitar, I would feel like I had to live up to it."
After six months, the budding musician couldn’t get a job and ran out of money.
"I basically learned to play guitar and surf, but then I had to hightail it back home," Schiavone said "But being around the musical culture got me inspired and the guitar got into my blood."
Three years ago, Schiavone and Sioux began dating. During that time they started writing music.
"We got married a year and a half ago and shortly thereafter, we got out and really started playing," Schiavone said.
The duo decided to record their self-titled debut album. They hooked up with a studio and producer out of Roswell, and recruited Erdman on the drums and a fiddle player named Corinna Ripple.
"We put our hearts and souls into the project because we wanted to put out an album that was on par with other touring bands, rather than just an extended play and waiting for the phones to come," Schiavone said. "Once the album came out, Callie and I quit our day jobs managing restaurants and put what little stuff we had acquired into a trailer and a Honda Element and hit the road."
The duo didn’t know a lot of the music industry, but did know about restaurants, bars and coffee shops.
"We banged on all of these doors and played anywhere and everywhere we could, while making contacts and gaining experience," Schiavone said. "We didn’t know how well it was going to go, but now our drummer is with us full time and this is our seventh month on the road. So we’re doing pretty well.
"Right now our summer is booked throughout the Southwest and we’re currently working on booking a tour through Alabama, Arkansas and Oklahoma for the fall," he said. "We’re enjoying the music and we’re enjoying the road. So we’re just putting one foot in front of the other and see where that takes us."
Gleewood, which takes its name after the medieval word for guitar, has always been acoustically driven and the trio wants to hold onto that concept.
"We still play acoustic guitars, even thought my guitar can get into some psychedelic effects as can Callie’s bass," Schiavone said.
Even with the addition of percussionist Edrman, the group stays acoustic.
"Myles pushes us," Schiavone confessed. "Callie and I have a tendency to get focused on the lyrics, whereas Myles is dialed into the musicality of everything. Being a jazz player, he challenges us. He’s the third element that spices things up and pulls us together."
Adding her thoughts to the conversation, Sioux said although the tour is going well, there are still some challenges that Gleewood faces when it hits the road.
"You still hope you can eat from show to show," she said. "You travel hoping you make enough money from CD sales and tips to make the next drive to the next city.
"For us, especially, being independent musicians and in the folk-rock category who don’t play tons of covers, things can be a little different," Sioux said. "When we first started, our gigs were really spread out. We would travel from Colorado to the southern end of New Mexico to Utah, so it was hard to connect the dots, and it took awhile to build a tour."
Once on the road, the trio still has to find time to book other shows.
"You find out quickly as you do that, you have a little less time to write music," Sioux said laughing. "You figure out, once again, that your life requires a lot more balance than you thought."
Also, the band sometimes plays for small audiences.
"You really have to seal your mind from becoming disappointed," Sioux said. "I mean we play places where no one knows who we are and there aren’t many people in the audience. Sometimes no one shows up. So you have to keep up the confidence that we are doing this for a purpose and that purpose is to share the music that we play."
Still, the musicians are doing what they love.
"On the flip side is you get to travel a lot and visit places we’ve never been before," Sioux said.
Gleewood will play a series of concerts in Summit and Wasatch counties this week. The first will be at High West Distillery, 703 Park Ave., on July 16 at 9:30 p.m., the second will be on Friday, July 18, at Woodenshoe Park in Peoa at 6:30 p.m. and the third at the Notch Pub in Samak on July 26, at 8 p.m. The group will perform a fundraiser for Feed My Starving Children at Atticus Books, Tea and Coffee House, 738 Main Street, on July 23, at 7 p.m., and the trio will perform Tarahumara in Midway on July 19 and 25 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.gleewoodmusic.com . For more information about Feed My Starving Children, visit http://www.fmsc.org.
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