Friday, March 25, 2011

The Great Nonfiction

For David Brasher, The Great Nonfiction represented a change from his usual environment; a chance to expand into deeper musical territory.

The guitarist and one of three vocalists for the Montevallo-based, indie/pop group, Brasher came to the university after playing electric guitar in a Birmingham rock band. He wanted to continue playing music, but knew it was time to take a different musical path.

“I had been writing a bunch of songs, but I only had an acoustic guitar and no rock band to play with, so my music changed a whole lot to fit the blueprint for those songs because I had always played electric. I always wanted to sing but was too afraid to, but I figured now was the best time to do it because I had all these songs and if someone was going to do it, it would have to be me.,” Brasher said.

He soon recruited two fellow Montevallo students, keyboardist/vocalist Maranda Jennings and vocalist Katelyn Perkins, to form The Great Nonfiction. The group’s sound relies heavily on 2 and 3-part harmonies, acoustic guitar picking and strumming in keys that stray away from your typical G, C, and D found on the average radio single, and stirring piano arpeggios and chords. The band cites their major influence as The Civil Wars (another piano and acoustic guitar duo with haunting male and female harmonies). Others include Relient K,John Mayer, Bon Iver, Paper Route, and Birmingham-based singer-songwriter Matthew Mayfield.

The band’s lyrics are wrought with a plethora of emotions and themes ranging from the severing of friendships (“House Fire”) to love (“By The Riverside”) and heartbreak (“When She Sings”). The push for authenticity is also prevalent and is inspiration for the group’s name.

“One thing David used to tell me when I first joined was that more than anything, he wanted his music to be honest,” Jennings said. “So I think that’s one of the biggest things, not putting up any barriers or false pretenses or even cookie-cutter stuff, but just letting our music be honest.”

Though Brasher composes most of the lyrics and music, a fair amount of collaboration has gone into their first batch of original songs.

“We did “Wake Up Everyone” together and “By the Riverside” together. We sat at a piano with the guitar, agonizing over every note and being frustrated with parts that wouldn’t come,” Jennings said. “But usually it seemed like the more frustration we had about it, the better the end result is. It can be painful, but we can get some really cool stuff together.”

“It’s a rare thing that we start writing something and are immediately satisfied with it,” Brasher said. “For us it’s a process of constantly deconstructing and rebuilding the songs lyrically, melodically, and musically to try and get the best possibly song we can.”

“My favorite part, since I’m normally an opera singer, is getting to collaborate with people who do something amazing that I normally don’t get to do everyday in the classroom,” said Perkins.

Since the summer of 2010, the band has been in the studio recording these songs for their debut release. Entitled Ghost Stories, the album reminisces on past relationships. “The songs on the record are about people who no longer have the same place in your life that they once did, or are not in your life anymore, or are about situations you went through,” Brasher said. “When we play the songs, it’s a way of reliving those memories and feelings, or bringing back those ghosts.”

An official drop date has not been set, but the band hopes to continue playing shows, writing songs, and making a name for themselves. Major goals include securing an opening act spot for Matthew Mayfield or The Civil Wars at Workplay, finishing the cd, and inviting more people to share in the stories that resonate from the heart of the songs.

“I hope the audience likes and connects with our music, and us. It’s definitely a goal for our passion and love for playing music to come across when we play live,” Brasher said. “Ultimately, I want to play music that emotionally affects the listener. I would love for that to happen when we play live.”

“This is my dream. This what I want to do for the rest of my life,” he continues. “Music and songwriting is my passion. It’s the only outlet I’ve ever had, and I love being able to share it with everybody. To have people come up to you and tell you they really liked a certain song, and how it moved them because they went through the same thing is such an incredible feeling.”