Monday, April 26, 2010

It's Gold Motel's Vinyl District!

This week we've asked the members of Gold Motel to toss out a few musical inspirations beyond the norm in these parts—those being vinyl and record stores—and they've come up with some interesting stuff indeed. First up, guitarist Eric Hehr. —Ed.

“My breaking heart and I agree / That you and I / Will never be

So with my best, my very best I am settin’ you free / Oh honey, / I wish you shelter from the storm / A cozy fire to keep you warm

Oh but most of all I wish you love. / But most of all, when snowflakes fall / I wish you love. / But most of all, when snowflakes fall, / I wish you love.”
—Sam Cooke, I Wish You Love

I could write volumes upon volumes on what Sam Cooke’s voice means to me. More so than any other vocalist – or musician for that matter – Sam Cooke has always hit my ears the hardest – has pulled my heartstrings the most. To me, his voice epitomizes perfection. It sums up that unexplainable sense of nostalgic wistfulness; evoking memories of youth, heartbreak, and evocative restlessness. Somewhere within his golden vocal chords, Sam Cooke was able to emulate the power of the soul into heart-felt notes and heart-breaking melodies that capture the core of emotional depth and sensitivity. His voice is spiritual and secular, sophisticated and effortless, passionate and strenuous, and is layered with an indefinable sense of feeling. Unfortunately, despite my attempts to try, the irrefutable beauty of Sam Cooke’s voice cannot be put into words.

Famed German writer, Goethe, put it the best when he said, “Music begins where words end.” Often, I find that the most beautiful things in life are also the most ambiguous. They defy logic and reason, and induce thoughts and emotions within us that cannot be rationalized or explained. They provoke us to reflect or react, and the music of Sam Cooke allows me to simultaneously do both.

Sam Cooke died violently under cheap and gaudy circumstances in Los Angeles in 1964 at the young age of thirty-three. At the time, Sam Cooke was called “The Black Elvis” for disguising soul and gospel music as mainstream pop music, the same way that Presley disguised pop music as soul and R&B. He was a prodigy across the board: a songwriter and a producer who owned his own publishing company and record label. He had more hit singles than most artist could ever wish for – most of which displayed gospel singing without reverence: “’Chain Gang,’ is one of the strangest pop records of all time and is taken for granted: a black-history buff moved by an actual Georgia road gang to purloin their sound and banalize their longing for freedom. “Who else but Cooke,” Talty asks, “could see this tableau, the prisoners chanting in a call-and-response pattern as old as slavery itself, and think ‘Top 40 hit’?” (The Village Voice).

At the height of his career, Cooke was at his lowest point in his personal life. He was lost spiritually, confused emotionally, and had taken comfort in excessive drinking and drug use. His indulgences led him to a lonely death in a shoddy motel room; a bottle of whiskey and a copy of The Bible found lying next to each other in the passenger seat of his car.

Perhaps the most charming aspect of Cooke’s music is also the most charming of his aspect of his life: it is both confident and tragic. It is both a representation of his glanderous pop dreams, and the internal emptiness of falling asleep next to cheap hookers; the righteousness of the Civil Rights movement and the swimming pool death of his one year old son. It is the embodiment of joyous late nights of infinity and bittersweet mornings of expiration; loneliness cloaked in bravado. If Elvis channeled the depths of gospel music through the soul stirring voice of a Southern white boy, Cooke held up the other half of the bargain. His voice and music is a poignant transparency that comes across as honest, na├»ve, and unpremeditated.
—Eric Hehr, Guitar | Gold Motel

Sam Cooke - You Send Me (Mp3)
Sam Cooke - (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons (Mp3)
Sam Cooke - Summertime (Mp3)
Sam Cooke - Cupid (Mp3)
Sam Cooke - Sad Moon (Mp3)

It's Gold Motel's Vinyl District!

I'm working on a theme week to come called 'Lil' Triggers' - things that set the mind off on a memory as a result of a song or something.

So, I'll tell you what it was with Gold Motel. It was the 70's era George Harrison-esque guitar line in 'Make Me Stay' that well, had me lingering as the rest of the band won me over, post-sinewy 70's guitar break. I settled in and was made to feel quite welcome, thank you.

Leading up to two dates in our neck of the woods— Thursday night at DC9 and Friday night at M.I.C.A. in Baltimore— Gold Motel will be hanging out with us here at TVD HQ this week as we turn the blog over to the band to work their charms upon ya. And of course you'll have an opportunity to win tickets for both shows in our area as well as copies of their debut EP.

We'll kick our week off with front person Greta Morgan's Gold Motel 101:

Introducing: Gold Motel | When my other band, The Hush Sound, called an indefinite hiatus in the end of 2008, I immediately began plotting my next move. Literally, I moved across the country from Chicago to Los Angeles to write an album in the sun-soaked hills of Southern California. Figuratively, I moved through a variety of musical styles until I arrived at a sound I considered different enough from The Hush Sound, while remaining true to my taste. Listening to tons of Motown, Elvis Costello, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, and 60’s girl groups, I honed in on what I wanted to create–a collection of summery songs that are both hopeful and wistful; an album that represents to me the essence of a carefree summer; a sound that is modern, while honoring the crowning achievements of pop music.

I returned to Chicago to record with good friend Dan Duszynski (of Chicago band This Is Me Smiling) and we tracked “Perfect In My Mind” and “Make Me Stay” in a few quick days. Soon enough, we wanted to make an official group to finish the full-length album with us and start touring. We teamed up with other This Is Me Smiling members Matt Minx (bass) and Adam Kaltenhauser (drums), and The Yearbooks’ Eric Hehr (guitar).

Gold Motel played our first show in December 2009, followed by a week opening sold-out gigs for Butch Walker, did a West Coast headlining tour, and are about to embark on an East Coast headlining tour with L.A. friends Family Of The Year.

Our full-length debut, Summer House, will be released on June 1st. Our music video for “We’re On The Run”, the opening track from Summer House, is being premiered exclusively through AOL / Spinner today at Hope to catch you all on the road!

—Greta and Gold Motel

Gold Motel - Make Me Stay (Mp3)
Gold Motel - Perfect In My Mind (Mp3)