The Saint Johns

Early Show

The Saint Johns

Birdtalker, Lily Mae

Thu, September 15, 2016

Doors: 6:30 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY

$10.00 - $12.00

This event is 21 and over

The Saint Johns - (Set time: 8:00 PM)
The Saint Johns
Jordan Meredith and Louis Johnson of The Saint Johns have the ingredient every special duo needs: chemistry. Theirs is the kind of relationship where neither finishes a sentence because the other already gets it in just a few words. It’s the kind of relationship that starts at a friend’s Taco Tuesday party in St. Augustine, Florida, in 2008. And it’s a relationship everyone assumes is romantic. But this meet-cute has an unusual ending – it doesn’t end in marriage, but a beautiful partnership nevertheless that has yielded The Saint Johns’ debut album Dead of Night.

“I met Jordan at a party and she happened to have a guitar,” Johnson said. “All of our friends were either hooking up or drunk or sleeping and we just stayed up playing shitty covers of Jack Johnson songs until our ears were bleeding. We were definitely impressed by each other.” Not long after, Meredith landed a gig at a local bar and invited Johnson to help fill a few long sets. Seven years later as they prepare to release their major-label debut, Meredith and Johnson believe they’ve put in their 10,000 hours and have arrived at something pretty special.

“I think we’ve always understood that we create music together that we would never be able to create on our own,” Meredith said. “We have this sort of weird yin-and-yang thing.”

They moved to New York to make it big – “We ended up just being broke.” Johnson said – but nevertheless used the time to write and play together every day. They moved to Nashville to regroup and The Saint Johns – named for the river that flows through the heart of their native Florida – began to truly come into focus. They played shows anywhere and everywhere relentlessly – “some good, some bad, some empty” – and released a well-received EP, Open Water, that got the duo immediate support from the critics and the industry and helped land its first television appearance, “Late Show with David Letterman.”

That EP captured the sweet Americana soul of the band’s early sound. Recorded with a full band, Dead of Night is something more – more mature, more confident, more ambitious. The album began with demo recordings Johnson made. The two took them to David Kahne, a Grammy Award- winning producer and record label executive who’s worked with Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, The Strokes, Lana Del Rey, Fishbone and many others.

“His process is just insane,” Johnson said. “David knows what he wants all the time. So he overhauled a lot of what we had and it all ended up with the same feel, but elevated.”

“So much bigger,” Meredith echoed.

“I guess I was always afraid to put big kick drums in there and really have the groove be at the forefront.” Johnson continued. “But David is so good at making sure the grooves are right, that they push through and punch you in the face. That’s something he brought to the record so beautifully that I don’t think we would ever have gotten there on our own.”

A group of songs began to stand out in the studio. The deeply personal “Shadowplay” will be the first song to radio, an unofficial release that captures the duo’s close harmony and exposed feelings in a way that reminds you of Low’s measured sense of drama. Meredith and Johnson wrote the song with friend Jake Etheridge, a Nashville singer-songwriter with a large following in Europe.

“I had a lyric and a melody started and the boys were kind of making fun of me because it was so emotional,” Meredith said. “But the further we got into it and the more the song developed, I realized how therapeutic the song was for me. Shadowplay talks about pulling a loved one out of darkness, out of depression. I think it was what I needed to hear at that time in my life.”

The track was the first overwhelmingly successful co-write outside the core duo and encouraged them to do many more. “We tried to add Jake to our band, but he’s basically a pop star in Holland, so that’s never going to happen,” Meredith said.

So they turned to Vince Schumerman for assistance on first single “Lost the Feeling” – a song, like most of their co-writes, that was written in the band’s dining room. The running-through-the-night vibe of the song is the duo’s nod to Fleetwood Mac and their shared love for Rumours.

“It’s a grooving song about heartbreak,” Meredith said. “We have a hard time not writing depressing songs. It was nice to have someone to pull us out of our dark corner. Although, lyrically the song is still depressing.”

Another dining-room diamond is “Dead of Night,” the album’s title track, written with Meredith’s husband, JT Daly. It’s a ‘90s rocker with telecaster in your face: “It sounds happy until you listen to the lyrics and find out that it’s a desperate plea from one person to another,” Johnson said.

“I think the theme we found running through the album is the really beautiful juxtaposition between dark and light, so that title just seemed so fitting for the album,” Meredith said. “The song itself can speak for the entire album in a way. It’s a special song.”

–Chris Talbott
Birdtalker - (Set time: 7:15 PM)
Birdtalker is made up of Zack and Dani Green, Andy Hubright, Brian Seligman, and Jesse Baker. Zack and Dani were married in 2012 and soon after their wedding tried writing a couple songs together. They liked it, so they wrote a couple more. Andy, a friend from college and very talented drummer, was into the songs and started beating on stuff while Zack and Dani played them. It sounded good. While these three were playing the songs at Shakespeare in the Park one August afternoon, Brian became interested in adding his immense talent to the mix as well and began playing along with mandolin and guitar. It sounded even better. Birdtalker, as these four members, wrote and practiced for about a year when yet another talented friend and Birdtalker's biggest fan, Jesse, expressed interest in lending his bass sounds to the band. It is the combination of each member's specific offerings that gives Birdtalker the life and sound that it now possesses. And it doesn't hurt that they all like each other a heck of a lot, too.

Zack and Dani write songs as a way to share ideas they care about and sentiments they feel deeply. Playing music has proven to be a powerful avenue for connection and communion, within the band as well as with listeners. Birdtalker's hope is simply that the more music they write and share, the more true and vulnerable interactions may be born from it.
Lily Mae - (Set time: 6:30 PM)
Lily Mae
20-year-old Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter, Lily Mae, raises a distinctively sublime voice in songs of true millennial grit. Her melodic knack-- granted limitless reign by a stunning vocal range-- is unrelenting, with a free-wheeling kind of brilliance and allure comparable to a young Joni Mitchell. Lily taps into the free-spirited nature of her generation by mixing alternative folk, rock, and jazz in her music. She is an unmistakable artist, as noted by music industry legend and beloved late president of Blue Note Records, Bruce Lundvall, when he said, "Lily Mae has a signature voice, writes excellent songs, and is a future star."

Lily’s forthcoming EP, “Closer,” boasts seven tracks and showcases her as a vocalist, songwriter, musician, and producer. Additionally, Lily recorded select tracks on the album with producer, Steve Brown (Laura Mvula, Rumer) at his studio in England.

Lily has supported Joan Osborne, Livingston Taylor, Ben Taylor, Nathaniel Rateliff, John Gorka, Dry The River, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Louden Wainwright III, Harry Shearer and Judith Owen, Ari Hest, Iain Matthews, Paul Shaffer, Chris Collingwood (Fountains of Wayne), The Marshall Tucker Band, Jenny Owen Youngs, Amy Helm, Cheryl Wheeler, Alice Ripley, The Claire Lynch Band, Jay Brannan, Bobby Long, Sean Rowe, Amy Correia, Caroline Rose, The Kennedy’s and many others.

On the heels of Lily Mae's debut release, "Early Days," iTunes featured Lily as a New & Noteworthy singer-songwriter. For Folk's Sake called Lily "a younger Laura Marling before she was scorned by life"."Truly amazing," "prodigal," and "innovative" are all words that have been used to describe Lily's work. After attending Lily's show at Firefly Music Festival, wrote that Lily has a "voice of gold."
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002