Waterfront Jam Thursday Concert: Jimmy Eat World with special guest Colony Houseclick here to purchase priority viewing tickets
Thursday, May 4, 2017
Admission is FREE with a 2017 Pegasus Pin.
The Kentucky Derby Festival Waterfront Jam will include live music on two stages at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville featuring over 30 local and regional bands and 7 national acts beginning Thursday, April 27. Admission to all concerts will be FREE with a 2017 Pegasus Pin. Details of all the concert acts will be released in the coming weeks. Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville is open from Thursday, April 27, to Friday, May 5. Fest-a-Ville and Chow Wagon Hours are 11 AM – 11 PM, except Sunday 12 PM – 11 PM.
Before Jimmy Eat World entered the studio to record their ninth full-length album, Integrity Blues [RCA], the members of the multiplatinum Mesa, AZ rock band did something they’ve never done in over two decades.
“We took a little break,” smiles lead singer and guitarist Jim Adkins.
After a successful 10th anniversary tour revisiting Futures, the musicians briefly went their separate ways at the end of 2014. Adkins released a series of 7” & embarked on his first worldwide solo tour, Lind released an EP and toured with his wife in The Wretched Desert, Linton took up boxing, and Burch opened up CaskWerks Distillery in Arizona.
When the band reconvened in November 2015, they teamed up with producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen [Paramore, M83] and began sifting through ideas.
“I came to a realization,” admits Adkins. “In the break, writing was a little trickier. I wanted to change things up. So, instead of writing about a problem, I wanted to write about a solution. If you look at your life for what’s going wrong, it won’t be too hard to find things. If you start looking at what you have rather than what you’re missing out on, you come away from things with a much different perspective that’s a lot more grateful and positive. As an album, Integrity Blues is about trying to overcome that personal struggle instead of getting upset with what life could be that it isn’t.”
They recorded in Los Angeles with Meldal-Johnsen, offering a different setting from their usual Arizona digs.
“We became willing to throw away our default responses to everything and search for the best answers rather than relying on what was familiar or comfortable. When you’re younger and you make music, you do it for discovery. Being in this for a long time, it’s about throwing out all of your expectations and comforts and seeing what you can do without them.”
With warm production and a powerful upbeat groove, Integrity Blues first single “Sure and Certain” pairs a buzzing guitar hum with an unshakable chant.
“It’s about the idea of having blinders on for what you want to do and achieve,” the frontman explains. “Since you’re so laser focused on what you think you want, you’re missing out on everything around you. It can be a very limiting way to go about life.”
Meanwhile, the gorgeously minimal title track “Integrity Blues” tempers orchestral, cinematic overtones with a stark and striking vocal performance.
“It was a song I wrote on the solo tour,” he recalls. “Sometimes, the idea of walking your path the best you can feels like lonely work. The only way out is action. Feelings of being in a dark place are actually growth opportunities. It’s emotional jiu-jitsu to shift your perspective into seeing it that way.”
Elsewhere on the record, “Get Right” snaps into an energetic refrain, while “Through” serves up one of the band’s hookiest moments to date.
“You Are Free” flaunts one of the group’s most hummable and heartfelt refrains, serving as another high watermark. “It Matters” illuminates the band’s diverse sonic palette and covers what Adkins describes as “a central theme about the idea that a sense of comfort comes from within and not just external validation.”
“Pass The Baby” builds from a delicate heartbeat-style click into a deliberate and distorted explosion. Near seven-minute closer “Pol Roger” carves out an emotional and entrancing climax encased in a rapture of guitars and vocals, which according to Adkins, “Felt like the right way to sum everything up.”
Surveying the journey thus far, Adkins maintains the same passion he did on day one, and it continues to fuel Jimmy Eat World. “I’ve wanted to play music since second grade, and here I am playing music. It’s something we’re immensely grateful for. That’s why we don’t take it lightly. We want to be in a constant state of progress. You have to move forward in a way that’s challenging and evolving.”
“At the end of the day, you have to be proud of your own work,” he leaves off. “We are. If you breathe that in and believe it, you’ve won.”
Picture the quintessential rock band. Maybe they’re standing on a grimy street corner with their arms crossed, looking tough, or maybe they’re goofing around in a sunlit field. They could be wearing motorcycle jackets or cowboy shirts or feather boas. They might sound austere and angry or epic and stadium-ready. But what they have in common, regardless of aesthetic, is that they stand together, shoulder-to-shoulder, brothers and sisters in arms. A real rock band is a gang. A group of people united by a shared commitment to what matters in the world, what matters in life, and an insatiable need to communicate that sensibility to anyone else out there who might relate.
It’s this idea – that your band is your life and vice versa – that bonds the four members of Nashville-based rock band Colony House. Frontman Caleb Chapman, drummer Will Chapman, guitarist Scott Mills, and bassist Parke Cottrell are all married guys in their twenties, so they don’t really fit the rockstar cliché: there’s no champagne cork popping or model chasing with this crew. “We always kind of joke – you think people think we’re a cool band?” says Caleb, chuckling. “The joke is that we know we’re not a ‘cool’ band. We’re regular guys.” But when it comes to that most sacred rock and roll thing, where you move on a mission from town to town and stage to stage getting “gnarly and sweaty” as Caleb puts it, in honor of the thing you love, this band has that part down cold. “We’re not sex drugs and rock and roll,” Caleb says, laughing. “We’re just rock and roll.”
Colony House is gearing up to release their major label debut, Only the Lonely, via Descendant/RCA. The title is a shout-out to the king of elegiac melancholy – “Obviously it’s a direct Roy Orbison reference,” says Caleb. And that might initially seem at odds with Colony House’s sound, a madcap aural rollercoaster borrowing from the anthemic swell of the Killers to the harmonic sass of the Beach Boys to the wit of Vampire Weekend. But beneath the band’s whirlwind of ecstatic guitar playing and intricate melodies you’ll find their real signature: emotion. They write about being desperately lonely. They write about being desperately joyful. But what makes a Colony House song a Colony House song is the sheer feeling it conveys. “We want to connect with people,” explains Caleb, mentioning a favorite quote by van Gogh. There’s a great fire that burns within me but no one stops to warm themselves by it, and passersby only see a wisp of smoke. “I mean, this is Vincent van Gogh we’re talking about!” he continues. “The whole world knows his work! But he felt this loneliness, this sense of, I have so much I have to offer but no one stops to see it.” Colony House’s primary aim is to see that fire. To witness it, as Caleb puts it, “in ourselves, and in the people that come to see us play. That’s what we’re about.”
If this sounds like an unusually high-minded goal for a bunch of twenty-something dudes in a rock and roll band, there’s a reason for that: the guys in Colony House may be young, but they’re serious about their work. And they’ve been at it a while. “So … me and my brother, we know each other for obvious reasons,” says Caleb, as he begins to explain how they all met. Caleb is older, “by sixteen months,” he points out. “I think we have twin tendencies.” The two brothers come from a long line of musicians. “If you’re ever in Paducah, Kentucky and you see ‘Chapman Music’ on the side of the road, that’s my grandpa’s music shop,” Caleb says. Grandpa Chapman’s son, Steven Curtis Chapman, Caleb and Will’s dad, is also a musician. He grew up “playing southern gospel and bluegrass,” in Kentucky, Caleb says, then moved to Nashville and became a songwriter. “He found success in the contemporary Christian music world,” Caleb continues. “This is a proud son thing to say, but he really helped shape what that industry is.” For Will and Caleb, visiting dad at the office meant climbing aboard a tour bus. “That’s what really inspired me and my brother to start playing music,” Caleb recalls. “We were like, we want to do what dad does.”
Knowing what you want to do and actually doing it are two different things. It took the Chapman brothers a while, but by the end of 2009, around the time they met Scott, things really started to gel. “My cousin brought him to our little sister’s birthday party, and he’s like, Scott plays guitar if you ever need a guitar player.” They actually did, and eventually Scott became the first guy in the band not named Chapman. Scott knew of Parke from back home in Knoxville. He had a reputation as killer guitarist and piano player, but they’d never met until Colony House asked Parke to open up, as a solo artist, for one of their Knoxville shows. He did. It went very well. And thus began a multi-year getting-to- know-you period between Colony House and Parke. Three years after that show in Knoxville, Colony House asked Parke to come out and play bass with them for a couple weeks. Parke borrowed a friend’s bass, met the guys in Atlanta, and has played every show since. He was officially added to the line-up in the spring of this year.
It matters, when you tour with the intensity Colony House tours, that all the people you’re sharing a van with have your back. And it matters that all the people waiting for you back at home do too. “For us at least, they go hand in hand,” Caleb says. “If you’re falling apart in one place, it directly impacts the other.” After the band released their 2014 debut (on Descendant) they proceeded to play over 200 shows the following year in support of it. “We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, this is the dream,” says Caleb. “But it’s also work.” Discovering that they could be exactly where they wanted to be, living the dream out on the road while simultaneously missing home gave the band a new insight into what they see as a universal human struggle. “Everyone has things they miss, everyone has things they’re worried about – even when life is going great, it can still feel hard, and there’s no shame in saying that, there is no shame in saying you’re lonely or sad, that’s part of the beauty of life,” Caleb says.
And that’s really what Only the Lonely seeks to capture in thirteen impassioned tracks: joy reached via a shared appreciation of struggle. The album’s first single, “You & I,” reflects this quest for communal catharsis. It started as Caleb’s attempt to step outside the super-personal stance he usually takes with lyrics and move instead towards something more of the times. “I was challenged by a friend of ours, he was like Dylan or Kristofferson or the Highwaymen, they wrote songs about the times, about the political climate and the social climate, and you just don’t hear as much of that in our music.” He was right, Caleb thought. “So I decided to give it a shot.” “You & I” is not a political song, per se, but it’s as close as the band has come thus far. “I’ve seen the same thing on the news over and over again and it’s heartbreaking, infuriating, depressing,” he says. “Basically, when someone says, ‘I disagree with you,’ what’s normal seems to be to say, ‘okay, build the wall!’ I feel like my role is to keep that wall from being built as long as possible.”
Another of the album’s stand-out tracks is “You Know It,” which Caleb accurately characterizes as “this total surf rock jam.” The song gets at that “push pull,” as he puts it, of wanting to pay enough attention to all the different things you love in your life. It opens with lyrics directed to his wife, reassuring her that he’ll be back from the road before she knows it, and mid-song, flips to say the same thing to the crowd. “I want to be both places,” he says, smiling. Caleb finished writing the song, appropriately enough, in the back of the van, on a sleepless cross-country sprint from Nashville to San Francisco, with a stop over at the Grand Canyon. They had to drive it straight because they’d stayed home as long as possible, but the drive was so inspiring, they played the newborn track at the very first tour stop.
“The greatest performers, whether they’re jumping all over the stage or standing still the entire night, they manage to connect with everyone in the room,” says Caleb. “They are able to make you feel not just like, I was honored to be in the room that night, but like, I was a part of something that night.” That feeling is what drives and inspires Colony House. And it drives and inspires them to very lofty goals. “When we play our music, we dream about hearing it in an arena one day,” Caleb says. “Some people say you shouldn’t dream so big, but why would we put a ceiling on something that we love so much?”