By Walter Price
New England music preservationists Tammy Lynn & Myles High are just what these ears of mine have in mind when they want to hear the good ole sound styles of bygone eras. Not in a straight-up ‘throwback’ way but in a modern take on music from the days when the world wanted to appear conservative in the daytime and downright loose in the dark late hours in the juke joints, honky tonks and dance halls across America.
The husband and wife team use their love of roots rock, rockabilly, country, swing and boogie-woogie to back their timeless vocal coolness. Voices that feel right at home in harmonies or stand alone performances on their debut Turn My Music On…Dig It!
I especially enjoy the sporadic genre blending on this release. It reminds me of a jukebox set on random enticing you to have a drink and hit the dance floor. Hey, just like going to your favorite haunt on Saturday night looking for a good time. And with this album, a good time you will have my friends…
I caught up with Myles and asked him a set of ‘5 Things…’ questions with the hope of getting to know more about this good-times evoking, hip-swaying causing and ‘get up and dance with us’ group…
What Are 5 Things People Should Know About Tammy Lynn & Myles High?
- We’re a band, not a duo.
People see our photos, and sometimes think we work as a duo. Tammy & I are the core of the band, but we normally perform as a 4 piece band – sometimes 5, or even 6.
- We have the good fortune to work with a variety of great musicians.
We don’t work with a set lineup of musicians. Tammy & I both sing and play guitar, and we have a roster of top notch drummers and upright bass players we play with. This way of working keeps everyone (including us) attentive and in the moment with the music. Every show is unique, and there is always a chance for something new & unexpected to happen.
- We’re music fans as much as we are musicians.
When we’re not playing live we’re out enjoying bands we like. With bad economic times, many venues have dropped live music. As fans of live music, we feel it’s very important to get out and support good bands & venues that keep live music alive.
- We love to go dancing to live music.
Tammy & I dance swing, hustle, jive, and some other styles. We enjoy catching a hot live band in a room with a good dance floor.
- We really, really love it when people dance to our music live!
There is NOTHING like the energy that comes across on stage from a crowd of dancers. The audience connects with the band, the band with the audience – each feeding off the other. It’s the best!
What Are 5 Things The World Should Know About Your Debut Album ‘Turn My Music On’?
- This record offers a wide range of material.
Everything on the album is in a roots / Americana style, but we try to cover a wide range in that broad genre. We have rockabilly songs, R&B, swing, country, even instrumental surf rock. We have broad tastes in music, and we like to reflect that in the music we do.
- It’s a 100% self produced project.
This record was totally self funded – recording, printing, marketing… a lot goes into making a record! Every CD sale, or song download goes directly to us to help recover those costs (and maybe even make a profit, if we can be so lucky). I can’t overemphasize how much every single sale makes a difference in our ability to continue making music. We greatly appreciate each and every person that supports us!
- The record is a good reflection of our live sound.
This record was recorded mostly live, with very few overdubs. What you hear on the recording is pretty close to what you’ll get at a live show. A few songs have sax and keys, which we don’t have at every live show, but we’re not a band that sounds totally different live than on their record.
- It would have been an EP if not for Sax Gordon.
We were extremely fortunate to get Sax Gordon to play horn on a couple of songs on this record. He was great to work with, a super cool guy, and has even played some live shows with us since doing the record. When we came to him, the project was targeted to be an 5 or 6 song EP, but after liking what he heard, Gordon suggested we add more songs and do a full length CD. Because of scheduling we didn’t have time to get him on more tracks, but we continue to play with him live, and hope to work with him more on future recordings.
- We hope to eventually do a vinyl pressing.
We’ve had inquiries about getting ‘Turn My Music On’ on vinyl, but we don’t have the demand or funds to do that yet. If the record starts to get some good sales numbers as a CD and with downloads, we’ll certainly look into doing a limited edition vinyl pressing.
5 Things You Learned Making Your Album…
- Work with the best people you can.
We got such great musicians to work with us on this record! Nothing is more important than the quality of musicianship. If you have great players the key is to not let the recording process get in the way, just capture the live energy in the studio, and don’t screw it up.
- Don’t over work things.
We kept recording very simple. We used only a handful of microphones with the band playing live together in one room. No click tracks, quantizing, samples, or pitch correction. We did very minimal post processing of the audio (EQ, compression, and some reverb). We strove to capture the sound from the instruments in the room rather than ‘fix it in the mix’ later.
- Getting heard is much harder than making a record.
Making a record involves a lot of work and expense, but marketing a record requires at least ten times that effort. Literally thousands of new records come out every year. It’s incredibly difficult to cut through the background noise and get heard. We know ‘Turn My Music On’ has what it takes to connect with an audience, given a chance, so we’re committed to getting it out there.
- Don’t over (or ever) rehearse, and record everything.
On most of these songs, the musicians we recorded with either never played the song with us before, and did them a few times live prior to the recording session. We also gave people minimal guidance on what to play. We wanted each person to bring their own voice and ideas to each tune. Because of that, it was important to hit the record button at the start of the session, and let it roll. There’s no telling which take will be the keeper.
- Plan for everything to take longer, and cost more than expected.
We hoped to get this record out in February of 2013. We got it out in October – 8 months late. The major reason for that is we switched midstream from doing an EP to a full LP. We hadn’t set aside the time, and had a very busy summer show schedule. Regardless, something unexpected always happens. Deadlines and budgets are useful, but expect to blow past them.
What Are The 5 Things You Would Like To See Happen In 2014?
- Get more radio play for ‘Turn My Music On’.
We’ve been fortunate enough to get some airplay in 2013, and hope to up that in 2014 through additional marketing and networking.
- Do more recording.
We have a list of tunes to record, and we plan to pick them off as we have time in 2014. We’re hoping to do a few Christmas songs this year, and maybe release a Holiday CD this year.
- Play a roots / rockabilly festival.
This year we’d really like to get a slot at a dedicated roots, rockabilly, or Americana festival. We’ve played a lot of shows, but have yet to do a festival dedicated to our genre. It’s great to play to people that are specifically interested in the style of music we’re playing. We’d really love to do some shows in Europe! We’ve had more interest in our music in the EU than here in the US, but not enough yet to get over there to play some gigs. Maybe 2014 will be the year for that.
- Shoot a music video.
We plan to shoot a music video for a track off the record this summer. No word on which song we’ll use yet. It’ll be a surprise.
- Write more songs.
Before Tammy & I formed Tammy Lynn & Myles High, even before we were a couple, we were song writing partners. We love working on new material, and each of us brings out the best in the other. We have new songs in the pipeline, ready to go for the next record, but the creative process never ends. We always have new challenges we’re looking to take on. Nothing’s better than having one of the songs we brought to life connect with a fan. In the end, that’s why we do what we do – to make a connection.