Another year has come and gone. For some, it went far too quickly. For others, it didn’t go quick enough. At any rate, it’s time for a year in review. For DownTown Mystic, 2015 will go down as a very good year to remember. New things were attempted with positive results.
There were 3 DownTown Mystic releases in 2015. Each release came out with a new season, which was a 1st. The Turn Around and Go Digital Single was released in the spring for the Vernal Equinox. The DownTown Mystic on E Street EP was released at the start of summer for the Summer Solstice. And the Soul’d Out Single finished the year as a late fall/early winter release. Why? Who knows, it just felt right. 🙂
Of course, the main reason for these releases was to help promote and get the word out about the upcoming Rock’n’Roll Romantic album. By now it would seem to be common knowledge and accepted practice on the Internet that releasing a full album is a fruitless venture (unless you’re Taylor Swift or Adele). Why release 10-12 songs at one time when you could release the same number of songs over 10-12 months (if you wanted to stretch it out, say 1 new song every 2 months)? The point being that you keep new material coming out regularly to your fan base. An album is one shot and then nothing again for 2-3 years. You could lose fans in that period if you don’t stay in front of them.
So I opted for the Digital Single option, which is generally 1-4 songs on a release. I did that back in 2013 when I released 3 singles before releasing the self-titled DownTown Mystic album and had great results. The main difference this time was that I was committing myself to help bring Rock’nRoll into the 21st century. So the 1st place I made a conscious effort was at Radio. Sha-La Music makes DownTown Mystic tracks available to Radio on the AirPlay Direct downloading platform. Since DownTown Mystic was listed as Americana, this would mean switching over to Rock.
Turn Around and Go was the 1st release in the Rock genre and the result was very successful, reaching #12 on the APD Global Rock Chart for the month of March. Sha-La released the single overseas and it reached #14 on the Official European Independent Music Chart. So 2015 was off to an auspicious start! The real question for me was what would I release as the next single?
I thought long and hard about it. There are 2 songs on Rock’n’Roll Romantic that have The E Street Band rhythm section—Garry Tallent and Max Weinberg on bass and drums. One of the songs called Hard Enough was on the Standing Still release in Europe. I had deliberately kept it off of the US release because I didn’t want to upstage the other musicians that played on all the other songs. That’s exactly what happened in Europe. All the reviews, which were quite good, focused on that one track with the E Streeters. So I knew what to expect here in the US.
With summer approaching I knew this would be the right time to put together and release the DownTown Mystic on E Street EP. Previously, Way To Know with Garry & Max had been released as a single from the DownTown Mystic album and it crossed over and hit #1 on the Roots Music Report Alt/Rock Chart in 2014! That was a career highlight, so it just seemed like the perfect moment to commemorate the sessions with Garry & Max.
Sha-La announced that the EP would be available to Radio via AirPlay Direct before the release date of June 22. On June 1st the EP went to #1 on the APD Global Rock Chart and stayed there for the entire month of June! This was an unprecedented success with the most downloads ever for a DownTown Mystic release. The single And You Know Why premiered the following week on The Vinyl District, the 1st time a DownTown Mystic single had a premiere. The reviews were terrific, easily making the E Street EP the high point of 2015.
Actually, DownTown Mystic on E Street was so successful it created a problem with what to do next. We thought by September, the EP would have run its course, but it had some legs. We wanted to get out another release before all the Christmas releases took over. So the decision was made to release the Soul’d Out Single in early November, despite having to still compete with the E Street EP. I guess that’s showbiz and not too bad of a problem to have. 🙂
The Soul’d Out Single was made available to Radio on AirPlay Direct in October before the official release date and once again, the strategy paid dividends. Soul’d Out would finish at #8 on the APD Global Rock Chart for the month of October. DownTown Mystic would finish 2015 appearing on the APD charts a total of 10 months. Once again, the single was premiered courtesy of The Vinyl District and the reviews have been very positive.
At this point 2015 had been a busy year, but October would hold a highlight that was not anticipated. In September we were informed that DownTown Mystic’s track No Exceptions had been selected to be in a movie called Cam Zink:Reach For The Sky. But it wasn’t until mid-October, when the film was released, that we got the chance to see and hear just how cool it was to be part of this wild indie film! The best part for us had to be when the ending credits rolled and we saw DownTown Mystic listed along with Pearl Jam and Social D!! We have to give a BIG THANKS to Writer/Director/Producer Ryan Cleek for including DownTown Mystic in his truly remarkable RnR piece of cinema! 🙂
The last 2 highlights of 2015 helped me finish the year feeling really good about the future. In October, one of my fave bands came to NYC to play the Mercury Lounge. It had been a couple of years since I’d seen the Band of Heathens and it was a very special night. BOH was as tight as ever, playing with precision and energy. The excellent set featured some new songs from the new album they’ve been recording and the big surprise was the RnR vibe! One of the songs would have made The Stones proud. 🙂
I caught up with the main Heathens, Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist, who along with keyboardist Trevor Nealon talked about the new recording project. Gordy & Trevor in particular were very enthusiastic about the direction the new material was taking and I could feel their passion for it. After hearing the new songs in their set I can’t wait to hear the new BOH album in 2016 because it will be great to have some new RnR hit the Americana scene.
The last highlight came the following month a day after the Soul’d Out Single release date, and once again, I was back in NYC at the Mercury Lounge. Another of my fave bands was in town, The Bros. Landreth. Like BOH I’ve written about The Bros. Landreth in the pages of this blog. It had been over a year since I’d met up with them and the 1st person I saw was big brother Dave, who greeted me warmly at the door.
Later, younger brother Joey came in and gave me a big hug. He had slimmed down and looked to be in great shape. The band had just had to replace long time drummer Ryan Voth a few days earlier because life on the road had finally taken its toll on him. I asked about the new drummer and both Dave & Joey said to be the judge and let them know after the show. With that I went in the main room to get my place for the show.
The band did not disappoint. They were very tight and the guitar play between Joey and Ariel Posen was better than ever. As for new drummer Cody Iwasiuk, I think this was only the 2nd or 3rd show with him and he played like he’d been in the band forever. Afterwards, I got a chance to chat some more with Joey. Like The Band of Heathens, The Bros. Landreth are road warriors and just starting a new leg of a tour. He wasn’t too sure about when they would get the time to record their next album but I hope it won’t be too long. With that we hugged each other, said goodbye and looked forward to seeing each other sometime in the near future.
So 2015 is in the books and there was a lot to be grateful for. Looking forward to 2016 with the Rock’n’Roll Romantic album coming into view. Hopefully, there will be a few more surprises that will make the 2016 year in review worth remembering. 🙂