Today’s Feature – September 8-9: The Youngers

September 9, 2008 at 8:18 pm (Today's Feature)

It’s great, amazing, and wonderful to see all of the young, emerging artists on PensEyeView – so many new musicians that are introducing the world to new sounds, occasionally re-inventing the melodies or placing their own spin on existing styles. But it’s just as pleasant to see a band holding up some of the traditions of music, bands like The Youngers. They’ve gone as far as to name their latest album “Heritage,” a collection held close to each member of the group, led by frontman Todd Bartolo and featuring Randy Krater (Bass and Vocals), Jesse Nocera (Guitars), Justin Schaefer (Drums and Percussion), and James Harton (Hammond B3, Piano).

The record, which was released on the bands own Obuck Records pays homage to the creators of The Youngers musical inspiration, the musicians behind their old school roots. The collection even contains performances from John Carter Cash (Percussion), Laura Cash (Fiddle), Ronnie McCoury of The Del McCoury Band (Mandolin), and legendary Waylon Jennings’ pedal steel player Ralph Mooney. The album is “full of chiming guitars, anthemic choruses, soaring harmonies and story songs of working and hard life blues;” something that will hopefully move you as much as it moved them.

Whenever you have the opportunity, check these gentlemen out live. They say you can “expect us to give them not only a great show, but a connection. Instead of listening to the songs at home, they can experience the emotions of each song with us as we are experiencing them. That’s what it’s all about; making that connection and going on the musical journey together.” I couldn’t agree more. Dive into the XXQ’s to learn more.

XXQs: The Youngers – Todd

PEV: So give us the story – how did everyone come together?

Todd: Randy Krater and I met back in October of ’99 when I was kicking around the idea of starting a band. He was the only bass player that didn’t turn me down. Everyone else has become a member through the years, most of us meeting through our thriving local music scene.

PEV: What were you listening to growing up?

Todd: Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Flying Burrito Brothers, John Prine, The Band, Bill Monroe, Stanley Brothers, Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, and everything in between from metal to rap.

PEV: How did you all start your own label, “Obuck Records?”

Todd: Obuck records was created as an outlet for music such as ours.

PEV: If we were to walk into your practice studio right now, what would we find?

Todd: Very determined focused people working on perfecting our live performance for our upcoming tour.

PEV: When you sit down to write, what kind of environment do you surround yourselves in?

Todd: Every one is different. Songs come from the kitchen of my home, from the back of Randy’s backhoe, the ride to-and-from our day jobs; there really is no set environment. The songs come when they want, and you have to be prepared to write them down.

PEV: You all seem to pay a lot of attention to musical tradition – what parts of that tradition are most significant to you?

Todd: The music itself. It is important to remember the musicians that have come before us and how they have inspired us to create something new that is still tied to the roots of early music.

PEV: What can fans expect from your release, “Heritage”?

Todd: Songs that move them as much as the experience of making Heritage moved us.

PEV: How was working with John Carter Cash for this record?

Todd: Recording Music should be a fun and rewarding experience. I found both on this project. It was an unforgettable inspirational journey. John was the ideal producer for us & we all worked really well together. He definitely got our best performances out of us for each song. He was great.

PEV: How’s this one compare to your debut album, “Output?”

Todd: Since the recording & release of Output we have grown a lot as musicians & songwriters. The feel of Heritage is completely different than Output. We’ve matured you could say. This album has The Youngers sound I had been searching for. On Output there is the lap steel work, great harmonies and guitar work but Heritage has more of it. Output is good, but Heritage is great. As a musician I always want to strive to make an album better than the last, to keep pushing myself.

PEV: It seems collaboration played a big part on this record – how has it affected the sound?

Todd: I think we were all really focused on getting the best sound we could & keeping things as simplistic as we could. With John Carter at the wheel we approached each song with the same goal in mind; do not overproduce. It helped us to stay true to the root of the song. This helped with the overall sound of the album.

PEV: How has “life on the road” been for you?

Todd: So far it has been enjoyable for us. We have met some great people on the road, and have had the opportunity to see a lot of nice places. It does have its disadvantages though. Being away from home is hard for everyone. There is no place like home.

PEV: In all your travels, which city do you think offers the best scene for music?

Todd: To be honest every city we have played in has been slightly different. They all have been good, and they all have a scene. Each is uniquely different, and I cannot say that one is better than the other.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live performance?

Todd: They can expect us to give them not only a great show, but a connection. Instead of listening to the songs at home, they can experience the emotions of each song with us as we are experiencing them. That’s what its all about; making that connection and going on the musical journey together.

PEV: Before a show, are there any pre-show rituals you do or is it just go out there and perform?

Todd: It’s pretty much go out there and play your heart out.

PEV: Do you have a dream collaboration that you haven’t had yet?

Todd: Of course, who doesn’t? Billy Joe Shaver, Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Prine, Iris Dement, Wilco. Just to name a few.

PEV: Is there an up and coming artist out right now that you think we should all be looking into?
Todd: Frog Holler, Tandy

PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about The Youngers?

Todd: I cannot think of a single thing that would be surprising to anyone really. We are all pretty much regular guys whose love for music goes above and beyond.

PEV: When you are not touring or performing, what can we find you doing in your spare time?

Todd: Spending time with our families, camping, fishing, biking, collecting antique vehicles and instruments, and boating.

PEV: In one word, describe The Youngers.

Todd: Passionate

PEV: So, what is next for The Youngers?

Todd: More Music, More Albums, More Tours

For more information on The Youngers, check out: www.TheYoungers.com

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