Friday, June 14, 2024

“It’s going to be a party”: Two Wilmington musicians join forces for double-release throwdown

Jared Michael Cline and DE-Evolution will release “Live at Ted’s 1: Warts and All” on Sunday, and will screen footage filmmaker Troy Silinski captured during the live performance in 2019. (Port City Daily/Courtesy Jared Michael Cline)

WILMINGTON — Local musician Jared Michael Cline has waited a year and a half to host a release party for his album “Live at Ted’s 1: Warts and All,” now available on streaming services. He recorded it with the band DE-Evolution in 2019 at Ted’s, a music venue located on the corner of Castle and Surry streets. 

The show also was documented on film by Tory Silinski of Tas Visuals and will be screened for the first time as part of a release party, hosted Sunday at Waterline Brewing. Yet, Cline hasn’t seen any footage from the show.

“So it’s all gonna be a surprise to me,” he said.

Though Cline’s been waiting two years to host this party, making it a double release show with local musician Joel Lamb presented itself in January. Lamb’s been working on new music as RKTMN (meaning “rocketman”) and is releasing his first LP, “On the Beam Ends.”

“I kind of had a vision in my head of Austin City Limits,” Cline explained of the format, “where different musicians come together to play.”

It’s something he had done a few years back with Monica J. Hoelscher and Striking Copper. The bands joined forces to play songs like the Cranberries’ “Zombie” and Joe Cocker’s version of “With a Little Help From My Friends” at a different album release party.

“We did this pretty rockin’ version of ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ by Britney Spears,” Cline said. “That video is somewhere on the internet.”

Cline and DE-Evolution, as well RKTMN and Brown Dirt Cowboys — a band Lamb also plays with in town — will perform together when Sunday’s finale rolls around, after they debut their original releases. 

Creating a vibe and energy

Both Lamb and Cline recorded or produced music for their records with Trent Harrison, who runs Hourglass Studios and owns Ted’s. Harrison said there are subtle differences between Cline’s studio recordings and the live show, “Ted’s 1: Warts and All.”

“Jared really liked using sound effects to help drive home some of the lyrical points or the feel of the songs,” Harrison wrote to Port City Daily. “We added lions roaring and safari sounds to ‘Mama Tried,’ for example. In ‘Ruby,’ there’s an intro monologue with the sounds of a pencil writing a letter. Honestly, every song has some kind of added production value that works well in the studio.”

Live, however, Cline wanted to hone in on the vibe and energy of the room at Ted’s. 

“There’s an ambience that’s in there,” he explained. “It’s a listening room. So it’s not like a concert where you’re trying to play overtop of people screaming and hollering or talking or whatever — or even restaurants and breweries. People are there to actually enjoy the show that’s being put on.”

After Cline and DE-Evolution played through the first set back in 2019, filmmaker Silinski interviewed them and everyone involved in the production. Harrison said he remembered some of the questions exploring stories of how the musicians met and what brought them together.

“[It’s] all great stuff that the crowd really enjoyed, and it helped them engage with the music,” Harrison remembered.

Cline, originally from Jacksonville, N.C., has been playing in Wilmington’s music scene for almost a decade. He’s a natural with audiences — captivating them at a very early age, according to his mother. 

“My mom told me when I was in kindergarten, I’d be using the bathroom and singing so loud the whole class could hear me,” Cline said with a laugh.

On his live recording of “Saturday Mornings in Wilmington” you can hear laughter resonate with audiences, and feedback from some of Cline’s cheeky lyrics. The song covers the aftereffects of locals in Wilmington enduring Saturday-morning hangovers. Cline said the song actually started as a joke with fellow musicians who said they were going to show out in support of his gig one early Saturday at Captain Bills.

“I started goofing around, piecing together words, and ended up freestyling a pretty interesting chorus line that ended up being the hook,” he explained.

The song has a honky-tonk rhythm — Cline covers a plethora of genres — with his signature electric guitar running through. Cline actually picked up an electric guitar for the first time when he was 14; he immediately started writing his own music.

He also has every recording he’s ever made since age 15. “I can hear what my voice sounds like between then and now,” Cline said. “There’s definitely major improvement.”

These days Cline said he is learning more about control as he plays solo gigs across town. “Warts and All” included playing with his pals in DE-Evolution, which consists of John Hussman on electric guitar, Federico Santana on congas, Ryan Woodell on bass, and JJ Street drums/percussion.

Cline and DE-Evolution wanted to band together to focus solely on original music. Yet, the five-piece isn’t booked a lot in town, mainly out of logistics. 

“Wilmington doesn’t really have the venues for those bands anymore,” Cline said. “There’s a couple places that will do it, but pretty much anywhere you play, they want you to play for three or four hours. And this band, you know, wasn’t equipped for three or four hours of live, original music.”

Each band member is involved in other side projects; Street even plays with Cline in Bacon Grease.  

Cline said Sunday DE-Evolution won’t be playing through “Warts and All” live, since fans will see it on the film release. “That seemed too redundant,” Cline said. “ I can’t tell you what [songs] we are gonna jam, but we will have a good time.”

Joel Lamb as RKTMN will release “On the Beam Ends” Sunday at Waterline. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Tom Dorgan)

Shifts and changes

Before the film is screened for “Warts and All,” audiences will be treated to a set featuring RKTMN and Brown Dirt Cowboy playing “On the Beam Ends.” Lamb said he wrote the songs for the record sporadically over many years; some were penned a while back, others throughout the pandemic. 

Lamb tapped into a creative flow over the past year, fueled by changes coming to head in his professional and personal life. “To be really honest with you, my wife and I split up back in June,” he said. “Just kind of like during the pandemic and everything else, we realized we had two different visions of where we want to go in life — what we want to be doing.”

He said he also realized during this time he wanted to make the shift toward creating more. Having worked in management for a big-box store for years —  and all through the Covid-19 lockdown — gave Lamb pause to think about how he would live out his life in the grind. Would he dedicate more time to music or be tethered to a corporate entity?

“I like going to the studio and recording and writing, and I’m starting to play out more,” Lamb said. “I realized I don’t want to continue to put that much time of my life into that career anymore. And I wanted extra time with my daughter, so I’m making a change.”

He cut back from 11-hour shifts to eight, and took a title demotion, no longer working in management. He ran numbers to find out if he could sustain the same lifestyle and dedicate more time to music. 

“It works out,” Lamb said.

“On the Beam Ends” covers ground dealing with self-reflection (“Amends,” “Home”), as well as explores shifts and changes endured in life. “We’ve Got New Lights” is a track Lamb wrote when he lived in Texas, before moving to Wilmington upon his then-wife finding a new job. 

“It talks about the disappointment when expectations can be shattered unexpectedly,” Lamb explained, “how everything in life is temporary and so transient, and things seem so sure at one moment but can change so quickly.”

Lamb’s musical journey proves as much is true. It all began along the West Coast in his 20s. The musician said he packed everything he owned into a hatchback and traversed down to L.A. from Seattle.

“I was going to audition for this band, go on tour and be a rockstar,” Lamb said. “I auditioned. And I got the job.”

He began playing in the punk band Tonight, which took him on the Warped Tour — though “only on a little side stage,” Lamb said. Most of the time Tonight was playing while the headlining act was doing a soundcheck on the main stage. 

“[W]e weren’t on tour long before the record label went under,” Lamb said.

He eventually left Tonight and played with various acts, including a four-year stint with an electronic/dance band that now goes by Cannons and has garnered radio play. “I want to say it’s like ‘disco,’” Lamb described, “but definitely a throwback to some of those slow ‘80s dance jams.”

Eventually, Lamb headed to Austin and worked as a backup singer for nine years. Once he arrived in Wilmington, he began doing open-mic nights at Goat and Compass.

“When I came into town, I had a lot of anxiety about having to rebuild musical relationships,” he said. “I have never been very comfortable talking to people. For some reason, I’m much more confident when I’m behind an instrument.”

However, weekly open-mics led to connections, such as meeting Cline. Lamb was performing “What Makes a Man” by City and Color, a song that Cline also plays and hadn’t heard other local musicians really tackle before.

“[T]here’s actually two vocal parts to it,” Cline explained. “So I began singing the other part while Joel was playing it — then we started talking.” 

Lamb said they discussed him sitting in with DE-Evolution but could never get the scheduling right. “We also joked about making a gospel album — playing old-fashioned hymns.”

Lamb told Cline he was releasing his first album, and Cline asked to listen. “His style wasn’t what I thought,” Cline said. “I expected acoustic, even lounge-like piano.” 

Instead, Lamb leans into playing with electronic synthesizers and a drum machine. “He did a really good job with it,” Cline said. “I totally wasn’t expecting it.”

Harrison also was taken aback by the demo tracks when Lamb presented them at Hourglass Studios. “What surprised me most about working with Joel was how great he is with beat-making,” Harrison wrote in an email. “I knew he was an awesome pianist and singer, but I had no idea . . . how cool and intricate his drum beats were under his keys and vocals.”

Lamb brought in local musician Bob Russell to fill in the guitar tracks on the LP. When the guitarist arrived in the studio, Lamb said Russell came armed with all the music notation written out on paper.

“The amount of dedication that he puts into something like this, it’s just kind of inspiring,” Lamb said, “and it makes you want to do better. And I got all fired up. . . . just that process of being able to talk back and forth, and create together made something bigger than I would have ever imagined it to be in my own head.”

Once “On the Beam Ends” was completed, Lamb began calling around to book the album-release show. He kept running into barriers with venues not being fully opened at the time because of the pandemic.  

“I just happened to mention it to Jared,” Lamb said. 

“I told him, I said, ‘Hey, man, I’m actually releasing my album and I’m looking for other bands to join,’” Cline recalled.

Fast-forward four months later, and Lamb will take the stage as RKTMN, with backing band Brown Dirt Cowboys — Derron Blackman, Bobby Lloyd, and Riley Kearns, also featuring Bob Russell — to release “On the Beam Ends.” Lamb said the sound live will be more full than the original album’s recording.

“We’ve been rehearsing and, honestly, I love the sound — it’s completely different than the record,” he said. “The record is really clear and kind of peaceful to listen to, and then the sound of the band — it kind of has this nasty funk groove to it.”

RKTMN will take the stage at 3 p.m. and play until 4:30 p.m. There will be a pop-up arts market inside the brewery, and Cline said folks can buy band merch.

“I’ll have signup sheets so I can mail people merch,” Cline said. “My CDs won’t get here till the day after because there was a glitch in the system.”

Then he will launch the screening of “Ted’s 1: Warts and All” around 5 p.m. 

“After that we’re going to head back outside and have a jam,” Cline said. “It’s going to be a party.”

The double release show is free to attend and Banh Sai food truck will be on site at Waterline Brewing Company, 721 Surry St. 

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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