“We made $14 last night at our gig. And we split that four-ways.”
It takes commitment, and a long-road view of a career in music to start a band.
Goodnight, Texas has that commitment, and they’re in it for the long-haul. Avi Vinocur and Patrick Dyer Wolf are the driving force behind the band, along with Jonathan Kirchner, and Andrew Laubacher. Their music fuses Indie Rock and Folk, with a clear sense of Soul, and an Appalachian flavor reminiscent of the Civil War era. The fusion of styles works for them, and their audiences.
Same, Same, But Different.
“You have work your way into someone’s nostalgia to be successful, I think. If you resemble something that they are familiar with, they may give it a chance,” says Avi.
“When I was traveling in Vietnam, they were selling t-shirts that said, ‘Same, Same, But Different.’ That’s what we’re about,” says Patrick.
This familiar-but-different approach is all too apparent in both their music, and in their personality and backgrounds. There is clearly a soul-based connection between Avi and Patrick, and you can tell they are one another’s biggest fans. But like their music, there’s a lot of opposite in their attraction to one another—Avi’s got a playful humor, and a laid-back Southern Californian vibe to him. Patrick’s got a more serious, East Coast demeanor, examining the big picture and leaning towards focus. But one of the biggest “opposites” is the fact that Avi’s based in San Francisco, and Patrick lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
How do they make the distance thing work? “Southwest Airlines.” Avi quips.
“The thing I like about Patrick is that he can keep a beat,” jokes Avi. “Seriously, if you work with someone who you admire the way they think, their ideas can make more sense.”
It also helps that the songwriting styles that they gravitate to are complementary when they come together. “I write kind of more vague and subtle stuff, and Avi’s melodies are more memorable. It is a good peanut butter and jelly thing when it happens,” according to Patrick.
Finishing their first Record
The band is just finishing up their first record, and anticipating the opportunities for broader exposure and revenue opportunities such an accomplishment will bring.
“We were excited to come upon a concept we both felt we both loved, playing acoustic instruments as if we were a rock band, with an appalachian influence. I never really had any experience playing the banjo or mandolin, taking up these instruments, and playing music that wasn’t originally designed for these instruments made us think outside the box. How can this dark, Civil War era stuff can evolve pop melodies is really interesting,” says Patrick.
When they first considered putting a band together, they thought about calling themselves “Armchair Archeologist” or “Small Alliance” but settled on “Goodnight, Texas” named after a tiny town in the panhandle of Texas which is equidistant between the bandleader’s two home towns.
“I dressed like Jimi Hendrix in high school. Which sounds ridiculous, "says Avi. "If you can’t picture it--fringe jackets, scarf headbands and neck scarfs—it was really bad. It was awful. I had an electric guitar, and I had a band that played all Jimi Hendrix-style music."
The roots of Goodnight, Texas’ musical approach comes from this background, as well as a more deep-seeded family connection. “There is something in my blood that makes me want to play this music,” says Avi. “My family has been in the country since at least the 1600’s, and appalachian music is buried somewhere in my past. I also had members of my family who played piano and banjo at the turn of the last century.”
The band started as a duo, and has been working on which songs translated to large audiences better. They play clubs from San Francisco to New York, as they develop their sound. They’ve also filmed several professional videos of their songs which has helped them hold-up a mirror to themselves, and to help broaden their exposure.
Their first record is due out in the Spring of 2012.
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