The formula for a band to release music to the masses has been the same for more than three quarters of a century: Write and record an album, release a single, play a ton of shows promoting said album, hope you have gained enough momentum to release more singles, go back to the studio, and lather, rinse, repeat. Roots rock singer-songwriter Kevin Aldridge, who’s been writing and performing for 20-plus years, is taking a different route.
Instead of recording a full follow-up to his last recording, 2012’s The Viper Sessions, Aldridge and his Appraisers –– keyboardist Maui, drummer Ryan McCauley, guitarist Steffin Ratliff, and bassist Paul Reid –– have been recording in waves at Electric Barryland, the Argyle studio helmed by producer/singer-songwriter Jordan Richardson, a.k.a. Son of Stan (War Party, The Longshots, Tidals). The band has been tracking a tune or two at a time since July and releasing them as they are finished.
The idea for releasing singles as opposed to a full album is less of a gimmick than it might seem. Aldridge said the one-ditty-at-a-time approach better serves each track individually, not only for the listener, but for the band as well.
“People are always trying the same things trying to get to other places,” Aldridge said. “That’s not the way it works. You have to try different things to get to different places.”
Aldridge hatched the singles idea as a result of having a batch of songs that didn’t really fit together as a cohesive record. Understanding this, he decided to spend more time on each tune individually, as opposed to trying to make a handful of tracks work as a collection.
Early-fortysomething Aldridge is open to all ideas on how to get his music heard. Having released numerous albums over the years with his two main bands, Brasco and Chatterton, the sharp-witted beardo has earned a reputation as one of the most gifted songwriters in town, grinding through shows hoping to sell copies and open ears. Despite constantly gigging, he’s never quite broken through to the next tier of rock ’n’ roll fame.
“No better time than now to try something different,” he said.
Releasing songs as they are finished in the studio is hardly a brand new idea. Kanye West is probably the highest profile artist to follow the record-and-release model.
Aldridge isn’t opposed to collecting the tracks for one release in the future. He knows that this approach might not propel him to the headline spot at Coachella, but he is committed to the bit.
“I spend zero time thinking about what might pop people,” Aldridge said ,using wrestling terminology. (He’s a big fan of the sport.) “None of that matters when you focus on songs.”
Aldridge released the first single in October. The hard-rocking “Winner Leaves Town” was immediately embraced by local radio, blogs, and weekly publications. The tune found its way onto numerous end-of-year bests lists.
Another benefit of parceling out material is that each release is its own event. Instead of one big show followed by gigs working the record, Aldridge and company now get to book dates around each track –– a kind of gaming of the system.
“Things are so disposable right now,” Aldridge said. “I’m sort of playing people’s short attention spans against them.”
The announcement of the second single, “El Juando,” an ode to former Texas Ranger –– and two-time American League MVP –– Juan Gonzalez, got immediate attention from local radio, already having hit the airwaves a handful of times in the past week. The three-and-a-half minute keys and guitar-led tune about not appreciating or enjoying one’s own achievements will be formally released Friday night at the Chat Room Pub. A third and fourth installment in the series will follow in the spring.
[box_info]Kevin Aldridge & The Appraisers
Fri w/Ded Knight and Andy Pickett at the Chat Room Pub,1263 W Magnolia Av, FW. Free. 817-922-8319.[/box_info]