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Sunday April 28 2024
  7:00PM doors -- music at 8:00PM
 
•••  ALL AGES
$18 in advance / $20 at the door
Bendigo Fletcher
www.allthemwitches.org/
 americana folk rock soul psychedelic
Field Guide
instagram.com/fieldguidesongs
 folk indie rock pop



Bendigo Fletcher
-from Louisville, KY
-Shapeshifting on an axis between folk, alternative, country, and soul, Bendigo Fletcher’s lofty melodies soar above earthy instrumentation on their 2022 Wingding EP [Elektra Records]. Charmed with psychedelic flourishes, yet tightly rooted in tried-and-true songcraft, the Louisville quintet—Ryan Anderson [lead vocals, guitar, banjo], Andrew Shupert [backing vocals, lead guitar], Evan Wagner [backing vocals, keys, guitar, percussion], Conner Powell [bass], and Chris Weis [drums]—continues to instantly transfix across the EP’s four tracks.

“More than a few times, I’ve explored the Wingding font universe as an entertaining break from more pressing tasks. I like the name ‘Wingding’ for a fictional creature, like the Mothman of West Virginia folklore. It’s also another word for party,” Anderson says. “This EP is a collection of distractions we built over the last few years when gatherings and adventures felt pretty unattainable.”

After crisscrossing paths in the Louisville scene and life in general (“Chris is my brother-in-law’s childhood best friend,” notes Anderson), Bendigo Fletcher initially formed in 2016. The group organically built an audience across their native Kentucky one gig at a time. During 2018, they made waves with the independent Consensual Wisdom EP highlighted by fan favorites “Wonderfully Bizarre” and “Soul Factory.”

Following a tireless grind, the band signed to Elektra Records and unveiled their debut album, Fits of Laughter in 2021. Beyond amassing millions of streams, the album earned widespread critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, American Songwriter, FLOOD Magazine, and more. Music Connection dubbed it, “Alt-rock, country-flecked folk-rock soaked in LSD,” while Atwood Magazine praised the collection as “a record of reverie, celebration, and true to its name, laughter: music made for good times and bad, that promises to leave us all a little more elated.” Along the way, Bendigo Fletcher captivated crowds on tour with the likes of Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Hiss Golden Messenger, Mt. Joy, Nathaniel Rateliff, Anderson East, Rayland Baxter, and Shakey Graves.

In 2022, Bendigo Fletcher returned to Nashville, TN’s Cartoon Moon Recording Studio to track their Wingding EP. Once again, the band teamed with Fits of Laughter producer and original Wilco/Uncle Tupelo drummer Ken Coomer in the studio. For the first time, the band enlisted Grizzly Bear bassist and producer, Chris Taylor, as a mixer.

“In addition to the brilliance of Ken’s ear as a song maker, I appreciate the environment he maintains,” notes Ryan. “All ideas are considered, and we try to just have fun trying new sounds. I think that mentality lends to a unique blend, keeping the band outside of any one box. And I’ve found constant inspiration in Chris’ work as a soundscaper since a friend introduced me to Veckatimest in high school. Having him on the project was really exciting, and I think his mixes present the band’s ethos in a beautifully natural way.”

The act of making the record opened a portal outside of the madness and mundanity of the last two years. Between holding down a job at a grocery store, Ryan picked up a pen and a guitar in his apartment and creatively departed this mortal coil.

“The songs were my way of coping with the idle uncertainty of the early pandemic months and escaping into a creative space to keep my spirit alive. They come from a more imaginative place where I feel a freedom to process and color some experiences in a productive light.”

The collection’s lead single “Pterodactyl” drifts into the arms of ethereal piano, woozy slide guitar, percussive handclaps, and wistful whistling. Meanwhile, Ryan ponders everything from budding love to “the witching hour for the higher power” via strangely saccharine melodies.

“It gradually bloomed with different instruments and textures in the studio,” he recalls. “The song kind of unfolds like a long-game relationship. It begins vulnerably and intimately, and evolves into deeper layers of musical support and mystery.”

The opener “Stranger Encounters” hinges on a delicate stomp and twangy guitars as a close encounter of a different kind happens…

“During the COVID lockdown, I found myself watching more sci-fi—X Files, Twin Peaks, the Alien movies— for entertainment and comfort,” he says. “This one’s about just getting out there and living, tasting, touching, experiencing through my own senses. We’re all part of an ecology of diverse preferences and individual truths, and this song is a celebration of that.”

Then, there’s “Juniper Moore.” Wrapped in a blanket of luminous guitar and piano, a hypnotic refrain pierces the sky with “a weird lasagna of feelings.”

“I’ve imagined a far-fetched romance or two that works out beautifully in another universe,” he states. “This song helped me to play a bit in that loneliness. I think a lot about the fine line within technology’s capabilities to either remedy or exacerbate that loneliness.”

Meanwhile, the bright acoustic guitar and lithe vocal delivery of “Broken Routine” fall back to earth with “some glimpses at a relationship that has worked out well.”

“We hope to provide a few moments of musical distractions for anyone who needs them,” he leaves off. “The EP dances between confession and fabrication for what feels like a cleanse of imagination. It’s a relief to share a few more stories from that place.”



Field Guide
-from Toronto, ON
-Field Guide (aka Dylan MacDonald) is a weaver of worlds. Built around his inviting voice and wrapped in warm textures, his self-titled sophomore full-length builds his most engaging world yet. It lives in a place between darkness and hopefulness with unshakeable melodies at its heart. “Melody is what makes words fall out of my mouth. It’s disarming. When I find a melody that represents my internal world, I drop my guard. I allow the words to appear out of thin air without judgement. A lot of these songs came to life that way. I wasn’t trying to make anything, but the songs became a home for words that I wasn’t yet ready to write on the page,” MacDonald says.

The past few years haven’t allowed for much escape from our interior worlds. There’s been a lot to move through, and many things can be true at once. This album lives at the sometimes-tense intersection of those truths – loving someone dearly while being pulled toward something new, feeling joy in the melancholy, a gratitude for deep friendship and an uncertainty of one’s place in it.

The album is also alive with the people and places that surrounded its creation. Vocals and acoustic guitars were recorded near Riding Mountain National Park in a woodstove-heated cabin during one of Manitoba’s coldest winters in years. Bass and drums were tracked at Breakglass Studios in Montreal, a room that already felt familiar from falling in love with the records of tour-mate Leif Vollebekk. Final overdubbing took place at Monarch Studios in Vancouver surrounded by trusted engineers and friends. And constant inspiration was found in his circle of Winnipeg creators working away on their own projects. Like The Big Pink house – Boy Golden, Slow Spirit, Roman Clarke, Kris Ulrich and others dropped in on each other to share demos and often lend their sounds to each other’s albums.

Beyond his hometown, Field Guide has had the opportunity to meet some heroes and new friends. He’s supported Leif Vollebekk, Bahamas, SYML, Wild Rivers, JP Saxe and Penny & Sparrow on their tours this year. He’s built a legion of fans online and on the road. So, while this is a solo album that invites the listener inside Field Guide’s inner monologue world, it really is meant to be lived in together. “These are the truest, rawest songs that I’ve ever written. I’ve never felt so sure about something I’ve made before. And now, it’s yours.”