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Dry River Yacht Club Set

To Release
El Tigre

Images courtesy of Dry River Yacht Club.

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Eight-Piece Gypsy Folk Band That Is Standing On The Proverbial Cusp Of Stardom Prepares To Release New Album And Will Celebrate In Phoenix Saturday At The Crescent Ballroom

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By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine

Nov. 14, 2013 — Dry River Yacht Club have been making what they call “gypsy western” music in the Valley of the Sun for the better part of the last six years. From their beginnings as a “soft pretty,” five piece as described by bass clarinet player Fred Reyes, to the “buff” eight piece they are now, according to drummer Henri Bernard DRYC, has earned their place as a pre eminent local act.

On Nov. 15, Dry River Yacht Club will be celebrating their greatest musical accomplishment to date, the release of their upcoming album El Tigre, and the kick off show for their accompanying tour of Arizona. The tour will start in Tucson at Plush 340 E. Sixth St. before coming to Phoenix’s Crescent Ballroom 308 N. Second Ave. on Nov. 16 followed by dates at Flagstaff's Green Room 15 N. Agassiz St. on Nov. 23 and Cottonwoods Mainstage 1 S. Main St. on Dec. 6.

DRYC is looking to release the album in CD format only for the Ariz. release.

“The plan is for us to do an (Arizona) only release at first. So if you’d like to buy a copy in Arizona you can buy one at probably Revolver and Stinkweeds and places like that,” said Bernard. But according to the drummer, who doubles as the band's booking agent, the band has all their ducks in a row for a national release that will include vinyl and digital releases in 2014.

“We just want to show some love to Arizona, and let the people who have been supporting us get the music before everyone else,” said Reyes. El Tigre is DRYC’s fourth release coming after their self-titled 2008 E.P. as well as 2009’s The Ugliest Princess, and 2011’s Family Portraits / Calm Mutiny.

“I feel like we finally got the sound we were looking for. Because I  think we used to be this cutsey little artsy sort of ‘what are they with all these instruments’ band you know? Spectacle more than music. Which you know when you’re new we were into it and having fun and now, this music,  it’s what we believe in,” said Bernard. “The new album has kind of got a little red thread at least from our perspective. In the sense that all other songs are secretly about El Tigre and El Tigre is secretly Isabella which is the eighth track of the album.”

The eight-piece band which also includes Kristilyn Woods on bassoon, Ben Allred on violin, Corey Gloden on acoustic guitar, Paul “P.C.” Cordone on bass, and Zach Lewis on bass trombone conceptualizes the music together, while lead singer Garnet has the final say on the “fantastical” lyrics according to Reyes.

“Garnet writes all the lyrical content, all the words, and she sort of has this grand universe in her head from what I can see, and all of these songs are in that universe,” said Reyes. “They’re still in that same setting of this fantastical environment that we have. I personally think when you write a song you’re setting a place and time and Garnet definitely has that, and all these songs are in that universe. That little red thread comment I think was a good one because we weren’t out together make a concept album, we’ve gotten to the point where we are just all together.”

Another aspect added to the album was the employment of producer Craig Schumacher who besides DRYC also produced albums for Iron and Wine, Calexico, and Devotchka.

“Working with Craig made us change the way we write our songs, it made us change the way we think,” said Bernard. “His music brain man, I feel like I gained five years of studio experience in one session with him. I feel like I just learned tricks I feel like the band learned tricks I feel like we learned more about ourselves we learned what we could actually sound like with somebody who knows what we want to sound like and we should sound like.”

It has taken Dry River six years and countless member and instrument shifts to find what they “should,” sound like but according to Bernard, El Tigre is a great representation of what the current roster is trying to accomplish musically.

According to Reyes, who is one of three original members left in the band along with Garnet and Woods, DRYC evolved from the “soft, pretty thing,” they once were, “it sounded very pretty we had the cello, it was a high-mid instrument, we had myself (bass clarinet) which is a straight up mid instrument, we had the bassoon which is low-mid but she plays it in the mid mid-instrument, and so it was very warm sounding. And we had the acoustic guitar so it was like singer-songwriter with a really really beautiful bass midtone to it and that worked really well because we were just a soft pretty thing,” said Reyes.

But the sound turned more “fun and bouncy,” through the evolution of a troupe of musicians upon adding Bernard on drums and former violinist Megyn Neff.

“Then Henri came along and he started and we were trying to be a fun, bouncy thing and probably not as successful. I probably thought it was better than it really was, then we get Megyn in there and that made it more bouncy. With the drums, violin and cello we found that we can be a bouncy group,” he said.

Through the years the band has gained and lost a cellist, a tuba player, two guitarists, a trombone player, trumpeter, and a french horn. All in the interest of finding the sound of an “acoustic symphony indie rock on a dancin’ pirates rusty yacht,” according to their website.

“So we were more bouncy and fun, but we weren’t quite rocking. But now that we added bass, we rock,” said Reyes about the addition of the newest member Pardone who has only been aboard the Yacht for a year. According to Bernard the band sounds much more “buff” with the addition of a bass.

As eclectic as Dry River Yacht Club is they had no choice but to recruit an eclectic group of bands to perform for their album release. The show begins at 7 p.m. tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door and the show will feature performances by Dylan Pratt, Technicolor Hearts, Muejeres Del Sol, decker, Future Loves Past, a free lounge area performance by Flamenco Por La Vida and The Sun Punchers E.P. release which is the side project of Reyes and Bernard.

Jeff Moses a senior contributor at Modern Times Magazine. He can be reached at jmoses@moderntimesmagazine.com.
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