Today, acclaimed Raleigh-based alternative band The Connells have released an acoustic EP, reinterpreting four tracks from their acclaimed album Steadman’s Wake. The album, which was released in September to widespread acclaim, marked the end of a 20-year recording hiatus for the band. Recorded in the band’s practice space by longtime engineer Tim Harper (Alejandro Escovedo, Whiskeytown, Queen Sarah Saturday), the Steadman’s Wake Acoustic EP features the smoother sound guitarist and vocalist Mike Connell wrote the songs while emphasizing the immediacy of the songs. like “Steadman’s Wake” and “Song For Duncan”.
“When I’m working on a new song, I usually sit down with an acoustic guitar and flesh out as much as I can while the idea is still fresh,” says Mike Connell. “With these releases we tried to cut a little closer to the bone in terms of recording and arranging while still capturing the spirit of the band.”
Steadman’s Wake featured eight new songs and three re-recorded versions of previously released demos that originally appeared on the 2001 Old-School Dropouts CD. It was also the band’s first album to feature two new members, guitarist Mike Ayers and drummer Rob Ladd (who have been with the lineup since 2002 and 2012, respectively), and the band’s debut album with Mike Connell playing a prominent role as vocalist. Steadman’s Wake received accolades from BrooklynVegan, American songwriter, New Noise Magazine and under the radar among others. stereogum created the title track calling it “proof that the Connells used all that time productively”.
The Connells first formed in Chapel Hill at the University of North Carolina in 1984, debuting a year later with the song “Darker Days” on Dolphin Records More Mondo Compilation, followed by their debut album Darker Days in 1986. Their 1987 Mitch Easter-produced album Boylan Heights established them as college radio favorites, and they continued to work with producers such as Gary Smith (Pixies, Billy Bragg), Hugh Jones (Echo & the Bunnymen, Modern English) and Lou Giordano (Goo Goo Dolls, Bob Mold) on subsequent albums. Three The Connells albums made the Billboard 200 charts in the United States, but their biggest commercial success came overseas in 1993 with “’74-’75”, a brooding pensive ballad from their Ring LP which reached the top 10 in 11 European countries in 1995 (including No. 1 in Sweden, Norway and Germany).
June 17 – Jacksonville, FL @ Intuition Ale Works
June 18 – Tampa, FL @ Skipper’s Smokehouse
*Postponed from April
Steadman’s Wake Acoustic Tracklist:
1. Steadman’s Wake (acoustic)
2. Song for Duncan (acoustic)
3. Fade In (Hardy) (Acoustic)
4. Helium (Acoustic)
Photo credit: Bryan Regan