The Family Crest

Barboza Presents

The Family Crest

Trevor Sensor

Thursday 5/25

8:00 pm

$13.00 - $15.00

This event is 21 and over

ADA SEATING: (not wheelchair accessible)
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The Family Crest
It's fitting that The Family Crest was born in San Francisco, a city known for its rich history of experimentation, innovation and progressive thinking. It's the kind of place that would welcome The Family Crest's audacious vision for how music could be created.

In 2009, two young musicians - Liam McCormick (lead vocals, guitar) and his friend, John Seeterlin (bass) - settled in San Francisco to record a cycle of songs that Liam had written. For Liam, a self-taught composer and trained vocalist, there was explicit intent for this recording project: to include as many people as possible in the music-making, based on the belief that everyone is inherently musical when given the opportunity.

Throughout the course of a year, Liam and John reached out into the city and proceeded to record people of all ages and musical backgrounds performing Liam's songs. The project took the duo from churches to living rooms to cafes, even up the coast to Oregon and Washington, all in its mission to build community through music.

The resulting album, The Village, inspired the band to develop into a proper performing entity, adding four classically trained instrumentals around the nucleus that Liam and John defined. Its musical diversity is reflected in the range of bands that The Family Crest has opened for, including The Head and the Heart and OKGO!

This growth also inspired a continued mission of musical inclusiveness. At live shows and in the studio, The Family Crest set out to play with as many musicians as possible. Whether a fan took the stage to be part of a group chorus, or contributed an instrumental part to a recording, they were considered a part of "the extended family," which now boasts over 300 members. "While vying to collect more musicians onstage than the Decemberists or Arcade Fire," remarked The San Francisco Chronicle, "The Family Crest harbors an affection for Burt Bacharach-style swingin' romanticism that is sure to impress lovers of classical pop."

Once the band saw its vision taking hold, even beyond its hometown, it looked back to the city that supported the family for new musical inspiration. Over the course of a week, The Family Crest, in its usual fashion, recorded a plethora of instruments in various homes and churches, as well as John Vanderslice's Tiny Telephone recording studio, to create The Headwinds EP (out July 30, 2013 on Tender Loving Empire). With a pop-infused take on complex arrangements, songs like "Love Don't Go" and "Marry Me" cover the spectrum of love, from the lost to everlasting.

The Headwinds EP introduces music fans to the grand sounds they can expect in the band's new full-length album, Beneath the Brine, a sweeping soundscape befitting the oceanic theme of the title. Featuring brass, string and wind players, as well as guest vocalists to support the impressive range of Liam's voice, Beneath the Brine (out January 2014 on Tender Loving Empire Records) showcases an expansive breadth of arrangements – from dark, classical romanticism to brass-laden sounds akin to the Roaring 20s.

"When I began composing the music for Beneath the Brine," explains Liam, "my orchestrations included instruments I never would have dreamed of including before, like bassoon, vibraphone, French horn. I really tried to learn as much as possible about the instruments I was writing for, and to do that, I went back to members of the extended family to learn about their specific crafts. That's where we saw our vision for collaborative music really come to life."

The result is nothing short of epic, as The Family Crest has wielded classical chamber sounds and pop music elements seamlessly in songs like "The World Will Heal Another One" and "As We Move Forward." It's the sonic representation of what Liam, and many pioneers before him, saw from the edge of the West Coast: the enormity of the sea, with its depths, dangers and possibilities. Beneath the Brine will resonate with listeners who have ever dreamed of pushing onward to find solace and community in something new.
Trevor Sensor
Trevor Sensor was born in Sterling, Illinois, an old industrial town whose strong foothold in the steel and manufacturing industry once saw it nicknamed 'The Hardware Capital of the World' (though since the mill's closure, Sensor likens it to the Lynchian neighbourhood of Lumberton from 'Blue Velvet'). As a teenager, part-time work in the local golf course was countered with experiments in various alternative rock bands: Trevor would idolise idiosyncratic front-men and vocalists like Billy Corgan or Gordan Gano of The Violent Femmes, as well as the canon of great American authors (Salinger, Miller) he'd go on to study at college in Pella, Iowa.

The two began to fuse in his early songwriting, which was recorded between stints as a dish-washer in the local bar and grill ("you learn a lot from the ex-junkies who make up the kitchen staff," he says now). Among the early results are startling debut single 'The Reaper Man', an ambiguous encounter with death driven by Sensor's raw but soulful voice ("Oh here's the reaper man, he's looking after me / Oh here's the reaper man, he's coming to take me"). Coloured by local love affairs, 50s TV and the mysticism of the Midwest, flip-side 'Villains and Preachers' is a similarly outsider's vision of small-town suburbia, from which Trevor Sensor has emerged one of the most striking new finds of the year.
Venue Information:
925 E. Pike St.
Seattle, WA, 98122