Their lineup may be different, and their second album might have different instrumentation than the first, but The Corduroy Road is still bringing honest Americana to audiences.
The band will be returning to a frequent Augusta haunt, the Still Water Tap Room, 974 Broad St., at 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17.
This time, the lineup differs in that Dylan Solise, a co-founder of the group, has left to pursue his education at medical school in West Virginia.
“He had been putting it off to play music, and it was that time,” said Drew Carman, the group’s vocalist. “He’s still really encouraging of what we do and we’re still good friends. It’s just a decision he had to make.”
The group released its second album, Two Step Silhouette, in June, and Carman noted a departure from the sound of the previous album, Love is a War, released in 2009.
“With the last one, we produced a very clean, radio-friendly album that was really tight with some great session musicians, and with a lot of instruments that we typically don’t play in a live setting,” Carman said, mentioning the mandolin as one of those instruments.
“We departed from that in that the only instruments on this album are the instruments that we play at a live show,” he said, “the instruments we fit in our van.”
Without Solise, the way the band harmonizes is different, Carman said, and the new album adds two
instrumentals that the previous one didn’t have.
The songwriting process starts with Carman and bandmate Elijah NeeSmith, who put together a chord structure and lyrics, and then the song is brought to the band to flesh out the details.
“That’s how a song is born and developed,” Carman said. “Over time as we tour, the songs change a little bit as well. Playing out in a live setting, they take a life of their own.
“Sometimes things get changed based on what we feel from the audience, like different breaks or stops in a song might get more pronounced based on an audience’s reaction from the song,” he said.
That same interactive process in the evolution of the band’s music applies to live shows as well.
“You can gauge people’s reactions to songs and the music you’re playing just by looking a person in the eye and watching people in front of you,” Carman said. “It
certainly affects the energy
of how you’re playing the song. It feeds off of each other.”
The more energy in the room, the better, but sometimes the band has to set it off, he said.
“You have to create the energy from the get go, and hopefully everybody will fall in line,” he said.