FRIDAY
September 8, 2017 | doors at 9:00pm
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Triple Ds presents:
BLAKE RAINEY & HIS DEMONS
Virginia Plane | Takenobu
  • $10
  • $10
  • ADVANCE
  • DAY OF SHOW
Blake Rainey & his Demons
The title track from Blake Rainey and His Demons’ latest album, Helicopter Rose, is about rescue, and it’s a theme that carries throughout the new record, one populated with stories of forlorn barflies, tattered relationships, and other hard-luck realities of modern life.

“The song ‘Dear Brother’ is about a soldier who’s lost at war, and all of his family and friends are drinking at this bar where he used to hang out, wishing he was there,” Rainey says of the record’s opening track, a dusty roots-rock cut topped off with splashes of Sprinsgsteen-esque Americana. “The record deals with this constant struggle to be rescued from something, whether it be addiction, bad love—or being in the military and being captured by enemy forces.”

Rainey has earned his share of acclaim over the past 15 years. His previous band, the Young Antiques, won Rainey critical accolades for his rollicking mix of power pop and roots rock, including high marks from SPIN, PopMatters, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and more. But it took the Antiques’ dissolution for Rainey to push his songwriting into deeper thematic waters. Citing inspiration from lyricists including Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and Paul Westerberg, Helicopter Rose is checkered with smart wordplay and sharp storytelling in the tradition of his legendary influences.

“I’ve always been drawn to people who write songs that are very unique,” Rainey says. “It takes a talent, or at least an attention to detail, to write lines that aren’t just like ‘Hey baby baby baby.’ You want to try and spin a story that you haven’t heard before. Or maybe you’ve heard it before, but there are interesting new twists in the song that make it fresh.”

And this is exactly what Rainey pulls off with Helicopter Rose. While much of the record is rooted in typically sad-eyed country music fodder, Rainey displays an uncanny knack for turning otherwise painful stories into songs that are, by turns, thought-provoking and amusing. “Go Find Yourself Another Barroom” is about the territorial lines that are drawn at the end of a relationship—a custody battle over a barstool at a couple’s favorite corner dive. “Every Time I’m Thinking Of You,” meanwhile, chronicles the long journey toward acceptance that comes in the wake of a breakup.

“In the song, there’s this guy getting drunk, and he’s heartbroken over this girl,” Rainey says of the Byrds-channeling country rocker. “Then in the middle of the song, at the bridge, he drops this line, ‘The forgetful part is I too broke your heart.’ By the end, you start to realize the narrator isn’t exactly as reliable as you thought. You’re not sure what you can trust coming out of his mouth. I really love using an unreliable narrator. It can add a whole new layer.”

Helicopter Rose also represents new territory for Rainey, musically. A native Georgian, he grew up with country music staples such as Johnny Cash, George Jones, and Waylon Jennings on the stereo. But with the Young Antique’s power-pop approach, there was little room to incorporate his love of country. After recording and touring with the band, off and on, for more than a decade, Rainey released his first record with the Demons, The Dangerous Summer, in 2007. The band's sophomore effort, Love Don’t Cross Me,followed in 2014. “The Demons have freed me up to do different stuff,” Rainey says. “With the Antiques, we mainly did all these fast, rocking songs. I never had a chance to do crazy country licks or anything like that.”

The first two Demons records found Rainey refining his songwriting style to canvas the full scope of his tastes and influences.Helicopter Rose, though, represents a more deliberate push to find where punk rock meets country, where Merle Haggard crosses paths with The Replacements. It took his backing band of drummer Eric Young, guitarist Aaron Mason, and bassist Joe Foy—a seasoned veteran of New York City’s CBGB punk scene—to bring his eclectic vision to life. Rainey also enlisted the services of revered steel guitar player Steve Stone to give the songs some added country authenticity.

Helicopter Rose also reunited Rainey with longtime friend and producer Tim Delaney, a former understudy of Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam producer Brendan O’Brien.

“We labored over the mixes for a while until we got it exactly where we liked it,” Rainey says of working with Delaney. “The cool thing—he’s a friend of mine, so I never really felt like I was on the clock. That can kind of kill creativity when you’re like, ‘Ok, we need to get this done now.’ Instead, we were able to take the time to do things right, and let the creative process unfold at its own pace.”

With recording wrapped, Rainey and the Demons are shooting a video for the record’s first single, “Losing My Way,” which will be out in November. He also plans to tour behind the record, both solo and with His Demons, in the months ahead.
Virginia Plane
Atlanta’s Virginia Plane serves up indie pop goodness with songs ranging from hook-filled gems to dreamy landscapes and music that takes you to a place both familiar and unexpected. Their thoughtfully-crafted tunes feature lyrics that are sometimes telling, sometimes quirky, and a sound reminiscent of 80s alt rock influences mixed with shades of Camera Obscura and Rilo Kiley.


Virginia Plane 2011 CD release show. Photo by John McNicholas
The band is fronted by songwriter Mary O. Harrison, whose vocals have been compared to those of Suzanne Vega and Kirsty MacColl. Harrison (who plays guitar and keys) and Tracy Clark (backing vocals/keys/guitar/bass, etc.) deliver lovely harmonies, while Joey Arbuckle (bass/guitar) and Govind Dixit (drums) provide a rich and varied rhythm section. “Having multi-instrumentalists in the band allows for a great collaborative space and the opportunity to explore arrangements that suit each song,” says Harrison.

The name Virginia Plane is a quasi-Roxy Music reference, putting an aerodynamic twist on the iconic glam rock hit “Virginia Plain.” The song title actually came from one of Brian Ferry’s paintings. “I love Roxy Music – although it would be a stretch to hear it in my writing. A lot of music energizes and inspires me without the connection being obvious,” says Harrison. More direct influences include Carol King, Guadalcanal Diary, and, of course, the Beatles.

Harrison began writing music for the former Atlanta band Charm School in 1999 and released a solo album, Factory of Days, in 2008. Various musicians played in her backing band, the Tiny Tears, until Harrison, Clark (the Preakness, the Blue Hour, Chickens & Pigs, etc.), Dixit (ex-Charm School), and former bandmate McGregor Button (Russian Spy Camera) adopted the name Virginia Plane while recording their self-titled EP in the summer of 2010. The recording, engineered by Ben Price (Studilaroche, Atlanta), was mixed and mastered by Jason NeSmith (Bel Air Studio, Casper and the Cookies) and released in June 2011 by Two Sheds Music. Arbuckle (the Blue Hour, Weapons of Audio) joined the group in January of 2014.

Harrison is the younger sister of Austin musician and songwriter Robert Harrison of Cotton Mather and Future Clouds and Radar.
Takenobu
Nick Takénobu Ogawa, an Atlanta-based and nationally renowned cellist and composer, is a classically trained artist that has created his own style of music for the cello. He incorporates bluegrass, blues, and other non-traditional sounds that exemplify ways of using the rich sound and dynamic range of the cello to make new, interesting, and beautiful music. While living in Kyoto, Japan, Nick taught himself to sing and play at the same time, and began seriously writing music. He has lived and performed in New York, Philadelphia, Vancouver BC, and is now a regular in the Atlanta music scene. Nick performs using his middle name, Takénobu, which means “Iron-Will” in Japanese. Takénobu is a traditional Japanese name that comes from the combination of the Kanji (Japanese characters) in his father's and grandfather’s first names. Takénobu is now joined by violinist Brian Harper and drummer John Craig. To listen to Takénobu's unique sound, please visit listen.takenobumusic.com
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