ANTE UP Ponte, Albro, Sevey, Murray, and Moore.
Dylan Sevey and the Gentlemen have been on the local scene for just one year, but the dapper rock/pop/barroom blues quintet are sounding wise beyond their years on the new debut album Join the Club. Download a copy ($8) at dylansevey.bandcamp.com or pick up the professionally packaged disc (a novel idea nowadays) for just $10 at AS220 on Friday when Sevey and company join a stacked roster of local talent.
Sevey's talented band of Gents includes lead guitarist David Ponte, bassist Denis Murray, drummer Keaton Albro, and Brendan Moore on keys. Ponte, Sevey, and Murray grew up in the South Kingstown area (Moore is a Warwick guy and Albro hails from West Greenwich). Moore and Sevey first teamed up during their freshman year at URI in the jazz/rap collective Milkbread. Keaton joined URI's music department the following year and is considered by Sevey as the "final piece of the yet-to-be-formed puzzle." Multi-instrumentalist and lead singer Sevey is the Gents' primary songwriter; the former drummer took the helm after founder Dan Swain had to leave the band to attend college.
"It was originally Dan Swain and the Gentlemen, with me behind the kit, and Brendan, Denis, and I helped Dan record an EP in 2011, and then David joined the group for live shows," Sevey said earlier this week. "For a couple shows, Dan and I switched places so I could do a few of my songs as well.
"Eventually, Dan had to leave but I didn't want to stop," Sevey noted. He recorded and released a three-track EP last year. "The EP received such a positive enough response that I got back to trying to find a drummer, and when Keaton expressed interest I knew it would be a great fit," Sevey continued. "So we got permission from Dan to retain the name and immediately got the ball rolling."
The songs from the EP re-appear on Join the Club. "Yearlong Autumn" jumpstarts the disc with some nice guitar work from Sevey and Ponte. Dylan's vocals shine on the bluesy pop number "Good Week" and the stellar "Lights Out." A horn section adorns "Bessie James," while Sevey and impressive guest vocalist Gianna Mia mesh well on "Same Rain." A personal favorite would be the slow-burning closer "Content," with Ponte and Moore stealing the show while Sevey sneers, "My woman told me, 'Go undress before you leave, no other way to tell that there's nothing up your sleeve.' "
A few spins through Join the Club and it is evident these young bucks probably grew up flipping through dad's record crates, inspired by retro platters by the Beatles, Tom Petty, and the Band. Sevey also cites My Morning Jacket and Wilco as major influences.
"As long as we keep the songs real and honest, I like to think we can have a distinct and unique sound," Sevey said.
Sevey works part-time at Looney Tunes in Wakefield, which helped inspire Join the Club's high-quality CD packaging, which includes a 16-page color booklet.
"I absolutely love holding a tangible product in my hands, and while digital downloads are fine and dandy, nothing beats having a physical copy," said Sevey. "The album cover, lyrics, liner notes, and pictures are key pieces to the whole work of art that is the album. The packaging cost a lot more money but it was totally worth it, and I'm glad to see people responding to it positively."