Justin Peter Kinkel Schuster (full band) and Spencer Thomas (full band), Baltimore, Tuesday, 17. September 2019

A full band houseshow with Justin Peter Kinkel Schuster and Spencer Thomas @ Club 603 in Roland Park, Baltimore, MD on Tuesday, September 17th. Limited tickets will be available for the concert, so act quickly if you're interested!
PLEASE NOTE: Address of venue will be provided once you purchase your tickets.

Justin Peter Kinkel Schuster
What does a songwriter who has mined darkness do when hefinds a measure of contentment? This was the challenge that faced Fayetteville, AR songwriterJustin Peter Kinkel-Schuster when writing his new album ‘TakeHeart, Take Care.’ A songwriter who had success with WaterLiars and Marie/Lepanto (his collaboration with Will Johnson ofCentro-Matic) and has earned acclaim from NPR, Billboard, NYTimes, and Paste Magazine now took time to reassess his writingprocess. Kinkel-Schuster, who everyone calls Pete, says, “I had,more than anything else, good things to say, and ironically I wasunsure of how to say them. I’d spent so long yawping at perceiveddarkness both real and imagined, internal and external, that I wasin a sense starting from scratch, learning to express somethinggood in a way that didn’t feel cheap or silly or disingenuous tome.” “It took a long time, relatively speaking,” he says, continuing, “Itinvolved a lot more patience and consistency.” He is talking aboutsongwriting but could be talking about the work of showing up forlife. He lists the means that helped with the latter, all as if stillunfolding: “Learning to stop making the same mistakes over andover. Moving to Arkansas. Meeting my partner. Finding peace andstability at home but being able to keep working. Finding abalance between all of these things. Being sober for a number ofyears and working on upkeep.” This balance of which he speaks comes through in ‘Take Heart,Take Care.’ Characters are drawn to and away from other seek both risk and comfort. In the album opener “PlentyWonder,” he sings of the concept, allowing himself “Plenty wonderin this world still to be found.” The notion of balance comes up yetagain when singer and songwriter Julien Baker reacts to thealbum. She says, "’Take Heart, Take Care’ is a beautiful
intersection of grit and tenderness. Pete’s lyrics are immediatelyintimate; brutal enough to swear at you, but familiar enough todispense gentle wisdom in its plainest form. This record is anappeal to the essentially human, a perfect balance of poetry andcandor, full of soul-feeding truth and heart-breaking honesty." Several songs look back at a younger self with curiosity. “Friendof Mine” belies the camaraderie of youth; “Cut Your Teeth” isabout seeing abrasiveness around us but then finding andcherishing “a deep and gentle welcome place inside” andremembering the journey that brought you there and themaintenance needed to keep perspective. It also powerfullyalternates from fingerpicked acoustic guitar to hails of overdrive. “Name What You Are” may be the most autobiographical songhere (a medium in which Pete does not usually traffic). “It’s beingquietly amazed at the places and conditions you put yourself inand why and what that meant at the time and what that meansnow having more or less dedicated your life to it.The atmosphere of ‘what the ****’s going’ on but it not matteringas much as that you’re simply doing it. For lifers in terms ofmaking music, I would hope it might pretty true.” Yet thefingerpicked guitar and melody is more about the reflection backthan the manic activity remembered. When asked about the song,Pete quotes Harry Crews, “Survival is triumph enough.” Several songs, such as “Take Heart, Take Care,” are in thesecond person as if speaking directly to those out there who canidentify with his earlier, darker experiences. He sings, “Time, timeis the mender, whose strange mechanics, yet untold, bid us riseentwined together.” Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and novelist Forrest Gander noteshow this technique makes the listener lean in, saying, "You'llnotice a little delay in the timing as the tunes of JPKS' "Take
Heart, Take Care" back-eddy while he leans into and opens upthe song's long vowels. It's almost as though the singer werepausing for a friend—that's us—to catch up, to keep him companyjust before he turns to dive into the reprise. In fact, friendship is arecurring theme in this album. The second song is ‘Friend of Mine’but other lyrics remind us ‘to keep it close’ so that what countsdoesn't go ‘asunder.’ Pete's voice has an easy, unfeignedsweetness tinged with melancholy, and its warmth blowsconvincingly behind the alternately precise and fuzzy guitarnotation that gives the album its definitive sound." The intimacy that Gander and Baker observe comes of both formand function for Pete: a desire to keep things simple aestheticallybut also the limitations of time and money. His bandmate inMarie/Lepanto, Will Johnson, taught him by example how to builda record by yourself; Pete followed this method, playing all of theinstruments except keyboards. “Will is a hero of mine and I’dgrown to admire his way of working. We made the Marie/Lepantorecord in 3 ½ - 4 days and looking back, I was taken aback thatwe were able to do that. I take a lot of cues from Will,” he reflects.It freed him. The effect is cinematic yet direct, wind across theplains at times, humidity you can feel at others, and theoccasional glimpse of a promised coastline, all of it from a viewalways in motion. The sounds also provide a backdrop of a complicated world forPete to approach his type of makeshift, hard-won providence. Theunderlying message is of hope, to others as well as himself. Hestates, “Here I’ve fumbled my way, as always, and of necessity,into a collection of songs that hold a light to the joys and comfortsof life not given up on, those that appear over time as we arelooking elsewhere, to surprise and delight us when we need themmost. Sure, it’s me, so there are glimpses of and nods to the dark,but the dark is not winning anymore. I simply mean toacknowledge its presence. To me, that’s the most fundamental
job of songs, of stories, of all art—to be allies, friends,companions, when we need them most and it’s my hope thatthese songs can do that work in a world that seems to need it.” So what does a songwriter do when he finds contentment? Hetries to pass on what he knows in hopes of helping the nextperson.

Spencer Thomas

Spencer Thomas is a born and bred Mississippian living in the state’s capital of Jackson. After putting college on hold (for rock ‘n roll) in 2014, he’s been on the road with Alt-Country band Young Valley singing and playing drums. “I’ve co-written songs with Zach Lovett of Young Valley for about 8 years. I had enough tunes that didn’t quite vibe with the sound of the band in my back pocket that I decided to book some studio dates.”

With spare time off the road and a lot of sock drawer money, Spencer recorded “Hangin Tough” at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley over the course of 2018 with engineer Bronson Tew on bass (and the board), Ethan Frink on drums, and Kell Kellum on guitar. “We approached the record with broad strokes. We wanted to make sure each part made a statement without shifting any focus away from the song. I think you can hear that when listening to the record.”

Tuesday, 17. September 2019, Baltimore, Justin Peter Kinkel Schuster (full band) and Spencer Thomas (full band)

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