While the Pete Kilpatrick band can be described as a Northeast U.S. touring act, they’ve done a great job of staying relevant in that scene for over a decade.
Not all of us have heard of Pete Kilpatrick, but if you’re from the great state of Maine then there’s a high likelihood that you have. Over the years, the Pete Kilpatrick band have toured with Blues Traveler and the Dave Matthews Band, they were signed (and then dropped) by Epic Records, and they got to play for President Obama during a Maine campaign stop in 2012. So, while the Pete Kilpatrick band can be described as a Northeast U.S. touring act, they’ve done a great job of staying relevant in that scene for over a decade. On top of all of that, they just released their 7th album, “Echo”… not too shabby.
“With the new album, we tried to track it live,” explained Kilpatrick talking with AA recently. “We set up in Camden, Maine which is about an hour north of Portland. It’s kind of like a converted bar that’s been turned into a studio. On our previous albums, we would do everything track by track. We decided that with this new album we wanted to recreate more of a live feel. We set up in one big room with a disco ball and we played together. If someone messed up, then we all started over.”
Except for a lot of kids making music with closet studios there’s been a refreshing change to the organic side of independent music – tracking everything as a band and then fixing little things in post-production instead of tracking every instrument separately. It’s not something that’s new, but it’s new for the Pete Kilpatrick band, surprising as it is because they’re a band that’s earned most of their stripes as a live band.
“I’m a big fan of Dawes and the way they record,” explained Pete on why they wanted to take the band tracking approaching to making this record. “They take it back to the way it was done back in the day and that’s the way we wanted to make this record. There weren’t very many overdubs on this new record at all. It was really easy to recreate in a live setting. With the older stuff we’d only play four or five of the tracks live because the other songs had so many guitar and piano parts that it was hard to have the songs have the same sound and vibe as the recording. This way the songs have more room to breathe and it has more of a live feel.”
Kilpatrick is a family man and that schedule doesn’t always make room for eureka moments of the song writing process. Songs come late at night or in focused sessions trying to come up with ideas. The title track on this record and where the vibe on it comes from started with a book that Pete was reading – then he just kind of ran with it from there.
“I was reading In The Heart of The Sea – I was reading the book, not watching the movie. It was about this guy that was lost at sea after a shipwreck. I had this idea – he might has well have been lost in space. From there, I thought of what it would be like to be out in the middle of nowhere alone. There’s nothing around you and you’re trying to get home, but there’s no real comfort. Echo is the meaning of that– you’re out in the middle of nowhere by yourself that you can’t even hear your own voice when you talk. It just gets picked up and carried off. The book started it and then it turned into a guy being lost in space. Really an interesting idea I thought, so I ran with it.”
Whatever Kilpatrick did on Echo it seemed to work. His songwriting style has always been good, but on this album he takes things to another level. It’s some of the best work yet for the Pete Kilpatrick band… not bad for album seven.
The Pete Kilpatrick band will be playing roughly forty dates around the Northeastern United States this summer, for more information on tour dates, you can see them at petekilpatrickband.com/tour.