Dylan Sevey and the Gentlemen can't slow down. Last month they were one of several local bands featured on the PBS series Meet Me at the Met. In July, lead singer/rhythm guistarist Sevey, keyboardist Brendan Moore and lead guitarist David Ponte took to Tennessee as a reworked three-man version of the band. In August they landed what has easily been their most unexpected gig – performing at The Spot for a show sponsored by Glamour magazine.
“When you think Glamour you think a lot of synth or pop,” says Sevey, still scratching his head about how exactly his classic folk-rock and blues-inspired quintet wound up on the bill. “It was our big corporate sellout gig.” The rest of the band laughed off his attempts to justify it. For most of them the clincher was the promise of free booze and tacos.
All of this came in the wake of the release of their debut album, Join the Club, in February. They've only been slinging the disc at shows for nine months, but they've already got their sights locked onto what's next.
“The songs still feel really good and we're not bored of them,” explains Sevey, “but that's because we're consistently doing new things with them and we're writing new songs. Now we're able to incorporate these new songs into our set list and it gives the old songs more life because we're hearing how they match up.”
A lot of Join the Club – a sonic quilt of county ballads, sleazy bar band blues and classic folk-rock that borrows from the likes of The Band, Bob Dylan and the White Stripes – was written by Sevey well before the formation of a band. As a result the band learned a lot of the songs mere weeks before going into the studio.
For the second album there's a fully functioning, symbiotic unit at work. Now Sevey can write songs that anticipate how bassist Steve Ellis' punk and metal-honed energy will come into play, what gonzo time signatures drummer Keaton Albro can effortlessly wrap his sticks around, and where the perfect place for Ponte is to launch one of his oh-so-classic sounding solos into the upper atmosphere would be.
It's retroactive as well. New talents – Ellis only just joined the band in August – and an evolving group sensibility now inform the tracks Sevey had written years before the Gentlemen, opening the doors for left field pos-sibilities like reworking a Tom Petty-esque ballad into an R&B groove by way of Marvin Gaye – a would-be goof that brought fresh energy to a song that the band was having trouble working into sets.
Since the band works so well with all five cylinders firing, the plan is to record their next album live – Join the Club was done one instrument at a time – allowing that raw, all hands on deck energy hiding just under the surface of Join the Club to come roaring to the surface.
“We know that if we actually all played in the same room, actually made eye contact, did it live we'd get a better result,” says Moore. If Join the Club was their proof of concept, this next album will be their statement of purpose.
Join the Club is available at shows, or at dylansevey.bandcamp.com.
Check out an exclusive track from their next album:
Watch them perform "Good Week" from their first album: