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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cheers and support for Time and the New Romans

By Ted Slowik

Having delved further into songwriting, performing, recording and all that goes with it these past two years, I recognize and appreciate when others do things well. And the guys in the band Time and the New Romans do it all well. In fact, very well, methinks!

They have great songs to start with, and you should know by know it all starts with great songwriting. Then they're exceptionally adept at performing. And their recordings sound great. Check them out and see if you don't agree. You can start with their website and Facebook fan page.

Members of Time and the New Romans are bassist John Lauler, guitarist Bill Ryan, drummer Mathew Roberts and songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Greg Woods.

I was introduced to the band through Bill, who is a regular at the Tribes Alehouse open mics with other friends like Ryan Olsson. Bill's quite a good guitarist. After hearing him play, and admiring the clarity of his tone and confidence and ease with which he picks out notes, I wasn't too surprised to learn he holds a master's degree in classical guitar performance.

Bill has an undergrad in music business from Millikin University, which is where Greg also went to school and majored in commercial music. After getting to know Greg, it turns out his dad Bob knows several of my older brothers and sisters from growing up and hanging out at Timber Trails Swim Club back in the day. Small world!

I really admire and appreciate the hard work, focus and execution of this band. Music can be appreciated at many levels. The level at which I appreciate this band recognizes the quality of the subtleties of their art, and understanding of what it takes to achieve that greatness.

Over the summer I saw them perform live at a release party for their debut collection, an EP that you can buy on iTunes and other places (look for details on their website). At that show I met the bassist, John, who lives just a few blocks away, it turns out. I played bass for many years and can assure you John is very good. It was great meeting other members of his family like his dad and brother, because that kind of support is very special and meaningful.

Since that show they've brought in a new drummer, Mathew, a friend of John's, which is good because you want the bassist and drummer to have a special connection. The guys just recently spent a week outside Champaign recording their first full-length album. You can read more about that process on their blog, in which each member and their engineer/producer share their impressions of the recording. I think it's great when a group shares in the creative process in a collaborative way.

They've also got some video of the project, and have released a short trailer of a documentary about the making of the album.

Time and the New Romans have a big, fun, orchestral sound at times, like on their song "Your Eyes." They can also create entirely different moods with their music, using beautiful sounds and techniques to spin wonderfully soft and relaxing tones. My favorite song on their first collection is "Begin."

Anyway, just wanted to spread the word about a group whose work I admire, and I hope you're able to check them out.