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Veneration Leads to Collaboration
GENRE: Fusion of Folk/Ragtime/Bluegrass & Gospel
HOMETOWN: Los Angeles, CA
ARTISTIC APPROACH: Inspiration through truth, beauty, and each other.
For powerhouse vocalist Sean Wheeler and multi-instrumentalist Zander Schloss, spirit speaks through song, and influences abound through truth and beauty. Two very different individuals, each in great admiration of one another and from their own established musical backgrounds, have met in the middle to craft a hybrid of folk, country, pop, ragtime, bluegrass, and gospel that is equal parts frenzied energy, spirit, and soul.
The two met while Wheeler was on tour with Throw Rag and Schloss with his band of 25+ years, the Circle Jerks. Beforehand, they worked independently with Joe Strummer, the Weirdos, the Low & Sweet Orchestra, Queens of the Stone Age, and Eagles of Death Metal, to name a few. For these naturals at their craft, collaboration would seem predestined. Even their songwriting process appears effortless:
“A lot of times, Zander will be playing his guitar and I will start singing along. I will grab my phone and record what we’re doing as a rough idea, which we then revisit later to hash out. Sometimes complete songs with melodies will come to me and I sing them to Zander, who fills in the instrumentation,” Wheeler says.
Wheeler is also quick to attribute the stylistic and lyrical progression in his songwriting to the ongoing influence of his compatriot: “He [Schloss] is tremendously talented. He probably only keeps it simple at times to appease me, but that works just as well.” It is with great eagerness that Wheeler speaks of what is to come: “We will be playing the Muddy Roots Festival in Tennessee, traveling to Alaska with Flogging Molly, and there is talk of going to Japan with Jeff Decker. We are also readying to make a second album with Gus Seyffert [The Black Keys] or Alain Johannes [Them Crooked Vultures].”
“Charming” doesn’t even begin to describe the duo that has been, until now, one of California’s best-kept secrets.
photo by Geoff Moore