Sea Wolf to perform at Frankie’sWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Since he was a child growing up in the Gold Rush town of Columbia, Calif., creativity has been at the core of singer-songwriter Alex Brown Church, the driving force behind indie rock outfit Sea Wolf.
A former NYU film student and a longtime fan of film and music, Church eventually shifted his focus away from film and onto music because it’s where he felt more at home.
“I wasn’t sure which one I wanted to do, and over the course of time I realized that the people that I had met doing music, I felt like they were my people,” Church said. “I felt I had a lot more in common with them, and also I just liked the idea of not having to rely on a million people to get something done, which in film, there’s so many people involved.”
Church started to pursue a musical path approximately 15 years ago and has made it his mission to find his voice in that realm ever since. In fact, he’s been so focused on the music itself that he didn’t even know that “Old World Romance”—his latest album which released on Sept. 11—had cracked the top 10 on the Billboard “Heatseekers Albums Chart.”
“Actually, going to this record, my sort of approach was that I didn’t really want to care about what people thought, or how well it did or anything like that,” Church said. “I just wanted to make a record that I was really proud of, and so I feel like my attitude has changed over the years.
“Maybe I was a little bit more sort of insecure or something and needing that kind of reassurance, but I think at this stage I’m just content to put out a record that I feel really good about.”
Also featuring Lisa Fendelander (keyboards), Joey Ficken (drums), Theodore Liscinski (bass), Joyce Lee (cello) and Nathan “Jr.” Anderson (electric guitar), Sea Wolf will perform at Frankie’s on Oct. 23 as part of its tour in support of “Old World Romance.”
Formerly of the band Irving, Church broke away from that group to tread his own musical path and has been performing under the Sea Wolf name for about eight years now. The follow-up to 2009’s “White Water, White Bloom,” “Old World Romance” is the third full-length album from Sea Wolf since 2007, one that Church set out to be more straightforward structurally and lyrically with a focus on melody.
“I didn’t want it to feel as aggressive as the second record,” Church said of “Old World Romance.” “I just wanted to have more of kind of a mid-tempo, melodic theme. I feel like all of that I definitely achieved.”
Lyrically, Church comes off as an introspective storyteller on “Old World Romance.” From the album’s opener in “Old Friend,” to songs like “Priscilla,” “Saint Catherine St” and “Dear Fellow Traveler,” Church displays his ability to weave together a coherent story in his songs, something that can partly be attributed to his time in film school at NYU.
“I think being in film school sort of taught me how to approach something in kind of a professional way, and it also taught me narrative structure and narrative dramatic structure,” Church said. “I think I just was able to apply a lot of [that structure] to my songwriting and songs.”
With nearly a decade of experience under his belt in trying to carve out his own niche in music and a new record that he’s proud of, Church is pretty happy with where he’s at musically. And while creating records that make Billboard charts aren’t his current aim, it certainly doesn’t hurt that “Old World Romance” did so, either.
“That kind of stuff, the best thing about it is that it means that more people are going to hear the music, which is kind of the goal,” Church said. “It means that hopefully I’ll be able to continuing doing this for awhile.”
On Oct. 23, Sea Wolf will headline a show that also features Hey Marseilles, Nathan Roberts and Sea of Bears at Frankie’s, 308 Main St. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door the day of the show. Advance tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, as well as locally at Culture Clash Records (419-536-LOVE) and Ramalama Records (419-531-ROCK). Doors are at 8 p.m. and all ages are welcome.