If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many does a song account for?
If the song is by the Novelists, you’re at least guaranteed a compelling story. This Reno rock band prides itself on cliffhanger storytelling as a core component of its tunes.
“A lot of what we do tends to be story songs or soundtrack songs, where it’s either a story itself or it’s setting the mood for a scene of some sort,” keyboardist Eric Andersen said. “It tends to be a theme that sort of naturally comes up.”
Vocal melodies and harmonies are another key focus for the band, with all four members contributing vocally.
“I would say a lot of what we’re doing is about the vocals, that’s the unifying signature thing of the Novelists,” Andersen said. “Almost every song there’s some sort of harmonies or counterpoint vocals.”
The Novelists brought its wide-ranging sound to Crystal Bay Casino’s Crown Room January 28, opening for Southern California rock and folk band Miner. Here’s a slideshow by Kurt E. Johnson:
“What we do is sort of, in a very broad scope falls under the category of folk pop rock. But some of our songs are almost Broadway, some are just straight-ahead rock,” Andersen said. “Some are pop. There’s some throwback to earlier writing, disco, soul and stuff.”
The quartet is Joel Ackerson (acoustic and electric guitar, vocal), Andersen (keyboards, vocal), Zach Teran (upright and electric bass) and Justin Kruger (drums). While the group has been played together in one combination or another for years, this lineup came together in 2014 with the addition of Kruger.
The members have been playing together in one combination or another going back a decade. Ackerson, Andersen and Teran started a band with a Reno musician named Megan Snyder in 2012, which Andersen described as a similar sound to the Novelists. Snyder left in 2013, and Kruger joined the band in 2014.
While the group looks forward to the release of a two-CD album in 2015, fans of the Novelists have had access to the group’s music via a nifty and clever avenue for the last few years.
“We recorded a whole bunch of material in 2013, we called it ‘The Novelists Book Club,” Andersen said. “It was a subscription service, where we would release two fully mastered songs each month for a year.”
Apart from providing a steady diet of new tunes, this approach also drove the bands creative impetus, keeping them in studio and working toward deadlines.
“It went pretty darn well. I’m not sure exactly what are numbers were, but I think we exceeded our expectations of how big it was going to get.” Andersen said. “It was surprising to us how many songs we could turn out in a short amount of time. We didn’t feel like we were compromising quality either.”
Included with the releases was behind-the-scenes footage, allowing fans a look inside the recording and production process.
Now, the group is focused on the release of a double album in 2015, having been at work in the studio throughout 2014. Another goal this year is to expand the groups touring footprint around Northern California, with the aim of building fan bases in concentrated areas, and then expanding outward.
Editor’s note: To see more concert photos by Kurt E. Johnson: CLICK
ABOUT Nick McCabe
Nick McCabe is a musician, photographer and writer from Reno. He is the editor of the music website Front Row Photo. He plays in a seven-piece band, Apothic.