Featured Artist: Cross Anchor Union gears up for new album

Brandon Paykamian • Jun 24, 2019 at 10:58 AM

Between the four members of local band Cross Anchor Union, there is nearly a century of musical experience. Their music has been described as indie folk or indie-Americana, but drummer Ted Bradford II said they “aren’t sure what to call it, and aren’t too concerned with labels either.” 

The group is made up of Bradford, Lance McCloud on bass, Nathan Emmert on guitar and Gary Schwenke on guitar, keys and vocals. 

Bradford said they're working on their first album, ”Chapter I,” set to be released soon. On Wednesday, he reached out to the Press to tell us more about their music and what they’ve been up to. 

Who are your biggest influences?

From Dave Brubeck to Ray Charles, Johnny Cash to John Prine, Dylan to the Dead, we all have rather eclectic tastes in music. It makes for an interesting and creative mix when we begin work on a song. 

What changes has the band made in recent months?

We keep simplifying. Gary’s songs are powerful and paint such vivid stories, and we’ve diligently worked to create intentional space around the lyrics and within the music. It’s really helped to create the unique sound that CAU delivers, and the feedback we’ve received from friends and listeners has been overly positive.

Our intent is to serve the music and the song – not to highlight ourselves as individuals. We are four guys with a lot of experience and zero ego. That makes the collaborative process not only more fulfilling but far easier to freely work within.

What can we expect from the band? 

We’ll be playing at Founders After Five on July 19. We’ve also nearly completed recording our inaugural album and will be releasing that into the public space in a matter of months through streaming, CDs and a potential short run of vinyl.

Folks will see CAU out and about from July through November, then likely ease up for the holidays and begin work on the second record. Our hope is to see many more faces in live settings as we move past the album launch and into 2020.

What’s the recording process like for your group? 

Same room, all for one and one for all. We hit the studio mostly ready to record so that time isn’t wasted and we can be far more productive. It also allows time to do any tweaking or implement any ideas or changes. We are recording with John Saylor of Franklin Studios in Jonesborough, and he did some unique mic placements throughout the studio as to capture our raw sound. None of us are fans of overly produced and heavily edited records.

What you hear from us – the good and the ugly – is us. Not some machine or background track. What floors us all is the ease of our entire collaborative process. Nothing has been difficult or work; things have just flowed like water from a mountain spring.

Where do you hope the band will be in five years?

Our hope is that the music resonates with the listener, to the point that CAU becomes part of their life stories and soundtracks. We are all friends and genuinely enjoy spending time and working with one another, playing more music and seeing new places together wouldn’t be a bad thing.