Modern Fools set to release debut album

  • Modern Fools will release its debut nine-track album on May 8 and will celebrate with a show at Nova Arts in Keene, which is also available via livestream. Courtesy photo—

  • Modern Fools will release its debut nine-track album on May 8 and will celebrate with a show at Nova Arts in Keene, which is also available via livestream. Courtesy photo—

  • Modern Fools will release its debut nine-track album on May 8 and will celebrate with a show at Nova Arts in Keene, which is also available via livestream. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/6/2021 10:57:37 AM

Like many musicians, Josh Blair found himself with all the time in the world to write in 2020.

He’s always been putting pen to paper and getting lyrics together for one song or another – it’s just what songwriters do. But this time in his creative journey felt different, just like every other aspect of his daily life.

The Peterborough native recognized early on that his writing could actually turn into something to put out into the world. It was more than just a collection of songs. It felt like what he was working through had the makings of an album.

“At the start of the lockdown, March and April, I locked myself in the home studio,” Blair said.

He’s played on plenty of albums in his day, but it was always as part of a band, and definitely not with his fingerprints on all aspects of it.

“I’ve played in local bands over the years, but this is definitely my first baby so to speak,” Blair said.

The band actually formed back in 2015 and while they were all about putting together original music, “we just never got into the studio” to record, Blair said.

Fast forward six years, and Modern Fools looks a little different. A few of the members are new, after a parting of ways over the years. The project was put on the back burner for a while, but as Blair was creating songs, he felt it would be a perfect way to get a new iteration of Modern Fools back on the local music scene.

“The stars aligned, I guess,” he said.

Saturday will mark the release of “SEER,” the nine-song debut album that will be celebrated with an in-person concert at Nova Arts Block in Keene that will feature a livestream component as well.

“It’s just a great group of folks playing music together,” Blair said. “And we’re ready to get back to it, playing some shows as the world opens back up.”

Once the songs came together, Blair said it was important to take that next step and bring those words to life. He also got a friendly nudge from Modern Fools drummer Justin Gregory.

“He was pushing me, saying now is the time,” Blair said. “And it was obviously the intent to start recording.”

The question was how. With the music world shut down and people staying away from one another, Blair had to figure out how to get the ball rolling for the project. It started with email and then eventually led to getting together with Gregory, Jonathan Braught (guitar), Walker Landis (bass) and Nick Heys (keys) to see exactly what the band had in front of them. All but one song from the old era of Modern Fools was “fresh new stuff,” Blair said.

Blair had played with all of his fellow Modern Fools members in other bands, including Landis in the original Modern Fools lineup.

“So it’s all people I play with already,” Blair said. “But it’s a new lineup, a revival of Modern Fools.”

Over the course of the year, Modern Fools started laying down their tracks, but as it all started to come together another question surfaced: who would mix it? It was a slow time in the industry, so Blair took a chance. He reached out to a pretty well-known audio engineer that at any other time would have been next to impossible to nail down. But much to the band’s surprise, Kevin Suggs of KEXP (Seattle) said yes.

“It was a fun process getting the album mixed across the country,” Blair said.

The album is what Blair describes as being in the indie/alt country space with “kind of a ’90s feel.” The goal was to get it out before he went on his road trip in December, but since it didn’t happen he took the opportunity to work on the album more, writing songs in the desert and recording while traveling out west in his converted mini school bus. The cover was a picture he took of a random sign at Joshua Tree.

He describes the writing process as emotional and the release of the album brings about a number of feelings.

“It’s exciting, definitely I’d say nerve-racking because there’s a lot of emotions and a lot of me wrapped up in the album,” Blair said.

Saturday’s album release show will begin with an opening set from Brattleboro singer and guitarist Aria Grace. The show requires table reservations, but they are by donation. Any donations will be split between the Nova programming fund and Hundred Nights. Visit novaarts.org/events/modernfools to get a table. The show starts around 8 p.m, and is also available via livestream.

In addition to playing tracks from the new album, Blair said a few new songs the band has been working on will be part of Saturday’s show, which will be part of the next release that Blair expects to come out before the end of 2021.

For more information about the band, go online and visit modernfoolsmusic.com.


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