Stillwater Community Shapes Thrift Store Sonata’s New Album, ‘Old Wood & Kerosene’

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Photo by Peter Lee

Photo by Peter Lee

If you get out and about in Stillwater, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Thrift Store Sonata at Summer Tuesdays, Log Jam, Lift Bridge Brewery and other music venues around town.

This weekend, Thrift Store Sonata will release the band’s first album, “Old Wood and Kerosene” at Lift Bridge Brewery, playing with their friends The Cactus Blossoms (duo) and The Roe Family Singers.

Tickets are $5, and available online here.

The album is $10.

Thrift Store Sonata — Chris Brown on guitar, Tuke Weston on bass, Dan Gerber on washboard and Alissa Jacobsen on fiddle — first started playing together a few years back. When Gerber, Weston and Brown first started playing together, the goal was to just have fun learning songs and sharing music. Once the current lineup came together with Alissa on fiddle, the band started playing gigs and perfecting their own sound.

The initial response was positive enough that they kept learning new material and eventually the idea of creating a completely original album came along. They started work on the project in Stillwater about 5 months ago. The entire process of recording, mixing, editing and creating album art was done here locally.front cover final

“Stillwater definitely shaped every part of this album,” Brown said. “The songs were written and developed here – the music obviously captures what we love to do, but it also represents what this town likes. So far, the response has been extremely positive.”

Since Thrift Store Sonata’s South Hill beginnings, the members have each changed instruments, and tailored their sound to what people wanted to hear, Gerber said.

“We’ve sort of grown into our sound and perfected a bluegrass style that is all our own.”

When Thrift Store Sonata first formed, Brown and Weston were both playing electric guitar, Gerber played the snare drum and Jacobsen played fiddle. Seeking a more acoustically rich sound, Brown now plays archtop guitar and mandolin, Weston plays stand-up bass and Gerber plays the washboard and banjo.

“Alissa is the only one who hasn’t changed her instrument a thousand times,” Gerber said.

While playing live shows, Gerber said the band members feed off of how people react, and gauge the engagement with the music. The band used the reaction to create setlists of songs they get the most engagement and reaction from the crowd. Those tunes are also the one’s you’ll find on “Old Wood and Kerosene.”

“We have to also mention the tremendous support along the way,” Brown said. “Lift Bridge Brewing Company, Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop, Summer Tuesday’s and The Locals’ (Log Jam) gave us opportunities and helped promote the band. We are so grateful to them. That is why it is so fitting that we are having our first CD release at Lift Bridge this Saturday. And with food from Leo’s? It’s perfect.”

“Old Wood and Kerosene” is what Brown calls a “variety show,” with each of the 10 original songs full of energy. He believes it is well timed for summer, and that this is an album that will appeal to many different tastes. The album will be available on CD, iTunes, Amazon and for streaming on Spotify.

“There’s nothing on the album I feel like we’ve compromised,” Brown said. “It’s solid. I think a lot of albums today have a couple good songs and a lot of fill. We don’t have any of that. They all stand on their own.”

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