Thursday, September 13, 2012
Just This Side of Everything is more than just the tentative title of Tiny Television’s forthcoming album. It’s frontman Jeremy D’Antonio’s way of life.
D’Antonio recently left the hustle and bustle of San Francisco for the redwood-laden oasis of West Marin, where the most exciting part of the day is when the mail arrives.
“It feels like I’m just this side of everything over the hill [from San Francisco],” he says. “It’s really out in the middle of nowhere.”
The solitude has been inspiring. Over the past several months, the alt-country outfit has been recording its sophomore LP at D’Antonio’s home studio (Magnolia Studios). They hope to release it before Tiny Television’s first Hardly Strictly Bluegrass appearance next month, but D’Antonio isn’t rushing anything.
“Since we’re recording in my studio, we have more time, which means we don’t have any real deadlines,” he says. “No one is telling us that we have to be done and out of the studio by a certain day so it’s not going as fast as I thought.”
Tiny Television’s debut Mission Statement – featuring 10 authentic tracks of weathered Americana that incorporate a century’s worth of tradition – took only a week to record. D’Antonio would like to get in the habit of making that happen on all future albums.
“For the next round, we’ll probably go back to doing it pretty quickly somewhere else that’s really expensive so we won’t take forever,” he says.
Another reason the band, which performs at Fernwood on Saturday, has taken longer to wrap recording: They’re moving in a slightly different direction compared to the debut. While their sound continues to uphold infectious alt-country/Americana in the vein of Uncle Tupelo, D’Antonio says a soul component has been infused through the use of elements like an old Hammond organ.
One of the new tunes, “Fire,” is a harmonica-heavy, country-western ballad stripped down to acoustic glory. But D’Antonio says the song has been electrified since it was posted on the band’s Kickstarter page. Now, smoking slide guitar parts delivered by James DePrato of Chuck Prophet’s band carry it to a more rocking level.
Making memorable music helps D’Antonio bring awareness to music that’s dear to his heart, and doesn’t get the love it deserves. He noticed when he moved to San Francisco from Colorado a few years back, he was one of a number of groups – including the now-disbanded Or, the Whale and Elliott Randall – who shared the same kind of passion for the Americana. That made it easier to find the right musicians for Tiny Television’s incarnation.
“When we came out here, you could throw a rock and hit four pedal steel players,” D’Antonio says. “There’s a really great community of talented songwriters and I don’t think they get the recognition that the other music scenes in San Francisco do, but that’s true of Americana in general.”
TINY TELEVISION performs at 9pm Saturday, Sept. 15, at Fernwood Tavern and Campgrounds, 47200 Highway 1, Big Sur. Free. 667-2422, www.fernwoodbigsur.com/music.html