IF YOU GO
Who: JD Eicher and the Goodnights record-release show
Where: The Ursuline Center, 4280 Shields Road, Canfield
When: 7 p.m. April 28
Also: The Hard Rock Cafe,
230 W. Station Square Drive, Pittsburgh, 9:30 p.m. April 29; and at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa., at 8 p.m. May 10
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
With the release of their sophomore album, “Shifting,” JD Eicher and the Goodnights take their place among the elite of Northeast Ohio-Western Pennsylvania bands.
The Youngstown-based band with the lush acoustic-rock sound also posted a video for the first single off the album, “Love Is Gonna Find You,” on YouTube this week. The disc can be purchased at an all-ages record- release party tonight at the Ursuline Center on Shields Road in Canfield. It will become available on iTunes on May 3.
Eicher shared his thoughts on the new release and the band’s direction in this question-and-answer session.
Q. The new album continues to explore life and relationships. Tell us about the songs and the musical growth from the band’s first album.
A. When I wrote this record, I knew I wanted to call it “Shifting” for two reasons. No. 1, thematically, the record as a whole and the individual songs focus quite a bit on change, growth, and past-present- future. And No. 2, we’ve changed sonically as a band. The band is now composed of keys (Dan Prokop), guitar (Eicher), bass (Jim Merhaut) and drums (Ryan Kirk). Keys — which were sparse on the first record — play a much-larger role in these arrangements. When I’m writing, the themes I tend to gravitate toward are hope, truth and love. I think these are things we’re all looking for in some way, and I’ve always strived to write music that resonates with others.
Q. Instrumental work is highlighted on the new album, making the songs punchier. How much thought went into the arrangement and recording process to give these songs a more-exciting landscape?
A. Lots of thought went into the production of this record. We spent months arranging and pre-producing these songs. Then we worked with an excellent producer-engineer, Paul Barber, and we spent a month in his Maryland studio recording the songs. Mixing and mastering was also handled by some gifted engineers. We really wanted this record to be a step up from the last one in quality, and working with the right people was a focus. It was so rewarding to have that opportunity.
Q. I imagine the past six months have been hectic. There were video shoots, a fundraising effort, and then the actual recording. Tell me about the run-up to “Shifting.”
A. Lots of chaos! It’s been a truly crazy couple of months. We’ve shot three music videos and had a photo shoot, raised money for the new record, spent a month in Maryland recording it, handled tons of post-production elements, and there’s been a good amount of touring squeezed in, too! It’s exhausting! But it’s great at the same time.
Q. What is next? Will the band do an extended road trip? Has it connected with fans regionally?
A. For the new record, we have three release shows planned (Youngstown, Pittsburgh and Westminster College), and then we’ll get into our summer run of shows, which will be primarily festivals with some venues thrown into the mix. Touring has extended to a pretty large region (Vermont to Michigan, as well as Georgia and Illinois), and we hope to keep moving outward, though the bulk of our shows will remain in Pennsylvania and Ohio for a while.
Q. How did you decide to hold the Youngstown release show at the Ursuline Center?
A. The Ursuline Center is definitely a unique choice. Our fans span just about every age group, and it was hard to find an all-ages venue in the area that fit our style and accommodated the type of release-show format we were looking for. The Ursuline Center has the perfect room and stage, and it’s a great, family-friendly spot. We wanted to do a “storytellers” type of show, where we talk about the songs, answer questions, and play through the album. Additionally, a portion of the ticket sales ($5 at the door) will benefit the sisters. It seemed like a good choice all around.