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Soul(ganic) talkin' 

And other odds 'n' ends

We're approaching the time of year when all those long winter days and nights in the studio begin to bear fruit. A host of Charlotte bands have upcoming releases, and one of the most anticipated will be Soulganic's debut, All Directions Forward. Anthony Rodriguez and company just wrapped up work on the record, and the bandleader shared some thoughts on it via the ether-net:

El Diablo: What's the inspiration behind the record?

Anthony Rodriguez: Musically, our songs are refined spontaneity. Rarely do we plan for a song to have a certain sound or feel. Sometimes we meticulously write songs from start to finish, but they mainly come from jam sessions and playing in the moment. Then, the collective efforts of the band mold each idea into a cohesive piece. Lyrically, our inspiration is life. Some songs tell stories, others testify, others observe things like love or personal conflict or discovery. If there is an overarching theme, I would say that it's truth.

Who recorded and produced it, and where was it done?

All Directions Forward was written, composed, produced and performed by the band. It was recorded at Asylum Digital Recording Studios in Charlotte by Scott Slagle.

What was your sonic goal in the studio?

Our goal was to be as true to the live Soulganic experience as possible, to have the same wild energy we have on stage come across cleanly, but with a slight touch of solid production values. So we did very, very little overdubbing. In fact, all the main music tracks were recorded live in one 8-hour session: 17 songs in one day; and the vocals and overdubs were done over another 12 hours.

Is it essentially the same band you've been playing with lately?

Everything you hear is Soulganic, except for one track where we have the Charlotte Slam Master Bluz bless the project with a spoken word piece called "Smell, Part 2" (a continuation of another track from his debut album). As far as the specifics: Cory McClure is on drums and keyboards; Ryan McKeithan is on acoustic and electric guitars, with some vocal duties on "Closer" (a duet with me) and "Detox" (just him and acoustic guitar ... a beautiful piece); I'm on bass, lead vocals and tambourine; and Lucas Torres is on all other percussion.

When can we expect the release?

We plan to have the album out by late April, early May ... and if we get bugged about it enough, we just might do a release party ... somewhere ...

MORE RECORDING/RELEASE NEWS: Lambhandler celebrate their new one, The Shepherds of Rock, with a CD release blowout at the Milestone on March 2 ... Babyshaker's next release includes an intriguing subplot: Carolina legend Don Dixon will record the band at the Milestone in early March, with the club clearing its schedule to accommodate. The three- or four-day process will also be documented as a video and photo project ... gogoPilot is putting the finishing touches on their next record at Sioux Sioux studio, with a late March/early April release scheduled ... Lou Ford's comeback, Last Call, has been pushed back to late April or May at the earliest; you can hear an early mix of a couple tracks at their MySpace site ... The Sammies are recording in New York for the next three weeks with producer Richard Gottehrer (founder of Sire Records) ...

CHARLOTTE AT SXSW: Local acts will again be well-represented at this year's South by Southwest music conference in Austin. MoRisen will be sending down a quartet of bands: The Sammies, the Alternative Champs and newly signed The Houstons will play the label showcase on Wednesday, March 14 at the Light Bar, along with recent Charlotte emigrants, Elevator Action. Long-time Charlotte fixture Benji Hughes will also make the trip to Texas.

ODDS 'N' ENDS: Charlotte-based Succession Records has named longtime music industry executive Jeffrey Cheen as president and chief operating officer for its music divisions. Cheen recently relocated to Charlotte from Los Angeles, has an extensive background in the music business and is co-founder of the Charlotte Music Awards ... the CMAs will host an after-party meet-and-greet with the legendary R&B group, The Spinners, on Saturday, March 3, from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. at the Wadsworth House on 400 S. Summit Ave. E-mail for more information ... congratulations to Kannapolis' The Joe Davis Band, who won the CMAs' January showcase at the Milestone; the Latino Showcase takes place March 22 at Café Ole ...

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