Nov 14, 2012 06:03 AM WV Sound
Keeping a beat in the Mountain State
Farnsworth Keeps it Classic
In the rented out space of a 100-year-old building, Chris Vance and Jason Reese practice three times a week. Little preparation goes into these sessions; they know to run through the usual songs, but they strive for spontaneity. “It’s how it used to be done,” says Chris. “We like to throw it back to the garage band days of the ’60s and ’70s.” They practice until they tire, feeding each other notes and riffs, but always celebrate a session’s end the same—with beer and listening to their favorite records.
Out of Charleston, West Virginia, Farnsworth is a two-piece rock band with a sound that packs a lively rhythm and a traditional rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic. Riffs, blues chords, and fuzz define them, and while they are only two guys, the band’s EP I’ll Tell You When I’ve Had Enough shows that they are capable of a large, layered sound.
Chris and Jason met in high school. Both played in bands and occasionally crossed paths, and they kept in contact over the years, always fond of each other’s ability. Two years ago, they met up again to jam. Budget Tapes & Records in Charleston played host to the reunion, and while rummaging through boxes of vinyl, the guys talked shop and traded influences. These meet-ups became a regular activity and, not too long later, a band was formed.
Farnsworth isn’t afraid to wear its influences on its sleeve. The cover art for the EP shows the band surrounded by a collection of its favorite albums. Chris was raised on classic rock and describes the era as offering a soulful sound too good to top. “The goal of a band putting out an album was for the album to be a journey, not a record with a few singles and fluff,” he says. “It was something that you put on and became enlightened by after listening to it, like a good novel.”
On I’ll Tell You When I’ve Had Enough, the band worked with West Virginia’s star southern rocker Bud Carroll at Trackside Studios. They had rough ideas for their songs on the way into the studio, but Chris says Bud has a good ear—his attention helped capture the heavy sound they were after. “We got together on a weekend and basically recorded it all in three days with some overdubbing done afterwards,” Chris says. “It was a great experience, and Bud was able to really get a unique, big sound out of us.”
Farnsworth plans on recording its full-length debut in April with a southern tour in March. In the meantime, catch them at The Worthington Ballroom in Parkersburg on November 21, 2012.