w/ Embleton

Chad W. Lutz
​Back in January, I had the unique pleasure to sit down with singer/songwriter Kevin Embleton to talk music, coffee, and the things that sometimes stall grand plans. The former front man for A Minor Bird and the recent project Sonny Brae now fronts a new eponymous outfit known simply as Embleton.
His new album is called It Did Me Well, and it drops on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and on the band's website next Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Embleton claims the record took him almost six years to put together, citing school, work, and other commitments getting in the way of bringing everything together and polishing off the final product. The oldest song on the album, "Her Name is Grace" is six-years old, according to the Canton native.
"It's been about five years since I've done anything really. Most of the songs are based on personal experiences I've had during that time. The nature of life and work and starting over again drug everything out."
It's been difficult, he says, to find both the time and the personnel to pull a record off, stating: "A lot of times we only had one night a week to practice or lay a track down. We mostly recorded the songs in John's living room, which made it even more challenging. But I think it gives the album something extra. There isn't any pitch correction or auto tune on the album. Just rock n' roll."
Finishing the album meant everyone involved in the project had to come together on their own terms. The process took over a year beginning in the winter of 2013/2014 and extended through the summer and fall. Embleton said of the band, "It really encouraged us to make deliberate decisions on the album because we could only do so many takes per session." He said it was fairly indicative of local bands just starting out to have to balance responsibilities and maybe only practice a single night each week.
"The people around here are committed to excellence, though. Some people play music for fun or as an escape from the everyday, but I'm coming to realize what I have to offer in life is more musical, and that's why I'm pursuing it whatever way I can, even if that means playing only one night a week. It's where my skills and passion lie."
Joining Kevin on the debut album by Embleton are John Finley (guitar/mixing), Jacob Yonkers (lead guitar), Brandon Covey (bass), and Matt Kurtz (drums). The chemistry assembled on the nine-track took a long time to both piece together and then master. The singer-songwriter reflects saying it really meant finding the right people with the right styles and interests in music to fit the lyrics he had written for most of the songs. Kevin's other bands have largely included classic rock and Americana stylings, whereas It Did Me Well lends bluegrass and even country compositions and sounds on top of a solid rock formula that bounces and bobs you through the tracks.
Sitting on top of flattened pillows on the floor at Muggswigz in Kevin's hometown, I asked the musician his thoughts on the album and whether he had a favorite track.
"Yeah know, my favorite song changes. I don't want to say I have a favorite necessarily, but I connect with the title track a lot. I've always had a connection to that song, but you have to listen to it for yourself to find connection on your own terms."
​Embleton is set to play an album release show at Musica in Downtown Akron on March 21 alongside Michigan-based Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas. Tickets may be purchased for the event through TicketWeb.
​Check out their cover of Willie Nelson's "Sad Songs and Waltzes" before the album debuts: