Don't let the first track from Bixby Lane's sophomore effort CD "Us" fool you. Though it may sound like it, they're not an emo band. It's not that they're fickle, they just have a wide range of musical influences to draw from. Influences ranging from The Beatles to Miles Davis to Radiohead create the band's pleasurable mix of pop and rock. Guitarist Jeff Viets describes: "We're a rock band at heart. We make rock music and try to give our audience something to dance to." Just take a look at the band's danceable opening track "That's Over Now". A clever title to a song that appears first on a CD. This tune grabs you like a hook to a fish complete with a mimicked Fall Out Boy proclivity in the vocals. Can't be for sure but it seems to me if you're taking "That's Over Now" too seriously you're missing the point? "Exactly!" says trumpeter/guitarist/lead vocalist John Wirt. "I love the emo bands out there right because it totally reminds me of this new generation's adaptation of the 'hair bands' that were big when I was growing up as a kid. We're not an emo band by any means but this song just sort of wrote itself one night and we thought it would be entertaining. The song is completely as serious as it is not serious. The spiteful nature of the lyrics definitely shouldn't be taken to heart." The second track on the CD "I'll Not Stand in the Way" shifts almost 180 degrees from the first track. Instead of a blazing sawtooth keyboard lead and an up tempo beat, this songs starts with just voice and piano. "It's a lot for the listener to take in," says bassist Rick Willoughby. "We just didn't want to pigeon-hole ourselves into saying 'okay we're only going to play this kind of music' or 'we're only going to play that kind of music'. We all listen to so many different styles of music and find an appreciation in all of it." The band unquestionably wears many hats. "Sometimes," says drummer Giuliano Mingucci, "we prefer to show our jazz influences as in songs like Miss Construed and The Top." This brings us to the other lead vocalist/keyboardist/pianist and composer of the aforementioned songs, Jeremy Watson. "John's style of writing and my style of writing are comparatively different," says Watson, "but we certainly meet somewhere in the middle." The drums and piano on this disc were recorded by Eric Summers at Berry Music Group in Kansas City but the rest of the CD was recorded and mixed by the band's own Giuliano Mingucci who spent hours upon hours at the mixing board to get the sound just right. "It's a good thing that I don't charge these guys by the hour!" says Mingucci. The CD was then mastered by audio engineer Don C. Tyler in Los Angeles, CA whose roster includes The Barenaked Ladies, Beck, James Blunt, and The Rolling Stones among scores of others. The striking art on the CD was created by Bill Phelan. The new disc also features a string quartet in the mix. "This was a new step for us," says Viets. "Maybe we'll start leaning more in this direction...who knows?" Right now the band is quite focused on where they'll lean in the future. But they're also in the now...in the moment. And they hope you'll come along too, on a ride where all are welcome.
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