The True Spokes: Wheel Keeps Turning
The True Spokes kick off their first West Coast tour on Tuesday, March 6th, at Cozmic Pizza in Eugene, Oregon before heading to San Francisco, Hollywood and more. Full schedule here.
A confession: The first time I saw Flowmotion perform live – right in the bosom of their hardcore Pacific Northwest fan base at their wonderful annual Summer Meltdown Festival a few hours outside of their Seattle home – I was struck by how much they didn’t sound like their name, which in the absence of their music had conjured up images of white kids with dreadlocks, endless noodling, New Age self-help courses and the like. What I encountered in 2009 was a rock band of resounding solidity, a modern answer to classics like Supertramp, 70s Journey and the Doobie Brothers, where each and every element – musicianship, songwriting, vocals, presentation – was on the money. This was a group of pros that deserved a MUCH bigger audience outside of their established flock, which they’d earned with over a decade of steady gigging and recording.
While 2010’s Ghost Pepper hinted at the band I’d witnessed live, there were still Latin breaks, funk elements and African touches to the rock core. Jump to 2012 and the band that was Flowmotion is now The True Spokes, as together, refined and melodic a rock band as one could want. Everything about this evolutionary step is focused with songs offered up with lean intensity and warmly philosophical reverberations. The True Spokes’ self-titled debut (released February 4) was captured at San Francisco’s Mission Bells Studios with the helping hand of another pro, Tim Bluhm of The Mother Hips, who co-produced the album with the band (with engineering wizardy from the great David Simon-Baker). Invitingly melodic and filled with verses that address the world as it is and still comes out the other side smiling – sometimes weary but always a touch wiser – this debut is an exciting first step for some of the most talented West Coast players far too few people outside their converted inner circle know, a rock unit ready to rub shoulders with their obvious influences like Tom Petty and Wilco. With this name change and a kickass new calling card, Josh Clauson (vocals, guitar), RL Heyer (vocals, guitar), Scott Goodwin (drums, backup vocals), Erik Bryson (bass) and Bob Rees (percussion, keyboards) are letting go of the past and living for a brighter today.