On Midwestern Forays with the New Boys

First, meet the cast:
Adam Shuntich—the longest standing member. The ex-Kiss tribute band playin’, Ohio-bred country boy who somehow got mixed up in this psych-folk business. He’s been duo-touring with me since July and now he’s running his stuff in stereo.
Ryan Corlew—our only locally grown Indiana soul, Ryan joined us a few weeks ago on the tubs. He’s the soft-spoken one of the bunch, but he beats the crap out of the drums. Sensitively. And he has a handsome mystique about him.
Cody Ray—we always call him by his full name. He’s the Lafayette commuter from Tennessee, self-described “cat daddy,” and bassmaster. He’s also running some keys for us like a multitasking champion.
Joshua—you know me.
Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery at New Vintage i
The preface:
Adam and I did a fast-paced jaunt through the Southeast. Saw our blood in Charleston, connected with old friends in Charlotte, made a whole slew of new ones in Virginia, and pulled an all-nighter from WV back home to go to bed at 7am in order to be adequately rested up for the next night at home at the Hi-Fi with Beyond Normal Sea and our good buddies in Saint Aubin. That show was off the dang chain.

The narrative:
I always forget how much it sucks to load the van for tour in the winter. We were all shivering while playing Tetris with our gear, but we packed more into our grey whale than she’s ever taken. Our first stop was south in Louisville where we hit the New Vintage for the first time with new pals Joann & the Dakota and The Bottom Sop, two sweetly powerful female-fronted bands, respectively in a 90’s hued roots rocks and classic harmonized country outfits. Our buddy Jonathan hooked us up with a crash pad, some classic Pabst time, and all-around good fellowship.
Then we headed up to Champaign-Urbana, that glorious foothold of emo, and we played at Emily’s (of the band Tara Terra) house with Rebecca Rego (Anais Mitchell, meet Laura Marling), and Eric Stanley of Euriah for a beautifully attentive living room crowd. We played with no PA, so the boys were gracefully muted in their dynamics so as not to overshadow my best attempt at projecting through my stupid head cold haze. After the show we all went down to Cowboy Monkey and Adam and I wearily played a few songs at a raucous open mic and hung with our buddy Darwin, the King of Urbana. At least we call him that.

Winter in Bloomington
From there, it was on to Bloomington for a double-header. We met up with our buddies Alex & the XO’s and hit a super punk house show where we were hands down the outliers. I haven’t seen so many black-clad youths since my days in the SoFlo hXc scene, but, true to the ethos of punk, everyone was very accepting and supportive, and we had a blast watching all the heavier bands. Then we headed over to The Bistro to play our longer set. It wasn’t a packed house, but I had the realization, nay the remembrance, in the first song, that I actually just love playing music, so we enjoyed playing for our own sake and for that of those one or two dozen folks who stayed up past bedtime on a school night. And as far as hospitality goes, no one takes better care of us than Alex and Trenton. We always have a blast discussing various tour stops and methods and petting their weirdly endearing, deformed little cat. Our first night there, Ryan asked me, “Are people on the road just always this cool? Like I can’t believe how hospitable everyone is.” I had to pretty much just say yes. There’s nothing like touring to reassure you of the general decency of humanity—there’s love everywhere, man.
I’m typing this on the van ride to Newport, KY, where we’re getting down with a bangin’ Cincinnati bill (My Brother’s Keeper, Brittany Gillstrap, and Lamps & Voids). It’s impossible to have a bad show with a lineup like that as far as I know. Youngstown is next, and Dayton’s WinterFolk festival is after that.
The performance review:
I adore these guys. Adam is a trusty road dog who never minds the long drives or the $3 Taco Bell budget. Ryan stays with the click like an old pro and has brought a really cool, definitive percussive element to the ensemble. He’s also just a good hang though, and the importance of that can never be understated. Cody is killing it, too. He multitasks better than I ever could, and he’s socially skilled like few musicians are. I especially dig the fact that he never shirks from engaging our hosts. It’s tough when you get back to folks’ house sometimes and you just want to veg out, but conversation is a part of the exchange, and he lends a lot of value to these interactions, being a well-versed and versatile guy.
We’re all really excited to bring this new show to all of your cities and as always, we sincerely appreciated your continued support. If you check our tour dates and think, “Oh, I have some friends in Columbus!” Let those people know. We’ve been grassroots since day one, and it’s that kind of word of mouth that helps us fill these little clubs.

See you cats out there. Keep in touch.
Ryan Corlew of the Great Train Robbery

Snowball Effect Please

Things are moving. Alyosha is a healthy baby. There was a little jaundice issue but we got it cleared up before leaving the hospital. We couldn’t be prouder parents. We’re beaming.

But work doesn’t slow down for the DIY hybridized artist/entrepreneur crowd, and we’re doing our best to keep up the momentum. We shot this video with friends Ricky Olmos and Joel Worshim last time I visited Michigan. “Birth Control” was one of the first songs I wrote for Alyosha. It became a big crazy monster on the record, but this is the way it sounded when I wrote it.

It’s really refreshing to get feedback on this thing finally. Other people besides me are finally talking about it. What have they said, you ask? I’ll show you.

We got a 5-star review in Lemonade Magazine (from Washington) that said, “The psychedelic folk group finally found that unique voice that everyone craves, but rarely attains,” and “Alyosha is the needed uppercut to the humdrum folk world. It is a wakeup call that screams there is so much more to the genre than a singer sitting on a stool with an acoustic guitar.” You can read that here, and our interview with them here.

Tuned Up calls it “organic and deliberate,” as read here. The Herald Bulletin in our own little Anderson wrote this article and honed in on the fact that our new album is super weird. They also taped me doing a few songs from the new disc.

My favorite interview was with Profound Distractions because he got more in depth than I’ve been in most interviews. That’s a deep cut read for sure. And my favorite review came from Justin Wesley over at Denim on Wax. You can read that here, where he writes of Alyosha, “the record should defy many assumptions of what to expect from a folk-based songwriter and musician from the Hoosier state who has been flying under the radar from town to town and is now primed to make his deserved blip.”

Also got a writeup in my ol’ Alma Mater’s school newspaper. They called it “generic’ and “vaguely sleepy,” which is okay. I didn’t expect everyone to like this thing.

I got to play on the DoIt Indy Radio Hour and the show will be playing again at 5pm tonight (Wednesday 11/4) and tomorrow (Thursday 11/5) at 8pm. I was also on The Scene on Indiana Public Radio, the show that gets recorded in Muncie, but I have no idea how to link to that.

I’m still working on stuff: PR, booking, writing. If you have any leads for press-type stuff, I appreciate the tips–this is a new world for me.

Thanks for sticking with us. The record is out now on iTunes and Amazon and Spotify. You can get the vinyl at a show, or order it from our store link.

See you on the road.