What has resulted is Porch 40’s soon-to-be released sophomore album, “Radio Edit.” And when you place the melodies against the likes of Elvis Costello, Dave Matthews Band and Maroon 5, you can precisely see and hear the similar sonic blueprints Porch 40 is working with. The record itself runs right up to the line of being slick, but without ever coming across as too polished, a perhaps subconscious sentiment Porch 40 reverberates in its live shows where the tone aims to be as inclusive and jovial as possible.
“Radio Edit” is a completely professional release, one which will ultimately push the Jackson County group into the next level of what it takes to break into the national touring scene.
It’s also the culmination of plain ole hard work, stubborn determination and a belief that the talent within is worth radiating outward — something proven onstage nightly by one of the most promising and talented bands to ever spill out of Western North Carolina.
Smoky Mountain News: How much has the original intent of Porch 40 changed or stayed the same since the inception of the group?
Carter McDevitt (bass): The original intent is pretty much the same since we started. We’ve always strived to be a mixed bag stylistically, and we’ve just been getting more and more comfortable pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone. We’ve never been afraid to try new genres, new sounds and new song structures. We love what we do, and we’re not tired of experimenting with it.
SMN: What was that first jam together like? And what do you remember seeing and feeling during that first show?
CM: I joined on March 20, 2012, the same week as our first show. We lived in the same dorm at Western Carolina University. Our first jam was in the same house as our first show. The house was just called “The Farmhouse.” It was right next to campus and a notorious party house. To be honest, it was a great place to have a first show. I don’t remember much from it because we were so loud the police shut us down after three songs. It wasn’t much of a show, but I was hooked. I loved playing with other skilled musicians, and I just wanted more.
SMN: With the new album, tell me about that recording process, what you experienced and took away from working with Robert, living and being in New Orleans?
CM: We got to record in a studio called The Parlor, which was nothing but high-quality gear and experienced staff. It was a blast and an honor half the time, and just kind of surreal the other half. There would be days when I’d walk in and say hey to Robert and the members of Galactic, while other big-time NOLA musicians would be hanging out in the studio.
As far as the idea of working with a producer for the first time through, as artists we were a little concerned. I feel like every artist who has a distinct vision for his or her art can have misgivings when other people are involved in the creative process or when they suggest changing things. Which is completely understandable, and we felt kind of the same way before we went down to NOLA and actually started working with Robert.
It’s easy to convince yourself that the producer is out to get you, doesn’t respect you, or just doesn’t care. It’s similarly easy to get in your own head about that kind of thing, and we definitely did. Then we got down to NOLA to actually work and record with Robert, and of course he turned out to be friendly, smart, respectful, very present and wound up being exactly what we needed.
Being around musicians at the level of Galactic, or anyone who has made it further than you have, can really give you something to strive for — in the way you play, the way you write, the way you represent yourself and even in just the way you act. There were lessons learned for what to do and what not to do every single day, and it really made us want this even more than we already did.
Want to go?
Porch 40 will launch its “Pour 40” tour with a special performance at 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, at The Gem, the downstairs taproom at Boojum Brewing in Waynesville. The show will be sponsored by The Smoky Mountain News. Admission is $5 at the door.
Other “Pour 40” dates include 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Mills River (free); 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, at Highland Brewing in Asheville (free); 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at Lazy Hiker Brewing in Franklin (free); 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at Bold Rock Cidery in Mills River (free); 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Innovation Station (Innovation Brewing) in Dillsboro ($5 at the door); and alongside The Colby Deitz Band at 9 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at Pisgah Brewing in Black Mountain ($7 advance/$10 day of show).