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MP3 Fifth House - Place

The first full-length album by Fifth House is a soulful blend of emotive lyrics and powerhouse songcraft. Sweat-soaked funk, heavy-footed swagger and atmospheric lift are a few of the roads "Place" travels down.

11 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Funk Rock, POP: with Live-band Production

Rock, Funk, Soul, Groove, Big, Bad. It''s as simple as that. Catchy phrases and witticisms aside, Fifth House embodies these descriptions and more. Feeling as equally at home in a body-shaking groove as a heart-wrenching ballad, Fifth House calls forth musical influences from a world of color and variety. They seamlessly marry great lyricism and catchy hooks with explosive performances. Unique, heartfelt and immediately danceable, Fifth House invites everyone to hang on and enjoy the ride.

In it''s short history the band has amassed a loyal following through constant touring and promotion, email list fan communications and album and merchandise distribution. With it''s grassroots network of fans and hard-pressed determination, Fifth House is expanding bigger and faster with each passing show.

Dispatches from the House of Pleasure
By Chuck Waters

Check out the Fifth House dossier, and you’ll find ROCK FUNK SOUL GROOVE BIG BAD emblazoned across the top of the page. That sums it up pretty well, but Fifth House is all of those things — and more. An intelligent bag of groove, I like to call it.

Through relentless touring and energetic, rousing live shows — more than 200 dates through the Southeast in a little over a year — the quartet has developed an avid local following and now find themselves in "Place," with their self-produced debut album. As guitarist and singer/songwriter Corey Bullman notes, "Place" may reflect where Fifth House was living during the recording sessions. But things change.

"I think the album stands as a good still frame of us in that time. However, we move pretty fast and the live shows, as well as the material, are changing all of the time," Bullman says.

Bullman and his Placemates (Mike Ashworth, drums and vocals; Rob Heyer, bass: and Kevin Scala, keyboards and vocals) are doing the requisite legwork in support of the CD, available from the Web site (https://www.tradebit.com) or in local shops and at concerts. Upcoming gigs include shows at Across the Trax in Bryson City on Thursday, June 22, and shows in Asheville and Brevard. (Again, check the site for details.)

Popping the CD into the trusty Sony boombox, I thought I was listening to Average White Band filtered through Little Feat. Or maybe vice-versa. Tracks like "I Can Feel It Coming On," "No Down Allowed" and the title track rock, and things get a bit more atmospheric on "Phase Shift." This makes for great dancing — and driving — music. But maybe not simultaneously.

Corey, who also teaches guitar lessons, sandwiched between the shows, touring and recording was happy to answer some questions about the Fifth House domicile. He knows of what he speaks, and proved to be most articulate and insightful.

Q — What is the significance of the name Fifth House?

A — The Fifth House (astrologically speaking) is referred to as the house of pleasure, usually as the result of a creative act. It is giving of your self in creation of something new. Creation, recreation and procreation.

Q — How did you guys get together, and who brings which influence(s) to the band''s sound?

A — I first met Rob while playing in a jazz ensemble at UNC Asheville. He filled in on bass at the last show my band at the time would ever play. We clicked and decided to start a group together. He knew Kevin already and asked him to come along for the ride. Initially we called ourselves Sound Project. However when our drummer left we decided along with a new drummer, a name was also needed. While attending a Phish concert, Rob met Mike through a mutual friend and invited him to try out. He fit right in and with new drummer and name in tow the Fifth House story began to unfold.

I come from a pretty strong soul/blues background so I always try to bring that to the table. Kevin is all about the dirty funk be it New Orleans or Stevie Wonder. Rob played in metal bands in his early days so he brings that raw energy and power to the stage. Mike has always approached music as a musician and not just a drummer. He can play a variety of instruments, which allows him to see our music from many sides.

Q — When you say "jam band" most folks automatically think of Phish and Spin Doctors and String Cheese Incident and perhaps even Donna the Buffalo. Is being labeled a "jam band" accurate?

A — I used to shy away from the jam band term because of the stigma attached to it (i.e. noodling around, no direction, patchouli smelling and lacking content). Now I don''t care what we get called as long as people get it. Yes, we tend to stretch things out beyond the three-minute pop song format but we also have some of the catchiest hooks and lyrics that speak directly from the heart. Real music lovers get that.

Q — Which artists/groups did you to listen to early on? Who is your most influential guitarist/songwriter?

A — One of my biggest early influences was Warren Haynes and the music of the Allman Brothers Band. Listening to them was like a history lesson in true American music. From them I dove into the deep blues, jazz and R&B and really learned to appreciate the marriage of songwriting and musicianship.

Q — Talk a bit about putting the album together — did it come together pretty easy, were the songs ready to go? Or did you have to do a lot of fine-tuning and remixing?

A — We decided to do the album and started working on it pretty fast. The songs were all road-tested and many of them already had a few years on them. Our biggest challenges were time and recording limitations. We didn’t have the luxury of taking a month or two off to record. The only time we had came in a few hours each week when we weren''t on the road. Also we recorded the album completely on our own in Kevin’s house using what equipment we had or could borrow. It was a great learning experience, but not one I''m eager to repeat any time soon.

Q — Why is there such a diverse music scene in Asheville?

A — Easy. Asheville is a hard town to survive in. It is a do-it-yourself town and in that type of atmosphere it is the most creative and driven people that rise to the top. And Asheville has plenty of those to go around.

Q — The best band on the planet right now is....

A — I couldn''t even begin to narrow it down. One thing we are not in short supply of — no matter what you read — is good music. Sometimes you just have to dig a little.

Q — Define Fifth House''s musical philosophy in a nutshell.

A — Always come straight from the heart. Make it meaningful and true and get folks moving.

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