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MP3 SpencerAcuff - Moment Golden

A blend of classic rock harmonies, modern melodies with excellent musicianship and singer/songwriter stylings

8 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Folk Rock, POP: Today''s Top 40



Details:
SpencerAcuff began in summer 2001 with two seemingly different individuals. One was David Spencer from the University of North Carolina, whose musical influences included Jump Little Children, Guster, James Taylor, and Paul Simon, who had aspirations of recording a solo acoustic album with a pop edge. The other was Will Acuff from rival school North Carolina State University, whose influences included Counting Crows, Whiskeytown, and guitarists from Tre Anastasio to Will Hoge, who had spent most of his life in Boston and played in several classic jam rock bands based out of Raleigh.

But when the two sat down with their songs and two guitars, it made perfect sense. The two agreed that all differences aside, the one trait that made them a good team was desire. "Our personalities meshed well together, I had finally met someone with my desire in music, something that had been lacking in my previous experience," explained Acuff. The two began to collaborate on song writing and playing acoustic shows around the Chapel Hill/Raleigh area, showcasing their original blend that Spencer explains as "a combination of Will''s heart-wrenchers and my fun pop songs," and Acuff calls "songs written from different places speaking to the same problems."

Within months, plans were already underway for the album that would become Moment Golden. From day one, the number one priority was quality. "I knew I wanted to make a record but I knew I wanted to make a professional record, we wanted our first album out of the gate to be an impressive one," explains Spencer. To achieve this, SpencerAcuff teamed up with artist/producer Mark Williams and John Plymale (Squirrel Nut Zippers, Athenaeum, Jump Little Children) at Overdub Lane Studios. "Once we started working with (Plymale), we did not have to worry about telling him what we wanted, we just stayed out of his way and let him do his thing while we did ours," Spencer said. In lieu of a full band, the band recruited bassist Matt Newkirk and drummer Dale Baker (Sixpence none the Richer).

Moment Golden was made, in the words of Spencer, "to give the audience an initial idea of who Will and I are as songwriters. We''re very different people." The eight tracks on Moment Golden represent this difference: from Spencer''s catchy pop tracks "Between the Lines", "You''ve Forgotten", and "Driving", Spencer''s slow song "Gone" that deals with the departure of fathers out of their sons'' lives, to Acuff''s emotional ballads "Moment Golden", "Lullaby", and the intense rocker "Reality," and the pair''s collaboration, "This is Me," representing a fusion of style in songwriting. The album goes from a wall of sound during "Between the Lines," to the slow acoustic finale "Lullaby." Acuff says that this variance in style widens the album''s appeal: "Our album appeals to all ages. The themes in our music are stuff that everyone relates to without being trite pop crap."

During the production of Moment Golden, SpencerAcuff added two new members in October 2002. According to Acuff, the addition was always in the cards "It was the natural progression of what was going on since the beginning. We always wanted to have a full band. I am glad we did it the way we did - it allowed Dave and I to figure out a working relationship." The two recruited Tommy Perkinson, whose musical influences include Duncan Sheik, Flaming Lips, and Vertical Horizon, to play percussion. At bass they added Jeff Crawford, whose musical influences include The Beatles, Coldplay, and Classical music. Now Spencer''s classically trained voice and Acuff''s virtuoso guitar were rounded out by a rhythm section who had studied everything from classical to jazz at the University of North Carolina. Acuff said the music immediately became more energetic: "It''s a sketch versus a painting: there''s much more depth."

Today, after the February release of Moment Golden and an increase in playing opportunities, the group is experiencing significant local success with a wide age fan base. Their music has been described as sounding anywhere from Simon and Garfunkel and America to John Mayer and an all male Indigo Girls. Though Moment Golden lived up to the high quality standards of the group, it remains, as Acuff describes, "more a collection of our mellower songs." The true measuring stick of SpencerAcuff now is their live act, which includes fast-paced guitar jams, bluegrass songs, and slow acoustic numbers. But what makes SpencerAcuff different from every other band playing local bars every night? For the band, the answer is simple: the songwriting.

The primary goal is to make good music that speaks to people. "When we''re finished with a concert we want to be able to walk offstage and relate with people," explains Spencer. "Each member of the band strives to be an excellent musician at their own particular instrument, but at the same time the foremost thing is the quality of the song. It''s easy to love the guitar too much and sacrifice the song," adds Acuff. With three out of the four members being music majors, and all four members being songwriters and vocalists, collaborations and new ideas are shared throughout the group. Acuff says the band is widening their already broad appeal. "We''re covering more and more territory, broadening our musical horizons, and sampling from more genres."

SpencerAcuff intends to broaden their playing venues in the near future, and as soon as they have enough money, get back in the studio. Acuff explains, "We could have put out 6 albums right now. The toughest part of making the album was narrowing it down to the few songs we could afford. Moment Golden is just a tease of what is to come."


Album Review

April 03 2003 SpencerAcuff
Moment Golden
4 stars

SpencerAcuff drenches its freshman album with all the decadence and contemplation of an 18-hour summer day.
The eight tracks cover a range of emotion and thought that one pursues most effectively when drugged by sunlight and laziness.
If the sun remains unavailable, however, Moment Golden might supply an effective replacement.

SpencerAcuff''s music on this album makes no radical departures from acoustic, contemplative rock. But both the care and quality of its presentation and the complementary talents of UNC-Chapel Hill student David Spencer and North Carolina State University student Will Acuff boost its work above that of local Bob Dylan/John Mayer wannabes.

Only 30 seconds into the first track, the professionalism on Moment Golden immediately is apparent. The sound rings clean and polished without the antiseptic taint of pop princes.

SpencerAcuff also knows how to begin an album -- "Come quickly/ Now it''s time for me to tell a song" -- like a story with an invitation.

Spencer''s classically trained voice only makes the invitation sweeter. His sonorous tenor can stand alone, but the unique quality of its weave with Acuff''s rougher singing creates the most striking tracks of Moment Golden.

"This is Me" presents the best example of vocal quilting. Exchanging harmonious lines, the two musicians literally twist their voices together like challah bread.

But the best overall song is the title track, which primarily employs only Acuff. The simplicity of its lyrics supplements the richness of its sound. Ever had your "breath punched out by a sunset"? SpencerAcuff seems to be working in that direction. Playing the promising second fiddle on the album is Acuff''s virtuoso guitar, and his miniature solo on "Reality" begs for more emphasis.

Also, since the album''s February release, the band has added UNC students Jeff Crawford (bass) and Tommy Perkinson (percussion). On the band''s Web site, https://www.tradebit.com, Acuff called Moment Golden "just a tease of what is to come."

Expect breathtaking things.
By Diane Eikenberry




On the brink of a breakthrough
by Lindsay Biggers
From The Technician Raleigh, NC
3/05/04

Step aside John Mayer. Watch out Coldplay. Wolfpack students get ready. There are some fresh new kids on your block and you may want to check them out before Hollywood gets hold of them. SpencerAcuff, the four-member band out of Chapel Hill, is quickly sweeping through venues and local bars attempting to get off their feet and into the real world of music.

Opening for such groups as Weekend Excursion, Better Than Ezra, Wilco and Virginia Coalition, SpencerAcuff is already starting to receive recognition. During the summer of 2001, lead vocalists David Spencer of UNC-Chapel Hill, and Will Acuff (a N.C. State alumnus) started the acoustic band of SpencerAcuff with guitars, great voices and dreams of one day seeing their own albums beside great artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Counting Crows.

Today, SpencerAcuff consists of four band members. In October 2002, Spencer and Acuff added Tommy Perkinson on percussion and Jeff Crawford on bass, vocals and piano. "It was the natural progression of what was going on since the beginning. We always wanted to have a full band. I am glad we did it the way we did -- it allowed Dave and I to figure out a working relationship," Acuff said. Immediately, when the two joined the dynamic duo, Acuff said the music took off, becoming full of energy. "It''s a sketch versus a painting -- there''s much more depth," Acuff said.

Although Spencer and Acuff attended rival schools, their talents were too extraordinary to keep the two apart. With the beginning phases of the band, Spencer and Acuff decided to place aside their Tar Heel and Wolfpack differences to bring together their powerful voices and talents, therefore creating "SpencerAcuff."

"Our personalities meshed well together, I had finally met someone with my desire in music, something that had been lacking in my previous experience," Acuff said.

Spencer and Acuff quickly went on to write their own songs, which proved later to be a great collaboration of both serious and fun lyrics. After writing a set of songs, SpencerAcuff started playing acoustic shows throughout the Chapel Hill/Raleigh area in hopes of gaining local attention. Originally, their songs captured "a combination of Will''s heart-wrenchers and my fun pop songs," Acuff said. "Songs written from different places speaking to the same problems," is the main basis for their performances.

Their first album entitled "Moment Golden" was an album carefully designed and perfected, just what the band expected. "I knew I wanted to make a record, but I knew I wanted to make a professional record, we wanted our first album out of the gate to be an impressive one," explained Spencer. SpencerAcuff got nothing less. With artist/producer Mark Williams and John Plymale (Squirrel Nut Zippers, Athenaeum, Jump Little Children) at Overdub Lane Studios, SpencerAcuff immediately started working on their first major masterpiece.

"Once we started working with (Plymale), we did not have to worry about telling him what we wanted, we just stayed out of his way and let him do his thing while we did ours," Spencer said. In order to complete the band, moving away from the previous acoustic-style they were used to, the band pulled in bassist Matt Newkirk and drummer Dale Baker (Sixpence none the Richer) to assist on the album. This was before the additions of Perkison and Crawford who later took Newkirk and Baker''s place in the studio.

With lyrics such as "Driving down the road watching all I know pass by/ Driving down the road the mirror leaves it all behind/ But in front I''ll just enjoy the drive," from the song "Driving" written by Spencer, the soothing John Mayer-like style attracts audiences of all ages to the group.

SpencerAcuff is quickly beginning to form a posse that follows them wherever they go, have their lyrics memorized and refer to the band members by first name. And if their success continues to grow as expected, their fan club will only be expanding. Their manager Perry Harell of Williamston along with their two publicists from UNC-CH Becky Jones, of Nashville, Tenn. and Lauren Biggers of Concord work extremely hard to keep SpencerAcuff on the road and in sales.

"We work really hard to make sure as many people as possible find out about the band. We believe in them, and we feel like once someone hears them play, whether on an album or live, they will too," Biggers said.

"In our experience, people who hear SpencerAcuff for the first time become people who come back to hear them for the second and third. By publicizing through local papers and radio stations, we hope to make someone hear them for the first time. After that, the music sells itself," Jones said.

The band hopes one day they will see themselves on the same shelves with major musicians and isn''t far from getting there. "Each member of the band strives to be an excellent musician at their own particular instrument, but at the same time the foremost thing is the quality of the song. It''s easy to love the guitar too much and sacrifice the song," Acuff said. And not only do Spencer and Acuff write their own songs, but they both attempt to connect to their fans with both their lyrics and their concerts. "When we''re finished with a concert we want to be able to walk offstage and relate with people," Spencer said.

On Nov. 1, 2003, SpencerAcuff received the opportunity to showcase a revolutionary breakthrough in sound systems with the Bose Corporation. Due to such tremendous success of release of their album "Moment Golden," Bose chose SpencerAcuff along with only 25 other bands nationwide to demonstrate the new sound system in concert. The sound system was the result of a 10-year research initiative, which featured Cylindrical Radiator speakers. This allowed the band to hear and control their own sound while making both the music and musician clearer than with previous systems.

This was the first time Bose used this sound system, and SpencerAcuff was one of the lucky bands to host the Bose Corporation''s new technology. The corporation kept the sound system a secret until Nov. 1, which was the national revealing day

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