Two years ago, five friends gathered in a remote cabin to make music together for the first time. Today they are sharing their debut album, Field Trips, a recording that establishes Constant Greetings as the latest addition to Saint John’s indie rock lineage.
2020 was a crapper of a year. Let’s just put that on the table now. Bands everywhere were treading water, and their fans were left wondering if they would ever again have the chance to be completely bathed in music the way only a live performance can deliver. It was a pretty bleak moment in our shared history, but it wasn’t without a few glimpses of hope. While some musicians came to view their career in music as a chapter read, remembered, and left behind, others were just discovering how it felt to get together with friends and make a little noise. To see if anything clicked. To share an experience, something optimistic for a change.
In October of that year, five people – friends first, musicians second – decided to spend a weekend making music together for the first time. Unsure and largely inexperienced, JP Lewis, Stephen Robinson, Jeff Marr, Jeff Melanson and Peter Wallace loaded their gear into a cabin and spent a few days making noise.
“We’re all friends in our late 30s and early 40s, with kids and careers, who are all lifelong music fans,” said Robinson. “The first time we got together, we weren’t really sure how it was going to go. With the exception of JP and Peter, none of us had ever played in bands before.”
Whatever happened in the cabin on that cool fall weekend in St. Martins resonated with all involved. The experience proved positive enough for the group to want to do it again, and again. Over the next two years songs were written and rehearsed with greater frequency. From these sessions, Constant Greetings became a reality.
“At the time we never actually envisioned putting out an album,” said Robinson. “But almost exactly two years later we were back at the same camp recording our debut LP with Corey Bonnevie! This was definitely a full circle moment for us which still feels surreal.”
Bonnevie is responsible for some of the best indie rock albums and singles to come out of the Saint John region in recent years. His skills as a musical collaborator and recording engineer have contributed to projects by Sadie, David R. Elliott, Motherhood, Jason Ogden, Adam Mowery, Papal Visit, and his own bands Little You, Little Me and Doctor Mother Father, to name just a few. His efforts are part of what has made Saint John the envy of musicians from all over the Atlantic region.
Robinson says that despite living outside the city in the suburb of Rothesay, he and his bandmates credit the city’s arts community for welcoming them into the fold from the very beginning.
“The Saint John arts and music community has provided us with endless inspiration, encouragement, and support,” said Robinson. “Our album is a testament to this. It was recorded, mixed and mastered by Corey, whom we met and befriended through innumerable visits to Backstreet Records over the years. Our album cover is a photo taken by Julia Wright, a friend of the band and a vocal advocate for the local music scene. The painting of our band was created by Jeff Melanson’s sister-in-law and her husband who, despite busy careers, still find time to make beautiful art.
“We played our first gig at Long Bay Brewery in Rothesay, a burgeoning venue in the valley that has been very supportive of us. In fact, our album release show is going to be at their other venue Wasted Day. We also rent a jam space weekly at Fluid Audio where we are able to make a lot of noise without waking up our kids which has been crucial to our development as a band. And, finally, our music and lyrics are largely inspired by this beautiful community we, and our families, are fortunate enough to call home.”
Bookended by a pair of folk inspired vignettes that act as a greeting and a thank you, Field Trips is an album full of range, dynamics and well executed indie rock goodness. From straight up bangers like Suburban Strivers and Life Couch, to the more subdued and introspective songs like Kathleen Turner (You be Kathleen Turner, I’ll be Michael Douglas, We’ll live in the jungle, Where no one can find us), Constant Greetings’ debut album presents all the polish and character of an accomplished group of musicians three or four albums deep. It’s a remarkable introduction to these mid-lifers and a testament to music’s ability to sooth our hearts and build new connections when everything familiar has slipped away. This one deserves a listen.
Since recording their album, Constant Greetings have expanded their lineup to include James Lea on synth and keys. The band’s first outing with their new lineup will also be their album release show, planned for late March.
March 25 | Wasted Day Brewery | Album release show with special guest Fox Farm | 8 p.m.