In the music industry these days, a lot of acts and musicians are thinking out of the box. Instead of going through the usual album cycle, more and more of them are shifting towards singles to utilize streaming and short attention spans to their full advantage. When it comes to albums, bands are releasing them in unique ways like Providence country rock act Jake Hunsinger & The Rock Bottom Band for example. On August 14, they’re going to be putting on an all-day mini-festival event at Dusk on 301 Harris Avenue in their home city titled “Bottoms Up At Dusk” to ring in the physical version of their debut album Wrapped Around The Axle. Starting at 5pm, they’ll be joined by fellow locals Stone Nobles, Jake Wasson, M.D., Hollow Turtle, Lauren King, Electric Paisan and a few others for a stacked show.
Hunsinger, who is a Cranston resident, and I had a talk about the upcoming event, putting out the album in an entirely non-conventional way, being able to communicate through his music and what he hopes people take from Wrapped Around The Axle after listening to it.
Rob Duguay: Who had the idea to put on “Bottoms Up At Dusk”?
Jake Hunsinger: It was my idea. It’s funny because it wasn’t the initial idea, we had a bunch of ideas and we’re all going to do them at different points now with the desire to put on a big festival. The album was kind of secondary, the first thing was putting on a big show to highlight a lot of the younger acts in Providence. There was also talk about just hosting a party to network because I’ve noticed that there is oftentimes kind of a disconnect between a lot of the newer folks in the scene and a lot of the folks who are established. I would love to host a nice networking get-together so everybody could actually meet each other and be aware of each other’s acts.
With the younger folks in particular, they just don’t really know what the scene is or what’s out there or how to go about things. I think a nice event like the one we’re putting on can help integrate newer folks, so these were all ideas that we were throwing around. As time kept creeping closer, we realized that we had a lot of things to do so we started to prioritize the two most important things. One being the album release and the other being a big festival because any other way you cut up those specific ideas, it’s dependent on a big show.
RD: I totally agree with that, it’s a cool vision to have. What was the process like getting all of the other bands and musicians on the bill? Was it pretty much hitting up a bunch of friends or was there a specific reasoning behind picking each particular band and musician?
JH: Once we decided that it was going to be connected to the CD release, I wanted it to be centered around the people who have been there for me and the guys for a very long time and have been very supportive of what we do. You’ll see Beth Barron and Maddie McGill, they’ll be playing and I’ve been good friends with the two of them for a very long time. I think Beth’s open mic at the Galactic Theatre in Warren was the one I frequented so much when I was writing a bunch of these songs that are on the album. It only made sense to get these friends, these people who are so instrumental if not creatively then just through the support. Also, everybody I booked I think is just stellar and I’m very, very pleased with the turnaround on this. I just asked my friends if they wanted to pay this and each of them said “Yeah, absolutely”, so getting the lineup was the easy part.
RD: After this mini-festival, you’ll be releasing the first single off of the album “Lorelai” on August 18th. What’s the reason why you’re putting it out after the release show?
JH: We’re kind of doing this backwards. People can buy the physical album at Dusk on August 14th, the single will be streaming on the 18th along with the b-side “Wild Horses Of Wyoming” and then the album will be available to stream on September 23rd. When we were planning the whole rollout, we’d been waiting a very long time. We wanted to have the album available for people we’d know would listen to it a lot sooner than the national audience, so we wanted it all at once. Because of how long it would take to generate the proper press nationally, I asked our publicist about doing a local release for the CD so everybody who knows and everybody who’s invested can listen and get a copy to support.
We figured that we’d separate our national campaign and allow that to build almost separately while using this CD release show as a trial run to see what works in the messaging. What resonates with the people who already like us? What resonates with people who care? So far, everything has been complimentary between both campaigns.
RD: Great, that’s awesome. What was the process like making Wrapped Around The Axle? This is your first full-length record, so how would you describe the experience?
JH: Well, it was absolutely miserable for the first year. All through my own neurosis, the four of us as we were playing were not up to the standard which needed to be accomplished. It was a long, technical and creative process during our first year but after we took a break and came back we were able to really understand what we were doing. I improved greatly as a singer, I was able to get more songs done and there’s going to be songs on this record that nobody has actually heard yet. Usually I like to road test my songs so this is going to be pretty exciting for folks who know my work.
It started very, very painful, but I think it was worth it. I don’t just think that, I know it was worth it.
RD: It’s good that you have that perspective on it now when you had a rough go of it at the beginning. When it comes to the overall listener, anybody who gives it a stream on Spotify or whatever other platform after it comes out, what do you hope they take from Wrapped Around The Axle?
JH: I don’t know if there’s a deliberate thing that I want them to take away actually. When I write these songs, I think about what I’m trying to say after it’s all done. Every song has an individual point, I don’t believe in the implied meaning where the meaning is whatever the listener thinks it is. Sometimes it’s like that but everything in the album is a pretty deliberate statement and I guess my only hope as a songwriter and as an artist is that people understand what I’m saying in each song and what I’m trying to tell them. I’m a songwriter because I crave communication and the ability to speak with people and if what I say is understood then I did my job. That’s really what I hope, they understand what I’m trying to say with each song.
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