As Weekly Surge celebrates its seventh year publishing here along the Grand Strand, I find myself occasionally running across the vaguely familiar names of musicians who have long since left the beach, but who are still making relevant music somewhere. These ghosts of the Grand Strand’s past will infrequently revisit the homeland, and their names pop up in my e-mail. Matt Lane was one such name that rang a bell. He and his band, Black Robin Hero, are in town, Thursday evening, at Pirate’s Cove, to play a homecoming show, of sorts.
So where had I heard Matt Lane’s name before? Hmmm...
“I was in a few local bands in my high school and college days,” said Lane from his home in Asheville, N.C. “You probably remember The Magnolia Network...” That’s it! Rummaging through my Music Notes archives I found I had indeed covered Lane’s former band, way back in June 2007. And that was the last I’d heard of him, until we spoke last week.
Lane and his five-piece act, Black Robin Hero (BRH), will make their Grand Strand debut at 9:30 p.m. Thursday at Pirate’s Cove, the venue where it all started for the Magnolia Network some six years ago. BRH played its first gigs two years ago, and plays nearly every weekend promoting its six-track EP, “Narrow Plains” released in March.
“I spent my high school and college years in Myrtle Beach,” said Lane. “I was in Fat Gold Chain, the Magnolia Network, and Bad Weather Hollywood. I went to North Myrtle Beach High School and then Coastal [Carolina University]. I kicked around the beach for another couple of years after college, and then in 2008 I moved out to San Francisco. I loved it, but it was very expensive, and I heard that Asheville was a cool place to live. Actually, Asheville kind of picked me. I was looking for a place like San Francisco, but one that was a bit cheaper, and a friend offered me a job in Asheville. I came to visit, loved it, and thought ‘This would be a cool place for a guy like me, a musician.’ So I here I am.”
Lane has lived in the so-called “Boulder-Colorado-of-the-East,” Asheville, for nearly four years. “One of my main goals for moving there was to get a band going. I did some heavy recruiting, and it took a little time.” Lane worked a restaurant gig with a few guys that would jam together, “and it evolved from there,” he said.
The band recorded “Narrow Plains” at Echo Mountain Recording Studio, famous for tracking beau-coup A-listers: Zac Brown Band, T. Bone Burnett, Blackberry Smoke, Flogging Molly, Avette Brothers, A Band of Horses, and others. BRH’s tracks may be sampled and/or purchased at Reverb Nation. While Lane says that sales have been OK, for a self-promoted, self-produced indie band, he and his band mates are working diligently for broader recognition of their efforts.
“We’re getting some local radio airplay,” said Lane, “and scattered airplay from the Northeast to Florida. And the tunes have been well-received.”
Black Robin Hero is: Lane (vocals/guitar), Jason Rowland (guitar/vocals), Shawn Oldham (bass/vocals), Greg Terkelson (keyboards/vocals), Brian Ross (drums).
Lane says he enjoys the process of songwriting and collaborating, but his band mates rely on his skills crafting the song’s skeleton before they get a hold of it. “I guess I’m the primary song writer,” said Lane. “All the songs on the CD are mine. I bring ‘em to the band and, it’s very kind of Wilco-ish, we work ‘em until they morph into something that’s beyond just one person bringing a song to the table. It may be the most exciting part [of being in a band]; seeing what the song can sound like after five guys get a hold of it, and each put their spin on it.”
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