Orbiting SXSW

7 Local Bands To Watch

(Page 3 of 7)

The Eastern Sea

Wed., March 13, 10pm, Esther's Follies
Orbiting SXSW
Photo by Sandy Carson

Eastern Sea frontman Matt Hines completed a monthlong East Coast tour earlier this year, returning home to a four-year relationship. After spending a considerable amount of time trying to catch his corgi in Zilker Park, he worries that their long stretches apart made her wary. He professes that being away from the city and people he loves takes its toll.

Yet Hines remains eager to leave.

Tracking over 4,000 miles, 24 stops, and eight sold-out shows, he's chomping at the bit to get back out there. The co-headlining tour with Nashville's Kopecky Family Band, who gained national recognition opening for pop-folk superstars the Lumineers, brought in the capacity crowds these former Austin weekend warriors have been waiting for.

"We were a great fit because we're not similar musically, but I think both our audience and theirs could appreciate the other," posits Hines. "Depending on the tour stop and who has an audience where, we could be playing for a crowded room that had never heard us, or vice versa."

Transitioning from Downtown-venue hoppers to national mobility, the group's core quartet – Hines, Kevin Thomas, Charley Siess, and John Rawls – began by upgrading their equipment. The bandleader, for one, bought a hollow-body guitar suited for both performance and writing on the road, where cramped quarters leave no room for an acoustic. The Eastern Sea also shopped for musicians after losing two of its founding members to last summer's sophomore LP, Plague, and another whose full-time job doesn't allow for months on the road.

"I've always been interested in playing music with people who aren't full-time musicians," says Hines. "Those people have the perspective that I want in my music, but at this point, every opportunity that comes at us we have to take.

"It's hard if you have too much baggage."

While searching for a new multi-instrumentalist and prepping a tentative April tour of the West Coast, the band loaded into the studio to cut demos Hines wants to begin recording this summer.

"You can't make money sitting in your hometown playing every other week at Beerland and make it," he stresses. "It's just a necessity – I have to be on the road. It's now, more than ever, important for me to be out and spreading the gospel of the Eastern Sea." – Abby Johnston

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