Happy Birthday Amy is a three piece conglomeration of musical co-dependence. Bursting with talent, their multi layered sound plays out like a promise of great things to come for the voice and key-beating fingers of Amy Smith, Dillon Smith (Davenport native) on the violin and bass, and drummer Miles Cramer.
The trio's first EP became available this spring - a five track cd with a wide range of appeal, including a two minute violin solo, soaring vocals, haunting lyrics, playful, intricate rhythms, solid musicianship and some dancetastic moments to boot.
Most of the songs on the EP are Amy Smith creations, songs she's been periodically hording away for the past three years while she waited for the right moment, the right musicians and connections to bring to light.
"I'm really happy with the way that the EP flows together", Dillon says. "We chose the songs because we thought we'd do three: When It Comes To, Annie Mae, Avonlee they were the very oldest Amy songs."
Amy stumbled across her co-conspirators in birthday revelry when she started to consider playing some solo gigs, and put in a call to Dillon looking for a violin.
"I would like you to know that it was the happiest phone call ever", says Dillon, who had been secretly plotting a musical collision for months.
By the second song it was obvious that something was clicking, and that "When It Comes To" needed drums. Happily, the pair both knew one Miles Cramer - Amy from The Mechanical Bears (now the Vermicious K'nids) and Dillon from a long history of impromptu jams.
Miles immediately picked up the songs and carried them to full cake smearing status!
These three breathe musicality, but in very different ways, that each come together in HBA with dynamic results.
Amy pulls from her long history of theater, opera, quality time with her piano, and the legacy of her inspirational father. Dillon comes from a long line of musicians and pretty much grew up surrounded. He spent time learning the piano, dedicated himself to the violin and picked up guitar and bass at the age of 13. Miles sat down at a drum set when he was 10, and never remembered to get back up.
On their EP, "The Holidays" showcases HBA's evolution from a band playing Amys songs to an active conversation between musicians.
"The album is a statement about our band", Dillon says. "Some of our songs are dark and heavy, some are dancerific, some are light. In an age when bands seem to typify their genre, putting 12 songs and one mood on a record, I don’t think any of us have been a fan of trying to do one thing over and over again."
In the spirit of not doing anything twice, HBA are now undertaking the follow up EP, a five track "live n the studio" version of songs that will be placed on the album that they are simultaneously recording. The "live in the studio" EP will be out mid-late October with the expected release date of the album looming early 2007. The album will be nothing short of fantastic that keeps ears happy! The last track is said to be an 8-minute fable about a giant man-beast in which the band explores their love for jazzy brass ! You can expect to hear trumpets and tubas throughout the album performed by a trio of guys they affectionately refer to as The Dirty Brassholes. As for the giant beast and his role on the album , well, he's awfully hairy!
See Happy Birthday Amy on Thursday, November 16 at Penguin’s. Doors open at 9 P.M. and show starts at 10 P.M. Also playing, Future Apple Tree Records, www.futureappletree.com, recoding artists The Parish Festival and Chrash. $5 cover and the show is all ages. For more information visit www.myspace.com/penguinslivemusic.