By Caleb Calhoun (part 1 of 2)
Jahman Brahman’s new album, Choose Your Channel, is a rainbow-colored breath of fresh air, and they’ll be releasing it Saturday in a show with Backup Planet at Isis Music Hall. The band, which started in Ohio and relocated to Asheville, mixes everything from jam and funk to R&B and electronica to create its own unique sound.
“The reason we came up with the name Choose Your Channel,” guitarist Casey Chanatry tells me, “is that with the new members coming in, everyone was rolling in their two cents. Each song kind of became it’s own genre.”
From Chanatry’s soaring 1980s guitar on “Malcom” to the reggae beat on “Spendin’” and every song in between, the band clearly draws inspiration from all over the musical universe. Each song is completely different than the one before it, yet they all clearly come from the same place. A big part of that is due to the level of involvement the guys had with the engineering and production of the album.
“We were all in the studio while the others were doing overdubs,” explains Chanatry. “We would work on the final versions over email or the phone, messing around with everything down to like 10-second Moog clips. I basically helped him mix it.”
By “him,” Chanatry refers to longtime friend of the band Andy Sartain. The album was recorded at his Mindfield Studios and he is listed on the album as the producer.
“He’s so patient with us and works with us and will shoot out ideas for harmonies and such,” Chanatry says. “The process was so much easier than I can imagine it being in other studios.”
That easy-going vibe comes through on nearly every song. From the positivity of the lyrics to the catchy melodies to Chanatry’s tone-crushing guitar, everything sounds almost effortless.
That’s the goal, according to Chanatry. “It doesn’t happen every time. Sometimes I overthink things on stage. I heard a Duane Allman interview where he said something like ‘If you’re trying at all you aren’t doing anything.’”
This is where, for Chanatry, his early life as a military child seeps into his signature guitar lines.
“I have been lucky enough to travel all over both Europe and America. I have these subconscious memories of castles and landscapes and… as I play a solo or whatever those images will pop up in my head. When I get locked in it’s like being tuned in and tuned out at the same time. That is when the imagery comes to me.”
Saturday night, in a hometown show, releasing an album, and sharing the stage with one of the hottest prog/jam-rock bands on the circuit, it seems like a safe bet that Chanatry, and the rest of the guys from Jahman Brahman will find transcendence on stage. With any luck, those of us in the audience will take a little of their vibe home with us.
Jahman Brahman and Backup Planet play Saturday, the 21st at Isis Music Hall. BP will play first at 9pm. Show is $10 in advance and $12 DOS.
Caleb Calhoun studied writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and music at a plethora of clubs and bars across the southeast. He is the author and publisher of Rosman City Blues and currently resides outside of Asheville with his dog and best friend, Dr. Gonzo.
You can reach him at Caleb.firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Facebook.com/GonzoNC.