THE MORNING BELL
For your consideration
The Morning Bell
Best Alternative Music Album
The Morning Bell
Best Americana Album
"Always With Me"
Best American Roots Performance
Best Rock Song
"Head Fulla HearT"
Best Rock Performance
Best American Roots SONG
Ryan Truesdell • GRAMMY-winning producer
I’ve always been fascinated by collaborations between two creative minds whose union yields a collective artistic outcome that transcends the possibilities of the individual artist. Even more intriguing are the unexpected partnerships sparked by chance encounters, connecting strangers who eventually become the missing piece of each other’s puzzle. The beauty revealed in the joining of two individuals’ consciousness defies explanation or scientific analysis, and can’t be forced or manufactured. The field of songwriting has provided many of these almost divine encounters, resulting in historic partnerships: Lennon and McCartney, Ellington and Strayhorn, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, or Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, all of whom contributed extraordinary songs that have become the soundtrack that accompanies our lives.
The collaborative songwriting team behind Jesus On The Mainline came about from a typically New York chance encounter. Through a fluke of real estate, Tim Emmerick and Andrew Neesley met when Tim moved into the apartment upstairs from vocalist Mel Flannery who had formed a wedding band with her Manhattan School of Music classmate, Andrew. The two met, and began to explore making and writing music together. Their voices and personalities blended, each bringing their distinctive backgrounds in different styles--jazz, pop, country, folk, and rock--and skills as lyricists, to coalesce and lay the groundwork for the band’s unique sound. As their collaboration began to bear fruit, they assembled a group of fifteen of NYC’s finest musicians, and Jesus On The Mainline debuted on July 11, 2012 at Arlene’s Grocery.
One benefit of such a large ensemble is drawing from its vast pool of talent and resources. Each of the songs Andrew and Tim bring to the band are inevitably infused with and shaped by the individual voices of all its members. Over the course of four years and countless live shows, you can hear how their contributions have influenced the evolution of JOTM’s signature sound--a multi-layered blend of straightforward, groove-based jams, derived from a diverse palette of styles, and elevated by sophisticated writing. On The Morning Bell, their truly collective sound is evident, and shines through in moments like Mel’s powerful vocals on “Homegoing,” Pascal LeBoeuf’s lush organ and keyboards on “Always With Me,” or the driving, dynamic brass section on “Walls” and “Homegoing” led by Michael Gorham and Augie Haas. The sonic atmosphere they create is further expanded and textured by the seamless incorporation of delightfully unexpected instruments like Andrew’s violin, or Augie’s piccolo trumpet, showcased on “Head Fulla Heart”.
The collaborative nature of the band doesn’t end with songwriting or stylistic contribution. In addition to being skilled musicians, each band member brings their own amazing, genuine personality to the stage. Their energetic, engaging live performances draw listeners in, and have created a community of dedicated fans. As someone who was there since JOTM’s inception, and has attended many of their live performances, I’ve witnessed the palpable energy given off by this incredible band. Even when you’re one of hundreds of fans in the audience, you can feel a personal connection to the band and their music.
Throughout the process of making this debut album, one of Tim and Andrew’s primary goals was to build upon that connection--to capture the energy of their live performances and enable their listeners to take that feeling home with them, and into their everyday lives. At the root of the collaboration and camaraderie that makes JOTM such a distinct group, is their desire to simply make great music; to craft songs that forge a lasting relationship between the band and their fans. That is the common thread in all great musical collaborations, and the difference between merely writing songs, and creating art that weaves its way into our hearts and minds.
As I write these notes and reflect on my experiences with Andrew, Tim and all the members of JOTM--from their live shows, to these recording sessions, and the countless hangs in between--I am reminded that at its core, what makes JOTM so special can’t be put into words alone. This consortium of talented musicians, anchored by the almost symbiotic collaboration of its two gifted songwriters, has created a great work of art in this collection of songs. The lyrics of “Homegoing” say: “The morning bell has rung its toll, her echo now is all I hear, it’s in my head and in my soul.” Whether this is your first introduction to Jesus on the Mainline, or you’re a die-hard member of their community of fans, I hope The Morning Bell will echo through your heart and mind, and find its rightful place in the soundtrack of your life.
Released May 19, 2017 by Ropeadope Records
All songs written by Andrew Neesley and Tim Emmerick
© 2017 MAINLINE MUSIC LLC (ASCAP)
Produced by Andrew Neesley, Tim Emmerick, and Laura Tarbox
Recorded by Aaron Bastinelli at Studio G, Figure 8, Rockwood Music Hall, Converse Rubber Tracks, and Fun Sound Studio, and by Tom Gardner at Rift Studios, September 26 to November 4, 2016
Vocals by Tim Emmerick, Andrew Neesley, Mel Flannery, and Natalie Cressman
Guitars by Andrew Miramonti, Tim Emmerick, and Simon Kafka
Keyboards by Pascal LeBeouf
Bass by Jeff Koch, Tim Emmerick, and Tomek Miernowski*
Drums by Anders Flemming and Sean Mullins*
Percussion by Jake Goldbas
Trumpets by Michael Gorham and Augie Haas
Flügelhorn by Andrew Neesley
Trombones by Natalie Cressman, Frank Cohen, and James Yardley
Tuba by Mark McGinnis
Cello by Tara Hanish
Violin by Andrew Neesley
Chord Organ by Andrew Neesley
Harmonica by Tim Emmerick
*Performs on track 4, “Always With Me”, only
Mixed by Aaron Bastinelli at Fun Sound Studio, November 28 to December 9
Mastered by Michelle Mancini at Larabee Studios, December 12 to 16
Painting by Shirzad Khusrokhan
Photo by Shervin Lainez
Design by Andrew Neesley