The general bad reputation some artists have is that they “couldn’t cut the books,” but man they could bang the sh*t out of those drums. And then during interviews, it’s totally obvious what they earned in High School English (if they even made it that far). While interviewing Almost Green, that artist reputation was blown out of the water!Five guys: Kevin Hill (drums), Jason Liberatore (guitar/vocals), Dan Miller (bass/vocals), Shaun Ruymen (piano/percussion/vocals) and Paul Schober (guitar heroics), are the intellects for their genre.
Case and point: their response to the question about how the band was started.
Shaun, Paul and Jay met while working in a restaurant. After a little while, we started bringing guitars to work and playing outside in the parking lot, sometimes we even waited until we were actually done working. Maybe within six months, a friend got us a gig at this pub in Ewing, “Buddy’s.” Now, none of us had ever played in front of a crowd – ever. So, we spent that first night playing awful versions of our favorite songs in front of all of our friends. I mean, God awful, but it was a blast, and somehow they had us come back – maybe because we played for drinks and all of our friends just drank all night and the bar made money. It was there that we met Jarrod and Freaky (these guys were in the band Pumastrut). We also met Angela (Poe), who for some unknown reason liked us enough to let us practice at her house. That began an important period of time for us, personally and as a whole, because it gave us a chance to really look at music seriously, and treat it seriously, and to practice on a regular basis. Angela was a very good friend to us then and continues to be with this band. Anyway, by the time the Pumastrut guys went their separate ways, we’d invested enough in the dream of pursuing music that we weren’t going to just “fool around” with songs and stuff – we were going to keep at it. Now we had seen Joe play before at this gig he did in town. So, one night, Shaun has the drunken audacity to give him a Pumastrut CD. Apparently, Joe liked something about the music and wanted to help us out. Joe becoming involved marks another really important part of the band’s development because Joe is an incredible musician and friend. He hooked us up with Dano and we started recording songs for another CD. The last thing we needed though was a drummer. We recorded and played with some killer guys, but wanted someone who wanted to be part of a band, and who could devote their attention to being in just this one band. Schober put an ad on the web and Kevin ended up being the only person who responded, which is great because everyone agreed he was the guy right off the bat.
…Clearly, since Kevin has his Masters, and studies a lot of world percussion. A lot of that can be heard on the few tracks that are available as ear candy on their website AlmostGreen.com and their purevolume link, which can also be found on their website. Dano has also studied music and between him and Schrober’s ridiculous knowledge of the subject, the framework is pretty much set. Throw in some Shaun, who is apparently naturally talented in every instrument, and then his polar opposite Jay, who kindly sticks to his guitar skills, and you’ve got yourself a kickass bunch of musicians.
Their music has been described as “Urban Folk” by some; however, hailing from Central New Jersey, “urban” might lose its zing. It could be classified as that “jam band feel.” I wouldn’t necessarily categorize them as jam band-esque… which is where I’m going to assume the band name Almost Green gets its groove *wink*.
Their scene has been a constant at City Streets Café in East Windsor, New Jersey, so if you’re familiar with the area, you can always catch them there. They have a few shows lined up in Pennsylvania and New Jersey throughout the summer. I would highly suggest seeing these fellas live. They have that real live-presence in their music; something you can totally enjoy listening to while sitting outside on a deck in the heat of a summer night, enjoying an ice cold Yuengling. The couple of songs that I have heard are amazing. Clearly, I am not the only one who thinks so seeing as these boys have opened shows for The Pat McGee Band and Gavin DeGraw. And the really amazing part is they’ve only been playing together as Almost Green for nine months! I was more impressed the more I read into the interview, besides the fact that their grammar was stellar. Their fans are also in agreement:
Iris: What do you consider the best parts of doing what you do? What are the most difficult or challenging?
Almost Green: We’ve been really lucky with the reaction we’ve been getting from people, meaning, if they’ve liked us they’ve come up and said so. Those who haven’t, we don’t know who they are, because they’ve been gracious enough to not throw tomatoes or anything. But we’ve met some really great people, and made some great friends who’ve been open with us, and made us feel welcome and made us feel like our music speaks to them. That’s cool – that might be the best part of all this. It’s difficult, sometimes, being a band that plays original music, to get up in front of a strange room and play for people who are there just hanging out and might not have paid to see us if they knew the music. But I think we’ve made some fans out of it. I think our music has enough dimensions and the potential to appeal to a wide range of people. But it’s difficult sometimes, not being sure how it will be received.
Iris: What brought the members of the band into music? Is there anything that you want fans to take from your music?
AG: This is just what we do, and who we are, for better or worse. I don’t think anybody in this band could say they’d be happy doing anything else but playing music. We’d like to think, or we hope that people come check us out and leave with something stuck in their head – a lyric, a melody, something. Maybe they shake their ass on their way out to the car because they’ve been dancing to it and don’t want to stop – I don’t know. A lot of our music is very personal, and maybe a happy-sounding song might be about something more serious, or vice versa. We’d like to think that people will hear something they can identify with.
And with that said, again, I’d highly recommend heading up to see these guys grace us with their toe-tapping tunage. Perfect for those summer nights in central Jersey – or even winter nights (but its summer now so live it up). Plus, they embrace the Internet. “Putting our music on the web has also gotten us in touch with people that we haven’t even met yet, and that’s really cool because they like us for no other reason than the music. They’re nobody’s girlfriend, or friends, or roommates, or family, they just stumbled onto the music and they like it. That’s the kind of stuff that makes us want to keep going, because we’ll think, ‘Okay, people that don’t even know us get what we’re doing, too.’” So seeing as how you’re sitting on the Internet reading this article, and I know you are also signed on Instant Messenger, hit your friends up with this link: www.almostgreen.com. Oh and hey, they post all their lyrics on their site, so do your homework. That way, when you show up, you won’t stick out like a sore thumb since clearly everyone loves Almost Green!