Making music

Jennings band on the rise in Nashville

The Early Evening band creates
unusual sound, original songs

By Debra Maylum
Staff Writer

NORTH VERNON, Ind. (December 2004) – With a summer tour that began with a first place spot in the battle of the bands in St. Louis and took them as far as Boulder, Colo., The Early Evening has been getting its music and its name out there for people to recognize.

The Early Evening

Photo provided

The Early Evening is finding success.

Each of the five members of the band brings his own talent to the table and contributes to the creation of some thought provoking music that is hard to compare to anything else out there.
It all began in a basement in North Vernon, Ind., about six years ago where brothers George and Dave Deager started playing just for fun. A little bit of interest and support from friends and family quickly persuaded them to explore their musical talents further.
As it turns out, the apple does not fall far from the tree. Their father, Tony Deager, who runs a Christmas tree farm in North Vernon, played at parties with George and Dave’s aunts, mostly covering other bands but occasionally playing some music of their own.
“Most of the time we would like their own music better than the songs they were covering which is what inspired us to be creative and figure it out as we go,” George said.
The two left North Vernon in 2000 and headed for Nashville, where Dave, 22, would attend Belmont University to major in classic guitar. In Nashville, they met Matt Sutphin, 22, who plays bass, Patrick Riddle, 23, who plays keyboards, and Jonathan Surratt, 22, who plays drums.
The five became The Early Evening, a name that comes from a line in one of Dave’s early songs, “Early evening calls you, she’s ready to start the show.”
The “early evening is that mystical time in between day and night when you start to settle in,” said George, 27. From the name to the lyrics to the artwork that adorns their albums and posters, everything about this band is original.
Dave did most of the artwork for the latest album, “And We Can Be Happy,” which was released in fall 2003. The 37 songs on the album are a variety of everything they have done up to this point, some of it recorded in the studio at Belmont and some in a friend’s apartment. Nonetheless, the genuine feeling of the music takes the listener through a completely new experience with each song.
The band tries to be itself as much as possible and not to copy anything somebody else has already made successful. They do not fit into typical radio programming, but they are fine with that, it comes with the territory when your music is distinctive.
George explained that they are also fine with the fact that they have been around for some time now and still do not have a record deal. Most of the time, people think an artist is brand new just because it is the first time they hear them, it just does not work that way though. Right now, they are still paying their dues.
While the group has not been actively seeking a label, they have progressed within the business. With some busy days of juggling school and the band still ahead for two of the members, the band is just trying to get out and play wherever it can. In the beginning they would simply go out and play open mic nights or even just play on the street where people could here them. As they made connections, they slowly started getting gigs. Nashville has just enough connections for the band right now and some locals in the business are beginning to recognize the members.
The band gets back to North Vernon a couple times a year to play. Their tour this summer included stops in Indianapolis, Seymour and North Vernon. When Dave and George visit without the band, they say it is one of the best places to relax and write songs. The beauty of the nature in Indiana and the ability to isolate yourself in it is something that they say makes songwriting easier.
Up next, the band will be recording at Electric Audio in Chicago and working with owner Steve Albini, who has produced for bands such as the Pixies and Nirvana. After recording in Chicago, The Early Evening will record again in Nashville, possibly exploring some slower more mellow-dramatic music. They are hoping to create a shorter album with about six songs for their next independent release, sometime next year.

• The Early Evening CD may be purchased online at www.theearlyevening.com, where there is also tour information, band biographies and more information.

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