IF YOU GO
What: Nightfall Concert Series featuring Elliott Brood.
When: 8 p.m. today; Land Camera opens at 7.
Where: Miller Plaza, corner of M.L. King Boulevard, Market and Cherry streets.
Venue website: www.nightfallchattanooga.com.
Land Camera is a local experimental folk/rock group led by Charles Allison. He is joined by multi-instrumentalists Bob Stagner, Callie Harmon and John R. Lazenby III. For details, visit the band's profile at Facebook.com/landcamera.
To many people, touring French backroads means a chance to relax and take in the scenery, but all the three members of Elliott Brood could think of was the historical tragedies that had occurred there.
During their first European tour in 2007, the Canadian based alt-country musicians were seeing muddy battlefields where others might see vineyards and villages. As history buffs and avid storytellers, they recognized its potential as a source of musical inspiration.
That trip led to 2011's "Days Into Years," a 10-track concept album built around the theme of growing older and the trials young men faced on both sides of the battlefield.
"We're not trying to retell history in our songs," said vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Casey Laforet. "We start off with an idea, let the song tell itself and let people interpret it a certain way.
"I picture these kids stuck in these trenches thinking, 'How did I get to this point? If I get out of here, I'm going to be way better.' Or maybe not. Who knows? You can only guess."
Tonight, Elliott Brood will take the stage as the third headliner of this year's Nightfall concert series.
Growing up across the border from Detroit, Laforet said he was musically weaned on a diet of rap and, later, grunge rock. It wasn't until he moved to Toronto and met band co-founder Mark Sasso that his tastes began to change.
"I remember hearing [The Band's] 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' the first time, and I had never heard a song that wasn't about a girl at that point," he said.
Laforet said his and Sasso's shared interest in musical storytelling has been a guiding principle since they formed, initially as a banjo/guitar duo, in 2002.
As time has gone on, life experience and a growing fascination with incorporating a cohesive historical narrative into albums has dramatically altered the band from its roots.
Despite sharing a unifying historical theme to their first concept album, 2009's "Mountain Meadows," the trio's latest album incorporates a heavier folk/rock influence similar to Neil Young's Crazy Horse days.
Recording full-length albums, much less ones built around unifying themes, is a risky proposition in the days of digital downloads, but Laforet said the band sees album sales as the decorative cherry, not the cake.
"With YouTube, your show can be online in 40 seconds, so you can't screw up and be a terrible live band because people will find out," he said. "We don't worry about the music because we really love it. We feel like if we can play it and get that across to people in a live environment, they will come back."
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...
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