Independent Record Label [Est. 2009]
Wilmington, North Carolina

 
 

CONCERTS + RELEASE DATES + BIRTHDAYS

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Finding ‘Paradise’: Sean Thomas Gerard talks new music, fatherhood and upcoming release of his LP

[Repost from Port City Daily; by Shea Carver, February 23, 2021]

Sean Thomas Gerard has spent the last year creating eight new tracks for his latest LP, “Finally Found a Paradise,” coming out on Fort Lowell Records in March.

WILMINGTON – Though 2020 will be marked by loss and hardship for many, for local musician Sean Thomas Gerard, he managed to create paradise — at least in some form. Gerard will release his upcoming LP, “Finally Found a Paradise,” next month after spending a year prolifically recording and writing.

Despite losing the majority of his live gigs from the pandemic — not to mention going on hiatus from booking and running shows at downtown’s Bourgie Nights — Gerard gained something even more blissful in the last year: the title “stay-at-home dad” to his baby girl, Jovie.

“The good thing for me is that she’s fairly predictable with her naps,” Gerard said. “So, you know, about 12:30 every day, she goes down for two hours, and that’s my time to either go out for a bike ride or work on music.”

Most days over the last year he’s focused on the latter. Gerard has completed eight songs as part of “Paradise” and already has begun tracks for his next LP. First things first, “Paradise” will be a mix of new and old songs, some that Gerard even played with his band Onward, Soldiers throughout the years.

Usually, he begins his writing process on acoustic guitar or piano. When he gets into his home recording studio, he lays down the drum track first, then the guitar, then the vocals.

“It becomes a whole experimental process,” Gerard said. “I don’t write super complicated music — I’m more about layers.”

While most stuff turns out the way he envisions it, a few manage to appear in better form. Take “Wild Inside,” for example, which contains lyrics that bestowed the album’s title “Finally Found a Paradise.”

“Initially, I wrote that on piano, and I thought it was just going to be a ballad,” Gerard explained. “It ended up with a couple synthesizer sounds and instead became this whole ‘80s track. My wife says it sounds like a song that would be played at an ‘80s prom, like in a slow-dance shot in a movie.”

Color your own paradise
It’s been four years since Gerard’s last album, “Avalon.”

“I’ve given people plenty of time to forget me,” the musician quipped.

The journey of “Paradise” began in 2019, in all fairness. Gerard started picking away at his most personal tune yet, “Jovie,” written for his first child. He created it during his wife’s pregnancy, and played it for her for the first time the night before Jovie was born.

“I was in tears, she was in tears,” Gerard reflected, “and the next day she had Jovie. When we brought her home from the hospital, that was the first thing I played for her. Her eyes just lit up like she knew it.” 

Gerard released the pedal-steel folk song last April — a sleepy tune that could have been birthed from Wilco and George Harrison combined. Nine months later it has received more than 10,000 streams on Spotify.

Though “Jovie” took the longest to write, Gerard said some of his other songs for the album came rather quickly. “Sail Off in the Sunset” was written in 30 minutes. The song was inspired from living in the doldrums of a pandemic and needing escape.

“You’ve gone through hell and you’re coming out on the other side,” Gerard described. “That’s the hopeful vibe of it.”

Gerard even made a video from public domain footage of beach scenes, sailboats, surfers and other sunny-day good vibes. Gerard ran the imagery through a Super-8 app, did some time-lapse shots and filtered it to look grainy like an old movie.

“I showed it to my mom and sister, and they’re like, ‘Wow, that was really just three-and-a-half minutes of being totally relaxed watching something,’” Gerard said.

The video will premiere on March 15 on the Blood Makes Noise blog, while “Finally Found a Paradise” will come out on Fort Lowell Records on March 30 — though Gerard will drop his third single on March. 19. Gerard has worked with Lowell founders James Tritten and Tracy Shedd for years, including last year, contributing a track to their “GROW” compilation.

Gerard said he’s doing a rather unusual release for “Paradise,” shifting as necessary in the world of Covid-19, since hosting live release parties can’t be done. He’s not doing a livestream either, something many musicians have turned to in today’s unrelenting market.

“I don’t love streaming,” Gerard admitted. “I did a live stream when I put the ‘Jovie’ single out — and I was so much more nervous than I’ve ever been playing.”

To celebrate the release, Gerard teamed up with artist and musician-friend Chris Frisina (Sleepy Cat Records) to do the album cover. When folks buy the digital download, they’ll get a poster of the album and a vinyl sticker. They can choose the poster in color or black and white. 

“My whole idea is that you color your own paradise on the black-and-white one,” Gerard said. “So I’m encouraging people to either give it to their kids or be creative with it — to draw, color, paint their own version of the album cover.”

He’s also encouraging fans to post their creations and tag him by using #finallyfoundaparadise. When they do, they will get a special gift from Gerard, like an unreleased song or an acoustic version of one of his tracks from “Paradise.”

“I have a kid now, so I understand they need things to do, and I’m hoping that somebody gives the poster to the kid and puts it on on their Instagram, and we can have a good laugh about how funny it looks, or how amazing their kid is,” Gerard said. “Hopefully, it becomes a little thing for people to have some fun with.”

The first two singles, “Jovie” and “Strange & Electrifying,” from “Finally Found a Paradise” can be streamed on Sean Thomas Gerard’s Soundcloud or Spotify.


Sunday, February 21, 2021

Saint Maybe - She's Alright (Live Solo Acoustic Performance by Oliver Ray)

Watch Oliver Ray of Saint Maybe [FLR009] perform their song "She's Alright" from their 2012 debut album Things As They Are.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Happy Birthday, Wes McCanse of ...music video?

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Happy Birthday, Emily Wilder of Wet & Reckless

Monday, February 15, 2021

Saint Maybe "Way With Words" (Solo Acoustic Performance)

Watch Oliver Ray of Saint Maybe (plus Patti Smith) perform the song "Way With Words" from their 2012 debut album Things As They Are live here on YouTube:

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Happy Birthday, Steven Patrick Haley

It is no surprise that some of the most beautiful people in the world are born on this day: February 14th, Valentine's Day. One of them happens to be the very reason I even have a career in music, simply by answering "Yes" to the question I asked him nearly 30-years ago when I was first introduced to him at high school in Orange Park, Florida: "Do you want to be in a band?" Happy Birthday to one of the most talented, loving people I know in this world: Steven Patrick Haley! • Photos of our bands Sella + Audio Explorations. ~ James Tritten, Fort Lowell Records

Friday, February 12, 2021

Wilmington love songs for Valentine's Day


Most songs are love songs in one way or another: what love feels like, what NOT having it feels like, and all of the infinitely complex feelings and shades of gray in between.

So, with Valentine's Day on Sunday, let's take a look at a few love songs that have been written by Wilmington artists over the years -- at 14, it's just a fraction of what's out there, with dozens more worthy entries that will have to go unmentioned in this story.

*NOTE: This repost of the original StarNews Online post has been edited to highlight the (4) artists out of the total fourteen who were featured on Fort Lowell Records' GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives MatterPlease view the original post here to learn about all fourteen artists that were included.

The Rosebuds: "Wishes for Kisses"

This soaring, anthemic song is from The Rosebuds' 2003 Merge Records debut, "The Rosebuds Make Out." Much of it was written (and, early on, performed) in Wilmington before the band (Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp) moved to Raleigh. "Wishes for Kisses" captures the nervous hopefulness of a love, or a crush, in its early stages, a dream both unfulfilled and much-ruminated on. Lovely lyric: "But he's thought of everything/ The songbooks, the songs they would sing/ He's makin' his wish list/ And wishin' for kisses tonight."

Sean Thomas Gerard: "Jovie"

The love of a parent for a child is among the emotion's purest forms. Sean Thomas Gerard, known for his work with Wilmington rockers Onward, Soldiers, wrote this dreamy soft-rock tune for his daughter the day before she was born last year. It'll be on his upcoming album "Finally Found a Paradise," set to be released March 30 on Wilmington's own Fort Lowell Records. Lovely lyric:"Jovie/ Hope you let me down slowly/ When you feel like you're fenced in/ Call my name and I'll be there in an instant."

More: New Wilmington song ‘Jovie’ will lift your spirits

Tracy Shedd: "Valentine"

Short and sweet, with a hint of darkness, like chocolate. Wilmington-based singer Shedd's vocals are on time here, dreamy and delicate like a memory of long-lost love. Lovely lyric: "Take me back to the place I can dream/ And I'll dream all day."

Pinky Verde: "Antacid 750s"

Heather Jensen, who records and performs moody indie rock under the moniker Pinky Verde, released the song “Antacid 750s" last year. It's about the intense emotion conjured by a new love affair, and slyly compares those feelings to a different kind of heartburn. Jensen's laid-back delivery makes it all sound like no big deal, but her lyrics give away her true feelings. Lovely lyric: "Days so content with you spent/ Haven't felt a hunger/ Haven't eaten for days/ Don't need to when I'm here with you."

More: Wilmington band Pinky Verde releases song from the heart

"Love is a complex emotion, as shown by this heart-shaped graffiti in Smith Alley between Market and Princess streets -- and as shown by the love songs written by Wilmington musicians." [Photo By Paul Stephen]


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Pre-Order Sean Thomas Gerard's sophomore album now

On Tuesday, March 30, 2021 Wilmington, North Carolina's own indie folk rocker Sean Thomas Gerard's new Digital LP titled Finally Found a Paradise will be released on all digital music platforms.  However, you can pre-order Gerard's sophomore solo album now on Bandcamp and you will receive two tracks from Finally Found a Paradise -- "Strange & Electrifying" and "Jovie" -- immediately.

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER NOW

Friday, February 5, 2021

Tucson sounds - A nice quarantine getaway

[Repost from The Tucson Sentinel; by Julie Jennings Patterson, February 4, 2021]

Once upon a time, your favorite music writer was but a lowly high school rock fan, scribbling goth adjacent poetry and political opinions in notebooks and thinking up terrible headline puns for her high school newspaper along the lines of “tennis team swings into action.” But, then, senior year rolled around and your humble teenage scribe fell into a funk, afflicted by writer’s block, feeling like it was all just an exercise in futility. 

Luckily, once upon that time, I also had some good friends, one of whom was a classmate who played guitar and wrote and sang and seemingly knew every underground British / Australian / New Zealand pop band worth knowing and had introduced us all to groups like XTC and the Church.  And that friend happened to be part of a school sponsored writer’s group that met at lunch once a week, and insisted, repeatedly that I HAD to join it. So I did. And things got a little bit better. And at the end of the year, when we were all penning pseudo profound things in each other’s yearbooks, that friend signed mine with a plea for me to not stop writing. 

Mind you, I’ve struggled with writer’s block for most of my adult life, so that advice was hard to stick to over the years. Years later, the same friend sold me my first bass guitar, one of a few instances of kismet that helped put me on the path toward writing about music. So, I guess I kind of owe a debt of thanks to that dude.

“That dude” happens to be one Andrew Gardner, frontman and architect of Tucson based psych/indie pop band La Cerca. The bands’ latest release, “A Nice Sweet Getaway” should have been the centerpiece of a cross-country tour last year, but the best laid plans of mice and men are quite undone by a global pandemic and the record didn’t get the usual extra dose of word of mouth traction that a tour usually provides.

But while the band didn’t get a chance to hit the road this year, they did make a record that’s well suited for one’s own socially distanced road trip.

Released on Fort Lowell Records, which also put out La Cerca’s 2014 effort “Sunrise For Everyone,” the new release sees Gardner and company moving beyond the confines of their jangly indie pop past into slightly  more ambient and experimental territory. What on past releases might have served as delay heavy guitar solos or bridges or trippy musical interludes within the standard verse-chorus-verse format serve as the main fare here, with instrumental flights of fancy leading the way and traditional song structure sticking its head out the window and enjoying the sunset for a change. 

Sunday, January 31, 2021

New album from Sean Thomas Gerard, coming soon!

Ladies & Gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that we share with you Fort Lowell Records will be releasing Sean Thomas Gerard's (of Onward, Soldiers) second full length studio album -- 'Finally Found a Paradise' -- as a Digital LP in March 2021! Gerard's sophomore solo release is a reflection on the ups and downs of his life over the past ten years, and we could not be more excited to be a part of his life this year. Stay tuned here for more info!


Saturday, January 9, 2021

Ten years ago, yesterday, January 8

Six people were killed (pictured): Christina-Taylor Green, 9; Dorothy "Dot" Morris, 76; U.S. District Judge John M. Roll, 63; Phyllis Schneck, 79; Dorwan Stoddard, 76; and Gabriel "Gabe" Zimmerman, 30.

Thirteen others were shot but survived: Bill Badger, Ron Barber, Ken Dorushka, James Eric Fuller, Randy Gardner, Congresswoman Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords, Susan "Suzi" Hileman, George Morris, Mary Reed, Pam Simon, Mavanell "Mavy" Stoddard, James "Jim" Tucker, and Kenneth Veeder.

Later that same year, Fort Lowell Records, along with Thomas Beach, Curtis McCrary, Nathan Sabatino, Stephen Seigel, Eric Swedlund, and Ryan Trayte formed 'Music Against Violence' and released Luz de Vida: A Compilation to Benefit the Victims of the Tucson Tragedy. It is an album that includes songs from Tucson musicians such as Calexico, Giant Sand, La Cerca, and Tracy Shedd, as well as national artists like John Vanderslice, Robyn Hitchcock, Ozomatli, Meat Puppets, Jimmy Eat World, Spoon, Neko Case, and DeVotchKa.

Luz de Vida is still available for your listening enjoyment on all digital music download and streaming platforms. 100% of the money from Luz de Vida goes to Homicide Survivors to assist victims, families, and witnesses of the January 8th tragedy in Tucson, Arizona. CLICK HERE to check out Luz de Vida today.

"This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before." ~ Leonard Bernstein, November 1963

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Happy Birthday, Kenyata Sullivan of The Majestic Twelve

Happy Birthday to Kenyata Sullivan, husband to Grace Sullivan, owner of Whatever Wilmington, founder of Wilmington's defunct WE Festival (as seen on MTV; 1996-2009), and leader of the band 'The Majestic Twelve' -- one of the many great contributing artists to the album GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Gravity Records Commercial, by Hendy Street Produxions (ft. 'GROW')

Hendy Street Produxions made a new commercial for Wilmington, North Carolina's own Gravity Records, and choose four artists from the Fort Lowell Records' album -- GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter -- to use for the music: The Majestic Twelve "Amphibious Vehicular Love", Team Player "Wake for You", Sean Thomas Gerard "Strange & Electrifying", and Tracy Shedd "Holding Space".   Learn more about GROW here, and then order your copy from Gravity Records here.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Beauty & Bloom Holiday Market - Saturday, December 5 - 11:00am-3:00pm

GROW is a local compilation of musical, visual, and literary artists who all stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and who have donated their own talents to endow the North Carolina New Hanover County NAACP with working capital to help ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination in our community. We at Fort Lowell Records cannot image a better holiday gift for you to give anyone this year other than -- GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter -- on vinyl record. It is truly 'a gift that keeps on giving'. And for a 'minimum donation' of only $30.00, it is a gift that anyone can afford to give. Please join us tomorrow -- Saturday, December 5th -- on South 2nd Street in the South Front District for Beauty & Bloom's Holiday Market between 11:00am-3:00pm, and come buy two, three, or even five copies of GROW to gift to your loved ones this holiday season. 100% of the sales from GROW will be donated to the NHC NAACP, and we are on target to raise over $30,000, but we can't do this without your help, so come on down to buy a few copies of this amazing album tomorrow. Thank you in advance, Wilmington NC, for your support and contributions. We look forward to seeing you in our Port City's South Front District in the morning (or afternoon). 🎄

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Flytrap Brewing presents Fort Lowell Records + Sean Thomas Gerard

Join us this coming Thursday, December 3 between 5:00-9:00pm at Flytrap Brewing, along with musician -- Sean Thomas Gerard -- and food truck -- The Chrome Gnome, by Platypus and Gnome -- for Flytrap's first Vendor December event. Fort Lowell Records will be selling GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter vinyl records to continue our efforts with raising money for the North Carolina New Hanover County NAACP, to help ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination in our community. 100% of the money from all sales of GROW will be donated to the NHCNAACP, and we have the potential to raise over $30,000 in total. However, we won't achieve that goal without your support, so please stop by Flytrap this Thursday to purchase a couple of copies of GROW to gift to your loved ones this holiday season. Sean Thomas Gerard, a featured musician on GROW, will be playing his wonderful music, while The Chrome Gnome and Flytrap Brewing are serving up their tasty culinary delights and brilliant brews. Happy Holidays, everyone! Be well, and be kind, and we will see you on Thursday at Flytrap! ((Don't forget to bundle up)) ☃️

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thank you, New Hanover County

As we end this short work week to take a moment and share what each of us individually are thankful for tomorrow with family and friends, we would like to take a moment ourselves to share with you how thankful we are to have received New Hanover County's support with and contribution to GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter. Pictured here are Kate Oelslager (left) and Lauren McConville (right), both Communications and Outreach Coordinators with our local county government, holding not only the county office's own archival copy of GROW, but the I Stand in Solidarity Because... card that their team provided for each vinyl GROW record, allowing you as the listener to express your own solidarity with our project and efforts to help ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination in our community. We recommend each of you take a moment to write-in how you Stand in Solidarity on your personal card, if not to share with others, at least to express and document your own feelings as they are right now, this year. We hope New Hanover County's I Stand in Solidarity Because card serves as a welcomed outlet for each of you. Additionally, THANK YOU dearly for your support with GROW. Be well, and enjoy your holiday weekend. ~ Fort Lowell Records 💛🧡❤️💖

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Satellite Bar & Lounge Holiday Market - Saturday, November 21 - 10:00am-4:00pm

Wilmington NC: We can't wait for this coming Saturday, November 21st, as Fort Lowell Records will be at Satellite Bar & Lounge from 10:00am-4:00pm on Greenfield Street in the South Front District for their annual Holiday Market. We will be selling GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter vinyl records at the market, alongside all of these amazing local vendors: Ruben Ricks Handmade Wooden Toys, Home Body Field Goods, Jess James + Co. Vintage, HEXED, Crewel Ghoul, Fig.7 Jewelry, Lincoln Morris Pottery, Whistlepig Workshop, Liz Stanley Family Artisans, Ravenworks Studio, The Charm School Dropout, Foxhound Flowers, The Plant Outpost, Moonset Drifters, Beauty and Bloom Salon, Block Taco, Donut Bus, and Spill Coffee Co.. Stop by to do some holiday shopping, and pick up a lil' something or two (or three) for yourself!

Remember, 100% of the sale from our record GROW will be donated to the North Carolina New Hanover County NAACP to help ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination in our community. We are asking for a minimum donation of $30.00 per vinyl record.

Read the 'repost' below to learn about what all of the vendors + Satellite are doing additionally to help our North Carolina neighbors, ...and then purchase your Raffle Tickets today!

• • • • • •

[Repost from Satellite Bar & Lounge]:

We’re so excited about our HOLIDAY RAFFLE & MARKET ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21st! Swipe to see some of our incredible raffle prizes~$5 per ticket. If you’d like to purchase a few in advance, please PayPal -- satellite.lounge@gmail.com -- & DM us as well. Proceeds will go to NourishNC and they need us now more than ever.❤️

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Happy Birthday, Joel Finsel of Third Person Project

Before the day is over, please allow us the opportunity to introduce you to our friend, American Author -- Joel Finsel -- pictured here holding his own personal beautiful Teal Green copy of GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter. Joel is one of the leaders with Third Person Project, the group of students and professionals who have been archiving The Daily Record: the Black owned newspaper that was burnt down in 1898 during the Wilmington Massacre. Their organization rescues any remains of the paper they can find by partnering with UNC to digitize the paper, ensuring its preservation for countless years ahead. Third Person Project is utilizing the GROW album to provide patrons of the vinyl record with a print-out of the earliest version of the paper -- Volume 2, from 1895, when the paper was called "The Wilmington Record" (before it was a 'daily' publication) -- to enjoy while listening to the various music from Cape Fear. You can actually read the news from 1895 while you are listening to new music of today. We cannot thank Joel enough for his contributions to GROW. But in an attempt to do so, we wanted to take a moment this evening to celebrate Joel on his special day, so...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOEL!

Tonight, November 15th at Bottega in Wilmington, North Carolina

Happy Birthday to Shaun Paul Jones of Kicking Bird from Wilmington NC