Southern Rock with Maradeen at Aisle 5

Aisle 5 in Little Five Points was the place to be for some good old southern rock on Saturday night with Maradeen.  Maradeen is a Nashville-based rock ‘n’ roll quintet that describes it’s music as flavors of blues, Southern rock, Americana, and jazz improvisation.  At first I wondered how jazz improvisation could possibly find it’s way into Southern rock but then I heard how Maradeen created fresh melodies over their song’s cords.  THAT jazz like improvisation is what makes for a great live show.  Maradeen took all of the detail and magic of there studio recordings and made them even better by freely transforming the music based on the moment and the energy of the crowd.

Maradeen’s set started with “Always Want What I Can’t Have” from their debut EP Mirage.  The set ended with “Restless” also from their debut album.  Sandwiched between these two songs was nothing but pure rock and roll with a southern twist.  Songs like “Livin’ for the Weekend” and “Deal with the Devil” show the band’s diversity.  “Livin’ for the Weekend” is a fun very danceable song while “Deal with the Devil” is a gritty blues rock song.  It’s always great to hear a band make a live experience a uniquely memorable one.

Maradeen’s improvisational style gave Maradeen and the crowd at Aisle 5 a unique experience as we enjoyed tunes from Mirage and Maradeen’s second album, Above the Horizon.   You can learn more about Above the Horizon, in our review here.

Q&A with Kaitlyn Connor of Maradeen

Before the show at Aisle 5 I had a chance to talk with Maradeen’s keyboard player and vocalist Kaitlyn Connor.

Where did you learn to play piano?

Kaitlyn – I started playing piano when I was four years old.  My parents were really into classical music and got me started into piano lessons.  I grew up listening to and playing a  lot of Beethoven, Bach and other classical music.  When I was in High School I met a group of people that had a garage band and I would watch them play after school.  This went on until one of my friends said “Hey, you have been playing longer than all of us why don’t you come jam?”  I didn’t know how to do anything but read music so I was really nervous at first.  My friend, Chris, and I started on some Grateful Dead songs and some really other easy stuff.  I then got bit by the improv bug.  Until then I hadn’t realized that you could create something on the spot.

I had been playing music for so long but I didn’t REALLY learn how to play until that moment in  high school.

What’s in your touring piano rig?

Korg Khronos X, Nord C2D organ and a Sequential Prophet-6.

How did your music career get started?

Kaitlyn – In college I studied classical piano performance and performed a band call Afro which was a jazz fusion funk band.  We were jammin’ one night at a house party and there had to be at least 500 people there.  As I looked out on the crowd, I knew that music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

You have gone from classical, to jazz fusion to southern rock.  Is where you are now home or is there more to your musical journey?

Kaitlyn – I don’t really know.  There is so much going on with music, especially in Nashville.   I am always discovering new types of music.  Every day when I sit down to practice it is almost overwhelming.  There are so many things I want to learn and so many styles, I feel that my musical journey will never end.  I love playing rock and roll and playing before a crowd.  As long as my journey allows me to do that I’ll be happy.

Looking at your tour schedule, I see that you are making your way through the south and then a run up the coast through Philly, D.C., Connecticut and New York.  Do you see any differences in the crowds as you go from state to state?

Kaitlyn – Definitely!  We hit the southern market a lot.  People here are a lot more rowdy. They like to dance, get drunk and head bang.  I noticed up north, especially in places with a lot of musicians like New York City, people like to stand watch.  In the south we are use to getting a lot of energy from the crowd while up north it takes a few songs for us to get them warmed up.  Up north it’s inviting in that people are often out to hear us because it’s not what they would typically hear.

Maradeen released Mirage in 2015 and Above the Horizon in 2016.  Shall we see another EP in 2017?

Kaitlyn – When we originally formed the band we set a goal to put out an album a year.  We have seen that many of the songs from Above the Horizon are still coming into themselves and evolving here on tour.  I believe that the goal of the year may be a live album.  Stay tuned to find out.

In that year between Mirage and Above the Horizon how did the band change between those two studio experiences?

Kaitlyn – When we put out Mirage we had only been a band for about 8 months.  Each of us had lots of experience in other bands and some of us had known each other for 6 or 7 years.  It still took us a while to find our sound.  This is something we are still working on.  One thing we talked about before we did Above the Horizon was that some bands have a lot of different styles of songs but have one collective sound.  We wanted any song that someone heard from the album to sound like “Maradeen.”

What are your thoughts on how music can be used for social change or to impact your audience in their daily lives?

Music is always something that makes me feel better when I’m frustrated.  I have been listening to a lot more music than usual with all that has been going on the past few weeks.  Music should be a platform to lend people an escape when they need one.  Hopefully our music can be a fun distraction during trying times.

Q&A with Maradeen

What was the first album that you added to your personal music library?
Kaitlyn Connor: The Beatles Abbey Road.  I don’t remember my parents listening to much music around the house while I was growing up except classical music, but they were both huge Beatles fans and this was the first album my dad ever gave me.
Whit Murray- Lead Guitar/vocals : NIrvana – Nevermind
John Rodrigue- Drums: Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits– When I was around 7 years old, my parents had their vinyl collection stashed in the closet of the living room of our house. We didn’t have a working turntable, but I remember I used to love to look at the cover art and read the liner notes and put faces to the people I heard on the Baton Rouge rock station my dad would always play. I remember flipping through one day and there was Love It to Death by Alice Cooper and I immediately wanted to play an instrument and have long hair. My mom had Columbia House and I asked her to order me some Alice Cooper. Remember, they would only have a selected discography of each artist and Greatest Hits was one of the few they offered.
Thomas Galloway- Rhythm Guitar/Vocals: Presidents of the United States of America self-titled album was my first purchased CD, however I was always borrowing my father’s albums.

What was your most recent addition to your personal music library?
K– Someone played Anderson .Paak Malibu and I had to get myself a copy.  It has a bit of a pop vibe but it reminds me of Outkast and other Atlanta hip-hop that I enjoyed in high school.
W– I just discovered Wu-Tang Clan and started by listening to Enter the Wu-Tang.
JLucero: Live from Atlanta. These guys are my favorite band around today. Everything about them from their music, lyrics and their work ethic is just awesome. I’ve been lucky to see them twice now and wanted a document of their live show.
THonky Tonk Heroes by Waylon Jennings

What was your first live music experience? Which venue and which artist(s)?
K-The Beach Boys at Chastain Park in Atlanta, GA when I was about 5 years old
W-The Who for their Quadrophenia Tour at Walnut Creek in my home town, Raleigh, NC.
J– It was the band of the guy my older brother was taking guitar lessons from called Mr. Mambo Matrix at the La Petit Theater in my hometown of Houma, LA. I don’t remember much about the show except for the fact that they had a song called “Life’s a Piece of Shit” (I was in 3rd grade) and my dad taking me and my brothers to McDonald’s afterward. Then in 5th grade, I was in school band and we went on a field trip to see the Louisiana Philharmonic at the Orpheum in New Orleans and when we got back to Houma, my parents picked me up and drove me back to New Orleans to see Kansas play. That was an amazing Saturday.
T– Widespread Panic NYE run 2001 at Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Ga

If you could cover one album in your music library which would it be?
K– Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy. I have this memory of my dad playing Led Zeppelin and thinking “This rocks so hard!”  I have always been drawn to rock music ever since.  This is an album with such a strong beginning and end that you don’t want to stop listening to once you start.  I’m a keyboard player and realize that there is no keyboard in Zeppelin but when I listen to it I ponder what I would add to what they are doing.
W-Talking Heads Stop Making Sense.
JDr. John: Desitively Bonnaroo just because I think it’d be so much fun.
TWorkingman’s Dead by The Grateful Dead or Sweetheart of the Rodeo by The Byrds.

What artist do you wish more people had in their music library?
K– Blitzen Trapper
W– George Harrison on All Things Must Pass.
J– The Band Music From Big Pink. This will be probably be my favorite album for as long as I’m on this earth. Seriously. I think the instruments they used on it should be in the Smithsonian and the Dylan painting for the cover should be hung in the Louvre. If somebody asked me to make them a soundtrack to America I would just give them this album. It should be right there with Kind of Blue and Sgt. Pepper as one of the most important albums ever made.
T– Vulfpeck

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