Photo Credit: Jodi Cash
Though Athens’ music scene is full of talented players, many local bands don’t tour much. Touring can be a financial gamble, of course; in a town where many musicians are struggling to get by, work and other life commitments can make it unfeasible to book shows in locations that are further than a weekend’s drive away.
Led by Gresham Cash on vocals and guitar, Oak House is a relatively new Athens outfit that is ready to roll the dice and hit the road despite the odds. Although the group has already ventured to New York for a handful of performances, the band’s upcoming tour of the east coast with comrades Tedo Stone is its first fully-fledged run in support of Plastique Cash, Oak House’s impressive debut, inspired by avant-arena-rock acts like Radiohead and Arcade Fire.
Oak House’s first tour coincides with a change in the band’s lineup. Cash says founding member Slade Adams “had to move on to his calling as a Hungarian violin instructor,” and that the group will continue on as a three-piece for the time being, with Connor Sabula on bass and Wes Gregory on drums.
“I don’t think we have lost any intensity or mood in our live show,” says Cash, noting that the band’s touring setlists will pull from 20 or so new songs that may wind up on the group’s sophomore release. (Cash says these newly written songs “will surely sound more representative of the current three-piece.”)
Athenians will get the chance to hear some of this new material at Oak House’s unofficial tour kickoff show on the Georgia Theatre rooftop Aug. 31. Although Cash confesses that Adams’ departure “does make some songs [from Plastique Cash] difficult to perform” live, he remains confident that the band’s sound won’t be jeopardized.
Crafting that sound—an eclectic approach to pop music—was more than a little bit intentional. “I do not feel moved by pop, but I do appreciate many things about [it],” says Cash. Discussing his wide-ranging influences, Cash emphasizes that he likes “pretty music” as much as he appreciates “a good James Brown or Robert Plant scream.”
Although the singer’s voice at times channels Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Cash says his main focus is in “a beautiful melody, and [using] my voice as a part of the song, rather than the driving force of the song.” Cash adds that his “songwriting style generally depends more on an attempt to make [listeners] feel something through the music, rather than telling [them] what to feel in the words.”
Cash looks forward to what the upcoming tour has in store for Oak House. “When it comes down to it, I love to perform music live,” Cash says. “I hope that people enjoy watching me and my band. I hope they enjoy the music, and that it compels them in one way or another. And if people want to buy it, then that’s great.”
WHO: Oak House, Tedo Stone
WHERE: Georgia Theatre Rooftop
WHEN: Monday, Aug. 31, 9 p.m.
HOW MUCH: FREE!