2018-08-31 / Community

All aboard

SMCC professor, traveler releases next album in series named after Europen rail stations
By Abigail Worthing
Staff Writer

Chad Walls, right, and band mate Mac Coldwell share coffee and stories about their band, An Overnight Low, which just began recording a new album, titled “Connolly,” about Walls’ travels in Ireland. (Abigail Worthing photo) Chad Walls, right, and band mate Mac Coldwell share coffee and stories about their band, An Overnight Low, which just began recording a new album, titled “Connolly,” about Walls’ travels in Ireland. (Abigail Worthing photo) BIDDEFORD – Listening to An Overnight Low could be likened to reading a travel journal. With songs that feature the transient nature of living life in a foreign country, the band is back again to tell stories of a life travelled by train. Chad Walls, songwriter and bass player for An Overnight Low, has used his time abroad to inspire a collection of songs that will be expanded with new album “Connolly,” which started the recording process on Aug. 17 at Halo Studio in Portland.

Following what was originally intended to be a trilogy of albums based on Walls’ travels through the United Kingdom while pursuing his doctorate at the University of Manchester, comes “Connolly,” which is focused on his time in Ireland. Connolly follows the tradition set by the first three albums, “Euston” and “Piccadilly,” named for train stations in England and “Waverely,” named for a station in Scotland.

“As I would travel back and forth between England and Scotland, a lot of my conversations were people asking me about my thoughts about the differences between cultures,” said Walls, a Biddeford native and professor at Southern Maine Community College. “With this new album, I’m focusing on what it was like to live in Ireland.”

An Overnight Low was voted “Best Rock Act” by the Portland Phoenix for 2017 and has received much attention overseas in England. When Walls started working with a new publicist, Pete Murphy of Dublin, Ireland, he was told it would be easier to publicize his music in Ireland with songs about Ireland. This spurred Walls forward into the new album, adding to An Overnight Low’s discography with stories about the people and places that made an impression on him.

The band will start by recording the basic tracks for the first three songs on the album. The songs are still in the working phase, changing and evolving as the band practices. As studio time is expensive, the band will record the album in phases, starting with laying down the backing.

“For some bands, they have the money to record for long periods of time, so they can take breaks and try a lot of different things,” Walls said. “We have to be careful with our time and we have to work hard to make sure we don’t get burned out while we record. We’re taking our time and spacing out recording with this record to try and make sure we’re ready to record.”

The first album released by An Overnight Low, “Euston,” was funded by Walls, and the band has since been rolling over profits from one album into the next to keep the momentum going. An Overnight Low has never crowdfunded an album, but has considered a fundraising campaign for the future to help attain widespread attention for the newest album.

Members of An Overnight Low take inspiration from the bands they grew up with, with the stylings of the Beatles and 1950’s doo-wop playing into the music. An Overnight Low also features four-part vocal harmony, giving a twist to mainstream music.

“We love harmony and it’s not common anymore,” said band vocalist Mac Coldwell of Old Orchard Beach. “It’s not something you hear a lot of, but we work hard to make it sound really good.”

“You emulate what you grew up with,” Walls said. “We play guitar-driven rock. We send out our music to people like bloggers and we get responses from people saying, ‘I like it, but I don’t know what to do with it.’ We have an older sound.”

Although the music is inspired by Ireland, the songs are not inspired by Irish music.

“I just wouldn’t know how to incorporate it without it sounding, I don’t know, inauthentic? I don’t want to sound shtick-y. I do hope to put some strings in for some of the songs though,” Walls said.

Following a similar format to previous albums, “Connolly” is anticipated to have between eight and 10 songs, with the songs running two to three minutes each. Around Christmas, Walls plans to visit Ireland and play the three completed songs to Murphy and do interviews with local radio stations to garner media attention prior to the of now unscheduled release of the album. Walls has done media tours in England for previous albums and hopes to one day have band members accompany him on tours, which has been cost-prohibitive in the past. British radio stations have given songs from previous albums air time, a trend Walls hopes will continue with the new album.

“Of course I wish we got the same attention here, but it’s nice to know that someone out there is listening to what we’re putting out,” Walls said.

An Overnight Low plays locally with a six-person band, but it is difficult to find venues with adequate space to accommodate them. The band is also affected by the cover-driven market in southern Maine, where venues book bands that play music that people know.

“We’ve tried to do covers before, but we don’t agree on what we would play,” Walls said.

“I’ve tried to suggest the Beach Boys, but we can’t all come together to find something we all like,” Coldwell added.

“You know, it would be easy to play covers and book gigs, but we’re not exactly young, you know?” said Walls said, 46. “Who knows how much longer we’re going to be able to do this. I’d rather go out playing our own stuff.”

An Overnight Low will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28 at Elements on Main Street in Biddeford. Albums can be purchased on Amazon and other vendors, listed on An Overnight Low’s website, www.anovernightlow.com and is also available on Spotify.

Contact Staff Writer Abigail Worthing at news@inthecourier.com.


Learn more about Chad Walls and An Overnight Low at www.anovernightlow.com. Find information about albums and upcoming performance dates.

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