Tom Schraeder has a way of stretching things to their limits. Missing his flight home turned a 3-day trek to SXSW 2008 into a 6-week tour of the couches, floors, and even homeless shelters of Austin. With little concern for the trappings of a comfortable life, the stories flowed freely from his fingertips and something remarkable began to take shape: the unplanned sabbatical prompted Schraeder's finest work yet. Lying Through Dinner is a stark, honest, and achingly pure follow-up to 2007's critically-lauded The Door, the Gutter, the Grave. Entirely written, arranged, recorded, mixed, and mastered over the course of the 23-year-old Chicagoan's stay in Texas, Schraeder assembled a ragtag band of local musicians to help give a beautifully messy birth to the mangy honky-tonk swagger that had beaten around his head for much of 2007.
"It's clichéd, but everything really does happen for a reason," Schraeder opines. "I couldn't tell you what pulled me to stay in Austin with two changes of clothes, a guitar, and nowhere to sleep." It may not have been a vacation, but the spontaneity of the situation kept the young tunesmith relaxed. "Something about the vagabond nature of the experience made this project happen with ease. We went from demo to mastered record in three weeks."
Lying is the loosely confident reinvention of a young songwriter who's unafraid to swirl caustic stories and atmospheric melody with a precocious, hollerin' devotion to early rock 'n' roll. Part moody, harmonic folk-pop and part raw, heady, rollicking stomp 'n' roll, it's 17 minutes of barroom piano, buzzing Telecasters, marching bands, barking dogs, clinking glasses, textured profanity, and Schraeder's dramatically maturing voice. To say that he's poised to fulfill the promise of an artist dubbed "One to watch in 2008" by the Onion A.V. Club, "earnest" and "ambitious" by CMJ, and touted as combining "sophisticated melodies and arrangements and surprisingly insightful and world-weary lyrics" by the Chicago Sun-Times' notoriously tough critic Jim DeRogatis is an understatement. Full of challenging melodies, foot-stomping singalongs, and the innate warmth of the analog tape used exclusively in the recording process, Lying Through Dinner found Tom Schraeder stretching the boundaries once again.
released October 7, 2009
Danny Malone - Drums, Piano, Bass, Piano,
Daniel Wilcox - Electric Guitar
Heidi Johnson - Horns, Vox
Tosh - Dog Barks
Produced by Danny Malone
Engineered, Mixed, Matthew Smith at Hot Tracks!!! in Austin, Tx.