Tom Schraeder & His Ego was stuck on the tarmac at LAX as I was setting up for their live session in Chicago. I’d never seen Tom Schraeder perform, but had heard plenty of buzz around Chicago music circles and was excited to see and hear firsthand. Knowing the dependability of both LAX and O’Hare airports I knew that, at best, they’d be late arriving and, most likely, would never show up.‚ Luckily fate intervened, the flight took off and landed, and the band rolled in around 8:15pm.
Tom was geared up be back in Chicago after his Hotel Cafƒ©‚ performance in Los Angeles.‚ Bandmate Dan Moulder (on keys) brought in his monster Fender Rhodes and a Roland synth and the rest of the band used most of my backline equipment. After a warm up song and High Life later, we were tracking.‚ Here’s a snapshot of each song:
- The group opened with “Needle Will Bite,” the single from Tom’s new album, Lying Through Dinner, which was recorded earlier this year with HearYa live session alum, Danny Malone down in Austin, Texas.
- Next up was “Guadalupe Cries,” a song that blends Ryan Adams & The Cardinals with Wilco circa AM.‚ Matt Schuessler (Bass) and Adam Kaltenhauser (Drums) locked in a solid groove and the band seemed to really catch their stride.
- “Which Excludes You” was my favorite of the session.‚ I loved the instrumental textures and sunny arrangement.
- From there, the band dialed it back and asked me to adjust the lights in the live room.‚ In a dimly lit room, Tom delivered a great rendition of a smoky, dark tune called “When You Were Young.”‚ Dan’s Rhodes parts sit in there just right, leaving plenty of room for Tom’s vocals and sparse acoustic strums to dictate the mood.‚ The highlights of the tune are guitarist, Henry Bianco’s lead breaks.‚ His tasty use of volume swells add the perfect seasoning on top of this track.‚ At the climax of the song he lets it rip with a beautiful melody into the change.‚ Nice tone, Henry.
- Finally, Tom closed things out with an unreleased solo acoustic track called, “Another Night In NY.” It’s a beautiful tune that really showcases Toms’s vocal control and lyrical abilities.‚ My only complaint about the recording of this track is that I forgot to tell the rest of the band to turn their amps off.‚ You can hear a sweet steady buzz of guitar amps and a stomp box pulling in some FM radio signal underneath the entire song. Oh well, it’s always something when recording live sessions…
I’m glad this session happened the day it did.‚ The band was late and I missed a BBQ with my wife and friends, but I got the chance to record some great music, made some new friends and got reacquainted with some old ones.
You can see TomSchraeder & His Ego perform at Schubas this Saturday, Nov. 15th for their official Chicago Lying Through Dinner CD Release party. I look forward to hearing the band live on stage this weekend.
Exclusive: Tom Schraeder and His Ego – When You Were Young (previously unreleased)
Exclusive: Tom Schraeder and His Ego – Another Night In NY (previously unreleased)