Oddly enough, before The Lazy Suns formed in December 2010, Marc Clayton and Jeff Sohn had never met.
Both have built reputations on the local roots music scene — Sohn as bassist for the Coal Palace Kings, Clayton more recently with The Tern Rounders. As such, they’ve been in and out of bands with the other members of The Lazy Suns — slide guitarist Rick Morse (also formerly of Tern Rounders), lead guitarist Larry Winchester and drummer Brad Jarvis — but had never met before.
“It’s like the same circle, but we never bumped into each other,” Clayton said recently, with Sohn and Morse at a coffee shop in Saratoga Springs.
“It’s kind of weird in that way, it does happen,” Sohn added. “It happens more often than I want to admit to.”
It took Craigslist to bring the two musicians and songwriters together. After realizing they were in the same circle of musicians and friends, and that both also shared a love for roots rock, country and The Beatles, it became immediately clear that the combination would work.
The Lazy Suns
with The Ed Jahn Project
When: 8 tonight
Where: Putnam Den, 63A Putnam St., Saratoga Springs
How Much: Free
More Info: 584-8066, www.putnamden.com
All just friends
“If you equated the band to like a breed of a dog, we’d be a mutt,” Clayton said. “You know, it’s like a cross-breed, everybody kind of playing with each other. Brad Jarvis, our drummer, he and I play in a Beatles tribute band together. [We’re] just all friends, kind of in the same social networks, musically. The refreshing thing was, there was kind of instant chemistry — like a natural fit — and that just makes it easy to just press on.”
Winchester, who played with Morse in The Double Knots and in Coal Palace Kings alongside Sohn and Morse, was the latest addition to the fold. With a full lineup secured, the band has been quickly evolving beyond its members’ past projects, crafting a sound that remains rooted in the alternative country scene while branching further into rock and pop influences.
In its short existence, the group has already landed a handful of higher-profile shows, including a gig at the Ale House in Troy in December and a bimonthly show at the Hudson River Music Hall in Hudson Falls. They play next at the Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs tonight, with the Ed Jahn Project.
“Everybody who [we] knew that has seen us play has thought, how kick-ass the band is,” Sohn said of the group’s live shows. “And I think from the old, from my side, and this is also the Larry and Rick side, although Rick played with Marc for a while — I think people were happy to see us playing together again. And there’s a lot of reminders, whether we’re playing an old Tern Rounders song or an old Coal Palace Kings song, that there’s a familiarity, yet it’s a different group of people.”
Despite playing material from Clayton and Sohn’s respective back catalogs, the band has been focusing on new songs — the band has been hard at work recording and plans to have a self-recorded and released EP out by spring, with a full length album to follow. When the band first started, the focus was on songs that Clayton had written before, but hadn’t played with Tern Rounders.
“We got together in December and we were going to play our first gig in February, so we totally crammed for our first gig and learned all these covers,” Sohn said.
Chance to step back
“And then we never did the gig until April, or something like that. . . . It got snowed out. So I think the other thing that happened at that time, we had a chance to — and I don’t think I’m overexaggerating this — but during that little break between what would have been our February gig and April, we had a chance to step back a little bit, and I think we started in a whole different group of songs, and a lot of originals started to come out.”
Now, Clayton and Sohn share the bulk of the songwriting duties, though every member of the band writes their own parts and contributes to arrangements.
“Every member in the band has their own diversity, so [Winchester] brings an edge to anything that’s written,” Clayton said. “And you have him and Rick, who are both the lead instruments, so they — each song will kind of have it’s own thing with Larry’s parts and Rick’s parts, and it’s a great dynamic. And it just makes it fun, because you write something — what are these guys gonna do on it?”