Come Together: Papadosio Returns to Cleveland

Music is a power unlike any other. Forms of artistic expression, as varied as the moments in a day, bear with them an ability to change society and to change the way we think as one. The guys in Papadosio - Ohio natives via the creative playground  of Athens and Ohio University - would say that music can put an end to the sense of isolation we’ve imposed on ourselves.

Thankfully, the band chose to spread that message by way of an incredible, sprawling double-disc album released last year. T.E.T.I.O.S. - To End The Illusion of Separation - is a masterwork culled from the experiences of a band that cut its teeth performing improvisational electronic music our fair state.

“It’s just such a culmination of our lives as musicians and as a band together,” drummer Mike Healy tells Scene. “It ranges from every different kind of music - you can find an influence everywhere.” Typically roped into the jam band genre - and not without cause - Papadosio boasts a slick, psychedelic brew of electronic music. Imagine the visuals and the near-infinite layers of biology found throughout a boreal forest, converted to sprawling, improvisational, hi-def audio. The band’s music is more readily described as an ecosystem.

With a Nov. 30 gig set for the House of Blues downtown, Papadosio is eyeing the end to another successful - and busier-than-all-hell - year on the road.

The band - Robert McConnell (bass), Billy Brouse (keys/vocals), Sam Brouse (keys/vocals), Anthony Thogmartin (guitar/keys/vocals) and Healy - now calls Asheville, N.C., home. But they still seem to hail primarily from the highways and storied concert halls of the county writ large. “Constantly touring, constantly in and out of our home,” Healy says.

Familiar with the summer festie circuit, including their own Rootwire Music and Arts Festival, they fill out robust tour schedules seemingly every season. More so than geography, though, is how far the band has come musically. And there’s plenty to dissect on T.E.T.I.O.S.

For instance, what might be known as the Bionic Man Suite on the album encompasses a galaxy of emotions and moods. Rounding out a healthy portion of the album’s first disc, this seven-song constellation reels in road-tested classics like “Method of Control” and places them within a tidal pool of new tunes like “Puddles for Oceans.” Everything contained within is top-notch playing. The layering throughout the album demonstrates how meticulously each band members works in crafting his music. That’s been a trait of the band from the beginning, back when the guys met one another in Athens, Ohio.

“There was a weekly jam session at Jackie O’s - it used to be called O’Hooley’s - in 2005 and 2006. We were regulars every Tuesday for the open jam,” Healy says. “It was a really easy way to meet other musicians in town. There was always a packed house of people.”

The fall of 2007 saw the release of the band’s debut album, Margreenery. The music they wrote and performed at that time became an Athens institution, leading to late-night chill sessions in apartment living rooms and dorms across the city for years. And as the band found success among the cultural exploration of Ohio University and the foothills of Appalachia, they broadened their horizons and began to tour the state and region.

“Those early days fueled a lot of creativity and exploration in learning how to play music with other people on the spot. We learned so much about ourselves as musicians and how to communication and talk to one another through music,” Healy says.

Whether via the brick-lined streets of Athens or the dedicated fanbase that trekked alongside them to shows, the band has always maintained a firm commitment to the people who have tuned in. Those shows at OU in the early days - at places like the Blue Gator and Jackie O’s - were touchstone experiences for both the band and the fans. Those live shows inevitably spawned the Margreenery material and fed an appetite for delicate production values.

Along the way there has been considerable growth - T.E.T.I.O.S. may be rightfully described as a full-grown, rather mature album - and the seeds of everything the band has done can be found tucked among the early recordings on Margreenery. The frenetic stylings of the title track, for instance, foreshadow fervent groundswells in later tunes like “Garden.”

Healy says big plans are in the works for the year ahead, including many festival appearances, a massive tour, and mayhaps a series of recording sessions. They’ve already got a few new tunes showing up in setlists. Check ‘em out this weekend at HOB.

About The Author

Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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