From The Cedar Box: Alec K. Redfearn

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From The Cedar Box
Alex K. Redfearn
Written by Marissa Nadler

I met Alec K. Redfearn when I was studying painting at the Rhode Island School Of Design 13 years ago. I'd go out at night to play open mics at the little bars in town, drinking too much and trying to get over my stage fright. A lot of these great bars like the Custom House Tavern and the OLD Met Cafe are now gone, replaced with shiny glass and boutiques showcasing $70 coffee mugs. Thankfully, the West Side of Providence still retains much of it's charm. Many other neighborhoods as well remain untouched by the brushes of commercialism. 

I stumbled upon the maniacally creative Alec K Redfearn one night downstairs at the Trinity Brewhouse in 1999, multiple televisions blaring the Red Sox game in the background. He was playing "Bird on the Wire" on his accordion.  He was just sitting there on a chair with one microphone on a boom stand. Those ivories sang like a gothic, noir orchestra from outer space. Redfearn's originals are amazing, but because I had at the time been obsessed with Leonard Cohen, his cover song deeply resonated with me.  Alec had the chiseled cheek bones of the Picasso Blue period painting "The Old Guitarist." He wasn't old, though. He just cut an equally fragile, sad, and beautiful visage of creative energy. This image is deeply ingrained in my mind. He is one of the most talented musicians I have ever known. 

Redfearn's own material is deeply inventive and eclectic. He has played in many different bands over the years in Providence. His most active project is called Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores. I believe he has been, for the past 30 years, working around Providence as a full time musician, artist, and lifer. The project I am most interesting in turning people onto is Alec K Redfearn and the Eyesores. This music is definitely not for everyone. But, If you can appreciate extreme guts, grit, pain, wild imagination, and inventive melodies,  then you will like this music. I cannot think of a genre tag to describe this. Genres do nothing but pigeonhole artists anyway. 

Providence and surrounding areas have produced a ton of great bands, including Lighting Bolt, Arab On Radar, Les Savy Fav, Thowing Muses (newport), Belly, The Talking Heads (kind of). I have always considered Providence more my hometown than Boston because I spent ten years living there, played my first gigs there, and recorded my first record there. Nevertheless, living in this epicenter of cultural and musical diversity are a lot of musicians that I feel deserve more attention. ( I know one could say that about any town but I'm talking about Providence exclusively at this time).  If I had my way, Alec K. Redfearn and The Eyesores would be a household name (at least for those who like eclectic bizarre music). Throughout the many years that I have been on the road, I have seen many bands. I do not intend on ever putting anyone down in a negative way in this column. So, let's just move on by saying that I have had some head scratching moments when seeing certain musicians rise to fame, certain musicians wallow in obscurity, and other die tragic deaths due to the hard living touring seems to go hand in hand with.  Everyone knows the music industry is a hard pill to swallow. 

During this same time I have watched many of my dearest friends struggling but sticking to their guns, and making music that not enough people here. So, I hope by turning you onto some new music, it will at least help them. And you might enjoy it too.

The reason that I have started my monthly column with Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores is that they are doing a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for their new record. They have very little time left. They are not close to reaching their goal at the moment and need all the help they can get. Every little bit helps. If you are having a hard time like so many of us economically, at least go check out their music. I think this video should also make you laugh. Alec is hilarious, and as dark as fuck. We make a lot of my videos together and it's an artist community, not a corporation, that we have built.

FROM THE CEDAR BOX is a monthly column featuring independent bands/artists as picked by singer/songwriter Marissa Nadler.  

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