Taking their name from the English seaside town, Wells-next-the-Sea (Wells, to their friends) plays dusty Americana; alt-country layered with strings and raw harmonies; and the result is as much mood as craft. Painting from a musical palette somewhere between Son Volt and Neutral Milk Hotel, Wells’ folky approach to Midwestern pop has enough grit and swirl to seduce fans of both indie rock and alt-country.
Wells-next-the-Sea’s new EP Passenger Side is available now on Squirrel Trap Records.
Wells-next-the-Sea is a constantly evolving collective of musicians and songwriters. Chance encounters in the frozen foods aisle and at a going away party for a friend of a friend first brought the group together in 2009. Mike Medina, Dann Morr, Philip Robbins, and Sarah J Wille were a combination of new acquaintances and old friends; veteran sidemen to many Chicago artists and newcomers to the Windy City music scene. Their common interests in folk and roots music plus the enjoyment and challenge of learning to play new instruments inspired them to collaborate on a sound of their own. The result of this collaboration is Guest House, Wells-next-the-Sea’s debut album, released on Squirrel Trap Records on November 23, 2010.
After the release of Guest House, Philip relocated to Arizona and Dann assembled a group of talented musicians to translate the music from the studio to the stage. Over several months of performing together, a new incarnation of Wells-next-the-Sea returned to the studio to record the EP Passenger Side. This time around Dann Morr was joined on record by multi-instrumentalists Brennan Mackey and Danny Sherrard, New Zealand-born violinist Liz Barnett and drummer George Henner. On stage, Nat Waters handles drums and percussion and Keri Schroeder provides additional violin and vocals. Passenger Side was released on Squirrel Trap Records on April 24, 2012.
Members, alumni and collaborators
- Liz Barnett- vocals, songwriting, violin, and glockenspiel
- George Henner- drums
- Mike Medina- drums and percussion
- Brennan Mackey- vocals, songwriting, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, banjo, accordion, melodica, and ukulele
- Dann Morr- vocals, songwriting, bass, baritone, acoustic and electric guitars, piano, organ, glockenspiel, mandolin, and melodica
- Philip Robbins- vocals, songwriting, electric, acoustic and classical guitars, glockenspiel, and miscellaneous noise-making
- Brian Royer- recording/producing, keyboards, bass, guitar, and vocals
- Mark Ruggiero- drums and vocals
- Marcellus Salerni- electric guitar and bass
- Keri Schroeder- vocals and violin
- Danny Sherrard- vocals, songwriting, electric guitar, bass, and keyboard
- Jaime Vazquez- songwriting
- Cory Verblen- bass, electric guitar, vocals, and songwriting
- Sarah J Wille- vocals, songwriting, violin, electric piano, glockenspiel, and electric guitar
- Nat Waters- drums and percussion