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Despite coming to the WERS studio at the end of a nearly two month long tour, Jukebox the Ghost was by no means lacking energy during their set. The indie-pop band, known for their dynamic and peppy live performances, and cheerful instrumentals, played 3 songs off of their third and latest album, Safe Travels. The album is the most polished of their work yet, featuring clean guitar riffs, a well-portioned amount of reverb, and snappy drum beats. In the studio, the three band members, Ben Thornewill, Tommy Siegel, and Jesse Kristin stripped their sound down to its acoustic bones. Siegel, normally equipped with an electric guitar on the album and at shows, made a switch to an acoustic, while Thornewill took up his post at the studio’s Baby Grand. Kristin cut down his drum kit too – on their first song, “Somebody” a single from Safe Travels, his performance was simplified with a shaker in one hand and a tambourine on his lap.
A wonderful surprise for fans of the band was the commentary Jukebox the Ghost released accompanying Safe Travels. Each song has around 50 seconds of commentary from either Tommy Siegel or Ben Thornewill on the inspiration for each particular song. “Somebody” was inspired by an image Thornewill saw in the spring of 2011: a woman looking wistfully over a man’s shoulder into the sky. Thornewill states that he “carried the image around with him” for some time and it made him contemplate the fact that at the core “we all want somebody and need someone and crave someone to come home to.”
After that wonderfully layered introduction to Jukebox the Ghost’s music, WERS listeners also heard “Oh, Emily” another track off of Safe Travels and another single. While Ben Thornewill took lead vocals on “Somebody”, “Oh, Emily” saw Tommy Siegel’s youthful voice take the reigns here with what he dubs as an “upbeat breakup song.”
During the break, the band spoke about public radio and WERS specifically. Kristin is a Boston local and insists that when the band comes to town, they really do listen in. In regards to public radio in general, all three were very adamant that it plays a big role in their career as an independent band. “[Public radios are] the only ones that play us!” Thornewill commented, “We’re not a Top 40 band. Because if they play us on Top 40 then Britney Spears gets kicked off and people will get mad.”
The last song Jukebox the Ghost performed was ”Don’t Let Me Fall Behind” finishing off their set comprised of all singles from Safe Travels. Thornewill added afterwards that the band really wanted to promote their last night of the tour at Brighton Music Hall in Allston, so they went with recognizable material. The band has been doing extremely well on tour, selling out all the big cities – or at least coming close to it. This show at Brighton is actually the second of two Boston shows – the first also occurred at Brighton a week prior, and was sold out a longer period of time beforehand than any show they had ever performed.
After this grand finale, the band will be working on a little video project they proposed at the beginning of their tour in February. Hoping to create a video collage, the band solicited submissions from fans that could range from clips of concerts they’ve attended, to singing along with friends to visiting the merchandise table. “Hopefully we’ll get enough submissions,” Siegel commented. Humble, considering the band has an incredibly loyal fan base, due to their connection with their audience. Accessible on numerous social media sites, the band is always willing to talk to fans and create relationships with them.
In addition, they’ve connected with many people young and old due to their style, “Something we believe in as a band and as independent song writers is marrying pop music with lyrics of greater depth and meaning,” added Thornewill, “And giving a song hopefully some more maturity and depth – that there’s more to it than meets the ear.” Combined with their approachable nature, this is what has brought them respect and admiration from fans around the country, and what will hopefully inspire them as they look to the future.