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In Music

Tyler Traband onstage at Chicago's Elbo Room in April.

Tyler Traband issues "Re-issue" EP


Local musician Tyler Traband has been a mainstay on the scene for years now. And given that music is his full-time, bills-paying gig, it's little surprise that when he releases a disc he considers no-frills, it's still slicker and better produced than most of what is released locally.

Traband, a pianist, songwriter, singer and band leader, recently released "Re-issue," a five-song EP, recorded with his band of long-time cohorts and co-produced with Ambrosia's Joe Puerta at The Exchange.

"We really tried to capture a live band vibe this time," says Traband. "'Re-issue' is not over-produced and slick; real instruments, and real musicians, doing what they do best ... playing. (There were) minimal overdubs -- just a few takes."

The result is a melodic, traditional rock / pop disc that focuses on the songs instead of gimmicks and is build on solid musicianship. The vibe is airy and loose, but the tracks are tight and the production, while maybe not slick, is definitely professional and deftly arranged.

The name, Traband says, derives from the fact that these songs may be familiar to fans.

"It is called 'Re-issue' because the songs have all been recorded before, but these are all new recordings," he notes. "Our producer picked what he felt were the best of the best ... it just happened to be songs that had been recorded before. As you can guess, this whole thing turned out different than expected, but they all sounded great, so we decided to release it."

For the project, Traband drew on the talents of bassist Geoff Howard, drummer Tim Rush, saxophonist Jon Anderson, singer Char Fiore and guitarists Kirk Tatnall and John Simons.

Traband says the approach was satisfying.

"We had a hell of a lot of fun, and I think we captured the feel we were after. This is how we actually play. Originally, we were going to have it mixed in L.A. with a big-name dude, but, sadly, that didn't work out. These songs have all been recorded before, and some were written years ago. 'Reunion' is kind of our signature tune live, and it was actually very cool to record it again. This time it was so easy!"

One track, "She's A Woman," was recorded live on WMSE with the station's engineer Billy Cicerelli.

Traband -- who has been nominated for 17 WAMI awards -- has released five discs across his long career. The most recent one was 2005's nine-track "Leftovers from South 2nd Street," which Puerta produced.

In addition to his band, Traband makes a living writing, performing and recording music for commercials and films. His work has appeared in more than 350 commercials and six independent films.

"My day job is writing music," he says. "That is how I pay the bills. I haven't had a day job for years. It is always a challenge, and always stretches my creative side. These days, it's not just coming up with the parts, but also dealing with the technology."

The equipment required for that work also helps Traband fuel his original recordings and songwriting, he says.

"It is so fantastic having a complete digital studio and keyboard museum at home, and I'm able to rock out ideas as soon as they come," he says.

"Being 'under the gun' so to speak, having deadlines, really streamlines my approach to writing, and has helped me to focus in my own songwriting, as well."


Talkbacks

Burst | May 16, 2008 at 11:15 a.m. (report)

Anybody making a full-time living in the music industry in Milwaukee deserves kudos... and Tyler is one of the few genuinely good guys. Congrats on your new project and much success!

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IronMan | May 16, 2008 at 8:53 a.m. (report)

I've had the pleasure of sharing a stage with Tyler and I have seen him grow into a strong songwriter, brilliant pianist, and great front man. It's nice to see someone who's been a steady working musician in Milwaukee get a little recognition. Probably one of the city's best kept secrets. Good luck with the new CD and congrats.

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