Archive

ShareThis Page
Pittsburgh band The Gathering Field celebrates 20 years with new album | TribLIVE.com
General News

Pittsburgh band The Gathering Field celebrates 20 years with new album

Tribune-Review
| Wednesday, November 5, 2014 9:01 p.m.
PTRTKGATHERFIELD7110614
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Gathering Field musician John Burgh practices with the band on his farm in Harmony Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.
PTRTKGATHERFIELD6110614
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
The Gathering Field, shown practicing at the Burgh Farm in Harmony in 2014, will be among headliners at the Pittsburgh Blues and Festival on July 21 and 22 in Harmar.
PTRTKGATHERFIELD3110614
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Gathering Field drummer Ray Defade practices with the band Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.
PTRTKGATHERFIELD9110614
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Gathering Field musician Bill Deasy practices with the band at the Burgh Farm in Harmony Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.
PTRTKGATHERFIELD2110614
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Gathering Field guitarist Clark Slater practices with the band Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. In rear, is drummer Ray Defade.
PTRTKGATHERFIELD10110614
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Gathering Field musicians Dave Brown, left, and Eric Riebling practice with the band on the Burgh Farm in Harmony Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.
PTRTKGATHERFIELD15110614
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Gathering Field musician Bill Deasy practices with the band at the Burgh Farm in Harmony.
PTRTKGATHERFIELD4110614
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Gathering Field guitarist Clark Slater practices with the band Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.
PTRTKGATHERFIELD11110614
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Gathering Field drummer Ray Defade practices with the band at the Burgh Farm in Harmony Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.
PTRTKGATHERFIELD12110614
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Gathering Field musician John Burgh practices with the band Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 on his Harmony farm.
PTRTKGATHERFIELD1110614
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Gathering Field musicians from left, Dave Brown, Eric Riebling, Ray Defade, and Clark Slater (Bill Deasy and John Burgh not shown) practice at the Burgh farm in Harmony Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.

A 20th anniversary of an endeavor is a milestone.

For a rock band, it’s even more impressive given many musicians’ fragile egos and territorial inclinations.

Bill Deasy, the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for the Gathering Field — founded in 1994 — isn’t quite sure what to make of the Pittsburgh-based band’s longevity.

“It’s hard to comprehend,” says Deasy, who will perform with the band Nov. 8 at Stage AE, North Shore. “I still feel I’m about 22. I’m not surprised, but I’m relieved (the band) is still here and feels alive, because, at this point in life, you can be barely playing and phoning it in some way. But I’ve never felt more connected to what I’m doing, or excited about it, in terms of just the music.”

The Gathering Field is marking two decades together with a new album. “Wild Journey” is the band’s fifth studio release, the first in more than 12 years. It finds the group sounding more diverse and accomplished than ever. Deasy, guitarist Dave Brown (who produced the album), guitarist Clark Slater, keyboardist John Burgh, drummer Ray DeFade and bassist Eric Riebling now draw from a broader musical palette. Notably, the songs “When Hearts Go Cold,” “Never Gonna Let You Go” and “Love No Longer” are roots-based, almost Americana-like in tenor.

“I think we have a depth to our sound and playing that we didn’t have when we were younger,” Deasy says. “Age brings, theoretically, some depth, some soul. I think that really shines through in everybody’s playing, and even my singing I like a little better than I have on records before. It’s just everything is more comfortable. You don’t force things as much; you let them happen, and that’s just the wisdom of maturity.”

Not everything has gone smoothly, of course. When the band decided to release a new record earlier this year, Deasy was worried he wouldn’t be able to write enough songs to fill an entire album. And when the band finished recording the tracks, Brown and Deasy disagreed on which song should be first. Deasy lobbied for “Something Holy,” a rousing quasi-autobiographical song. Brown contended the mid-tempo title track was the better choice.

Brown prevailed.

“In retrospect, I think ‘Wild Journey’ is a little more evocative of a quintessential Gathering Field song,” Deasy says. “It’s a good invitation to people who used to like us a lot. I think that’s where Dave was coming from. He felt it was more open and welcoming.”

In other bands, a disagreement of this sort might have resulted in name-calling, threats or worse. But it was a minor distraction for a band that’s amicably thrived for 20 years.

“We’ve always worked very well together,” Deasy says, “and just being a little older, we even work better together. We’ve always been a somewhat ego-less band, maybe to our detriment, in some ways. Maybe that’s why we didn’t go farther, because we weren’t into trashing hotel rooms or anything like that. We’ve always been natural collaborators in terms of the music.”

Rege Behe is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.