A Sound Expedition: A musical tour with the Jauntee is full of unexpected turns

click to enlarge <a href="https://inland360.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/7-29-18-The-Jauntee-Always-Never-Knowing - PHOTO BY RYAN LEWIS
Photo by Ryan Lewis
The Jauntee is on a journey, musically and geographically.

In the last week, the Colorado band has toured through Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Oregon.

No night or performance is the same, and that’s not just because they switch out the songs but because the Jauntee is a jam band in the tradition of the Grateful Dead and Phish. A song could stretch 20 minutes one night and end after five minutes the next. 

That revere for improvisation is one of the things that united the group in 2010 in Boston, Mass., where several of its members attended the Berklee College of Music. The band’s latest album, 2018’s “Always Never Knowing,” was made in a professional studio with a stage where more than 100 of their fans gathered for two days of recording.

“That was the first time we had put anything out that had the live experience,” said drummer Scott Ferber, 32, in a phone interview Monday at an Airbnb in Portland where the band was enjoying a day off from touring.

The Jauntee records and offers its live performances online. Ferber and the other band members, Caton Sollenberger (guitar), Tyler Adams (keyboards) and John Loland (bass), study their work to ensure each show is fresh. Their headlining performance at Saturday’s Barge In Fest will be added to the catalog. Inland 360 asked Ferber a few questions before the show.

What’s the story behind the name the Jauntee?

The Jauntee is an old English word meaning a jaunt, to go on a jovial journey. We like to think our music takes people on a little jovial journey.

Two years ago the Jauntee relocated from Boston to Niwot, Colo., near Boulder. What’s the music scene like in the West versus the East?

As far as New England goes, we at least found it a lot more competitive — or maybe there's just so many more bands out there. We had to fight to get gigs; to make any money was near impossible. Maybe it’s a little more saturated. If you wouldn't play the gig for $200, there’s someone else else behind you in line who will. In Colorado and the West, we felt a little more welcoming community vibe. There’s more support, it seems, for music and the arts in general.

Does the Jauntee have fans that follow the band on its travels?

(Laughs) We do have some. There’s a few rabid fans who like to follow us around from place to place. For whatever reason, we’ve grown really well in Ohio. That seems random to us, but we have a lot of fans from there that tend to follow us around the Midwest.

You’ve written the majority of songs for the band. How do you work together to bring it to the stage?

I do most of my writing on piano. I’m not a skilled piano player, but I have a background in music theory, and I’ll hammer it out the best I can, starting with the chords. For me, it almost always starts with music first and then add lyrics to it. I put together a skeleton for the song, and everyone will write their own parts to the chords, for the most part. Some songs are slightly more collaborative. Me and our guitar player, Caton, have written a number of songs together.

How much of each performance is improvisation?

It differs from show to show. There’s a lot of improvisation. I don’t want to put a percentage on it, but maybe half the show would be improvisation. I think, for all of us, that is the funnest part, letting the music kind of take you for a ride. We don’t know where we’re going to end up as much as the audience does, so it’s kind of fun taking that journey together.


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