Three decades from now, a documentary filmmaker in search of her next rockumentary will come across The Broadcast and realize she’s hit pay dirt. The story of the local rock and soul outfit not only comes with its own high-octane soundtrack, it hits on all the key points: Challenges are overcome, miles are logged, performances are slain and an oft-jaded music industry is enticed. There’s dancing. There’s a love story.
There’s even a humble beginning. “When I have doubts, I think about the sacrifices my mom made,” says frontwoman Caitlin Krisko, whose giant voice and creative vision drives The Broadcast. Krisko’s mom, a single parent, moved them from Detroit to New York City in a matter of weeks when Krisko auditioned for and won a place at the Professional Performing Arts School. The vocalist grew up around her father’s extensive classic rock collection but thought she was headed for a Broadway career until, in college at the Circle in the Square Arts Conservatory, a teacher asked if she’d ever thought about being in a band. It was prophetic. The Broadcast launches its latest album, From the Horizon, at The Grey Eagle on Saturday, June 11.
“When we moved to Asheville, we were so green,” says Krisko. “We had no experience with touring.” The group — no longer content in a rapidly changing New York City — had moved to Western North Carolina to take its career to the next level. Touring was at the top of the to-do list. And, though they were soon embraced by the local music-listening community, playing stages like Downtown After 5 to enthusiastic crowds, “Everyone [in the band] had a different experience with the move,” says Krisko.
By 2014, shifts in personnel and objective led to some serious soul-searching. It was around that time that Krisko’s relationship with guitarist Aaron Austin — who joined the band after the original Broadcast guitarist was hired to tour with Enrique Iglesias — evolved into a romance. Despite being from vastly different backgrounds — Austin grew up in the farmland near the Outer Banks — they began co-writing and found a natural partnership. There’s a hint of that in From the Horizon: “As we drive down the highway / and we move around the sun / like the ones who came before you and me / it’s alright, it’s a passage / from a story that’s a classic / and I’m glad you’re sharing it with me,” Krisko sings on the funk-fueled “Double Down.” Even if the songs are fictional rather than autobiographical, the band’s joy is palpable.
“That was a turning point for the Broadcast’s sound,” says Krisko. “That was when we decided we needed to make a record, and we started scouting different studios and producers.” The group (including E’Lon Jordan-Dunlap on bass, Tyler Housholder on percussion and Jaze Uries on drums) decided to “supershoot for the stars,” as Krisko puts it, and delved into their favorite albums featuring strong female vocalists. Tedeschi Trucks Band, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Dixie Chicks all had at least one thing in common — producer Jim Scott.
An email sent to Scott’s manager came back with the surprising response: “I will make time for this record,” he told The Broadcast. “But we need to do this the right way.” Krisko and her fellow musicians set about crafting their strongest material to date (Glen Frey was a major influence), whittling 17 or 18 songs down to 11.
“I was literally finishing the lyrics to one song when we were in the studio recording it,” Krisko says. “We really wanted to be concise with what we said on the album.” While the band road-tested songs before committing them to previous albums, From the Horizon is a clean slate, in a way. Its tracks are mostly previously unheard by listeners. From the come-out-swinging intro, “Steamroller,” and the rocking Americana of “On the Edge,” to the expansive, organ-driven “Battle Cry” and the sweeping, aching “Electric Light,” all showcase the range of The Broadcast’s abilities. No longer an amped-up bar band belting swaggering covers, this iteration of the Broadcast is as powerful as ever but delivers listeners through an array of emotions and landscapes.
While an advance copy of From the Horizon was offered as an incentive to donate to the band’s successful Kickstarter campaign, that didn’t go quite as planned. Positive response to the album led to publicity and distribution deals (plus the group was named Band Ambassador by Asheville’s Convention & Visitor’s Bureau) — major scores for The Broadcast, but their patient fans had to wait just a little bit longer for the finished product.
Luckily, Asheville gets a first listen, with the band’s launch and extensive tour (including a date in Belgium, and more European shows to come) starting, fittingly, from The Broadcast’s adopted hometown.
WHAT: The Broadcast album release show with The Monbacks
WHERE: The Grey Eagle, 185 Clingman Ave., thegreyeagle.com
WHEN: Saturday, June 11, 9 p.m. $10 advance/$12 day of show