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Sean Etigson returns with new sound, bandmates

A native to Albuquerque splashes into the local scene with a new groove and some added band mates.

Sean Etigson, 31, began to weave his way through the coffeehouse and pub scene in August, playing acoustic James Taylor-like folk songs, with a melodic, me-and-my-guitar sound. Etigson's pure voice and "finger pickin' good" style radiates through his first album, Where the Mountain Meets the Sea. He said the sound is melodic and the lyrics tell meaningful stories about the world around him.

In April, Etigson will head to the studio but, this time, will add bass, drums and a harmonica to the new album, Open Heart, Open Road. These instruments enhance the acoustic sound, while giving the melodies a backbone.

"It takes the core of the songs and gives them a groove," Etigson said. "It has something that's gonna musically cook people."

Accompanying Etigson will be Ian Bannerman on bass, Jay Blea on drums and Josh Allen on harmonica. At this point though, Bannerman and Etigson are the mainstay duo who play together around Albuquerque.

Etigson said he asked Bannerman to join him because of his extensive musical pallet that would allow the two to work together in many different styles of music including folk, blues and rock.

"We constantly challenge each other," Bannerman said. "We work hard to grow the music together, a spirit of collabortion exists."

The pair bounces ideas off one another at rehearsals. While Etigson writes the music and lyrics, Bannerman said his own ideas are welcomed and valued.

The upbeat sound on the new album is a result of the new collaborations.

Etigson, a first through fifth grade teacher at Cottonwood Elementary School, said teaching, as well as learning from kids, are his passions.

"I like working with young people, I think it feeds my songwriting," he said. "I feel compelled to show them an example of what I'm teaching about, that is `do what you love.'"

With recording right around the corner, Etigson is trying to play and fine tune the songs, and also create fun live performances.

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While no covers appear on the albums, Etigson and Bannerman collaborate on Arrested Development's "People Everyday" and Jimi Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower," which mixes in the melody of the "Pink Panther" theme song.

"My feeling on covers is, if your not going to bring anything new to it, don't do it," Etigson said.

The arrangements attempt to keep the audience on its toes by hitting it with unexpeceted covers or moving from a mellow ballad into a funk tune called "Living Wage," which will appear on the new album.

Etigson and Bannerman will perform a free show tomorrow from 8-10 p.m. at Irysh Mac's Coffeehouse, 110 Yale Blvd. S.E. For more information, call 265-5597.


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