Tales From The Dust

Written by Sam Sessa
Febuary 2007

For a band that tours on the jam circuit, the Assembly of Dust is surprisingly comfortable recording and releasing albums on a regular basis

Since coming together in 2002, the band has cut a live disc and three studio albums. That third studio CD, Recollections, comes out March 6. The band comes to the 8x10 tomorrow, where it will play some songs off the new album and some of its earlier stuff as well.

Frontman Reid Genauer formed the five-piece New York City group in 2002. It features Nate Wilson on keyboards, Adam Terrell on lead guitar, bassist John Leccese and drummer Andy Herrick.

Well, one of the coolest things with AOD is that we really support each other, musically and personally. In Strangefolk we were like a bunch of brothers. Everyone was competing for resources, attention and somewhat selfish in their interpretation of the song, including myself. The resulting friction created an energy and a passion that I think was contagious but somewhat spastic, explains Genauer.

Before founding Assembly of Dust, Genauer spent 10 years singing in the Vermont-based band Strangefolk. A prolific songwriter, he said a good portion of the work with Recollections was selecting the right songs.

"We're constantly turning them out," he said. "It wasn't like we sat down and said, 'Let's write an album.' We have an ongoing faucet, and we chose a collection to give a shot."

The songs on Recollections have a groove-oriented vintage Americana feel. Most tell stories - hence the album's name, Genauer said.

"They're told almost as if they're recollections," he said. "It also kind of works for us because we purposefully wanted to recall and re-create some of the craftsmanship and the sonic richness that defined rock in the early '70s that sort of has been largely overlooked in more recent years."

Genauer, who co-wrote six of the 10 album tracks with keyboardist Wilson, said he keeps the lyrics from getting overly autobiographical. He prefers to aim for common ground that he hopes the average person can relate to.

"I try to weave elements into the characters," he said. "It's not a one-for-one translation. It may be a verse or a line or central thought."

Singer/songwriters who put every little aspect of their life into their music come off as overly indulgent to him, he said.

"It's kind of like when you have a conversation with somebody at a cocktail party, and they start telling you their whole life in details that you don't want to know from a stranger," he said. "Uncomfortable and unpleasant. I find that's true for songwriting, too."

Genauer said one of the reasons the band has released four albums in four years is to give some permanence to the material. It's an aspect of the music business the members of Assembly of Dust enjoy, he said. Their albums are the culmination of their need to express themselves musically, he said.

"I think making an album is the final stage of that - the apex of self-expression," Genauer said. "It's this vehicle that takes your voice and takes your thoughts and projects them on the world. It's just fun. We get off on it."