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Carry the music: One World Brewing welcomes Annie in the Water

Annie in the Water will play Asheville May 2. Donated photo Annie in the Water will play Asheville May 2. Donated photo

Within the greater Upstate New York live music scene, there’s a vast landscape of ebbs and flows — peaks and valleys of sonic textures, weaving effortlessly from rock to soul, funk to folk and back again. 

From weekend warrior neighborhood bar bands to old road dog national touring entities, it’s a wide palette of musical outfits meandering about the backwoods, back alleys and Main Streets of the North Country.

And with rising jam-rock act Annie in the Water (AITW), we’re currently seeing the emergence of one of the next leaders of this rich, vibrant scene, one quickly spilling out of the northeast and into the rest of the country.

“What we strive to generate is a feeling within our listeners,” said AITW co-founder and singer/guitarist Michael Lashomb. “We take pride in interacting with our fans and friends, to see how the music changes people and puts them in a state of bliss.”

Formed in the fall of 2006 on the campus of Hobart College in Geneva, New York, AITW came together when Lashomb and singer/guitarist Brad Hester crossed paths while teammates on the school’s lacrosse team.

The duo formed an immediate bond through music, this shared love of rock, indie, acoustic and improvisational music — something that quickly translated into early performances all along the Eastern Seaboard as a two-piece act.

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“When I release this music into the world alongside my bandmates, a ripple effect happens that is just unique to us — the music seems to build some sort of mystical and inevitable response that isn’t so much seen, but it’s felt,” Lashomb said. “Whether that’s a hug, a drink, a dance or an expression, it all means something more when it’s accomplished by a good connection and sharing in that vibe.”

Eventually, more faces came into the fold, with AITW morphing into the sextet as it stands today, which now includes Joshua West (drums), Chris Meier (bass/vocals), Matt Richards (keyboards/vocals) and Brock Kuca (percussion/vocals). 

“Each member started in this band by a mixture of opportunity and serendipitous circumstances,” Lashomb said. “What I believe the reason why the band is together is because we believe in something bigger than ourselves, but also realize that it happens by us sharing a part of our authenticity in an honest way.”

That team mentality residing at the core of AITW is the essence of what the band is trying to put forth within the realm of live performance — this “sum of its parts” that conjures a two-way street of musical exploration and immersion from both sides of the microphone.

“This vision of this band from its early inception was to become a multi-genre/multidimensional band to make music that makes people dance and feel good. Part of what makes that all happen is the wonder and fate that is outside of our control that pulls it all together,” Lashomb said. “And these moments when we are unsure presents a possibility to not only go deeper with the journey, but also times of reflection for us to take a good look at each other — to see how we can better ourselves to keep the building process continuing with intention, love and vitality.”

And it’s an undying thirst within AITW for making a connection with its audience that erupts each night in the midst of a gig — facing a crowd of unknown faces, albeit curious to see just what the band can stir up in the heat of the moment, the groove.

“My vantage point onstage allows me to see and absorb an overwhelming landscape of joyful faces — everyone in the crowd who all have their own little journeys that led them to that dance floor,” Lashomb said.

When asked about what makes the North Country music scene so storied and unique, Lashomb points to the sincerity of the local/regional musicians, venues and audience members, where survival is more than just getting through the long winter months — it’s about connectivity and a shared vision of bettering one’s community through art, music and fellowship. 

“What matters to me is seeing how the music that I’m part of can unify people and connect them to a feeling, to the country and to their families,” Lashomb says. “It’s not easy living in the North Country and it can be rough, but I like that. It’s poetic in its own way and I let the energy of the people, rivers, lakes and mountains permeate into my music.”

Lashomb notes that the key to the continued evolution of AITW lies in a deep, genuine regard for open communication with the ensemble — onstage, on the road and in the recording studio.

“How we talk as a band is how we progress. Learning to improve our musical language, how to communicate how we feel about things, sharing jokes and deep conversations,” Lashomb says. “These bits of information or emotions that we share together blend into the body of the music — either melodically or lyrically — and then bleed out into the recordings or live shows.”

Peering into the rearview mirror at the last 18 years of AITW and also looking ahead through the windshield of purpose, promise and possibility that resides within the group, Lashomb can’t help but simply be grateful for the memories, moments and opportunities that have arisen.

“Since day one, our intention was to write music from our unique center,” Lashomb says. “The lessons learned or experiences we’ve had — all of it — started from the interactions and connections we have made to one another and the bonds we have built within all the beautiful communities that supported us along the way.”

Want to go?

Jam-rock group Annie in the Water will perform at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at One World Brewing West on 520 Haywood Road in Asheville.

ae World Brewing West beer

Admission is $10 per person. For more information and/or to purchase tickets, go to oneworldbrewing.com/events and scroll down to the show date.

To learn more about Annie in the Water, go to annieinthewater.com.

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