The Government Center
Rock Eupora, Chip & The Charge Ups, Choice Words
Tue Nov 15 7:30 pm all ages $10 advance/$12 door
tickets on sale at Government Center, from Chip & The Charge Ups, or online at https://rockeuporapittsburgh.brownpapertickets.com
Rock Eupora, the moniker for Mississippi-bred, Nashville-based artist Clayton Waller, has always been a heart-on-your-sleeve musical endeavor. From his earliest recordings, Waller has never been afraid to ask the big, searching questions of life. Catchy, hooky pop sensibilities have similarly been a consistent through-line in Rock Eupora’s catalogue. Featuring singable, fuzzed-out guitar hooks and stuck-in-your-head-all-afternoon choruses, the discography of Rock Eupora––including three full-length albums, two EPs, and a smattering of singles to date––brings to mind Blue Album-era Weezer or the high-energy, hard-charging, harmony-laden early Beatles singles.
These defining features are still present in Pick At The Scab, Rock Eupora’s latest full-length album, and yet, something feels different. “I wanted to let the songs breathe a bit,” Waller says of his mindset while writing the material that would become the songs for Pick At The Scab. “I gravitate towards writing up-beat, high energy songs, but this time around, I decided to lean back a little and let the songs speak for themselves.”
Rock Eupora began when Waller was a senior in college. Each subsequent release has seen a broadening of scope and range, and Pick At The Scab is the logical successor to that tradition. Alongside every familiar influence––The Shins, Band of Horses, The Beach Boys––is a new friend, a Baby Huey, a Steely Dan, an Elizabeth Cotten, and, yes, even a Beyonce. Put simply, on Pick At The Scab, Rock Eupora is arriving at a destination: Waller, now thirty, has chosen to feel everything, instead of fighting to suppress or ignore the unpleasant or unknown. In so doing, in “feeling all of myself,” Waller has painted a rich, multivariate self-portrait. Through experimentation with new songs and sounds, confronting painful personal issues head-on, striving to find the balance between despair and joy, silliness and seriousness, heartbreak and love, the personal and the universal, Pick At The Scab delivers a full-bodied expression of what it means to live and to feel alive, an experience meant to be felt in a music venue together with others just as much as it can be heard between one’s own ears. At risk of falling into silver-lining-along-every-cloud cliches, it is best to let Waller himself describe the experience of Pick At The Scab: “There is no gladness apart from sadness.”