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For brothers Dan and Nate Monea, their time is meant to be spent doing what they love – writing, recording and performing music. “Even though Nate was just 13 and I was 16 when we played our first show, I knew music would be our life”, says Dan. That passion was affirmed in 2012, when this childhood trio from Cleveland, Ohio were selected to open for Bruce Springsteen to perform in front of 60,000 fans during Hard Rock Calling’s summer music festival in London’s Hyde Park. The band secured this opportunity by winning Hard Rock’s worldwide battle of the bands, besting over 12,000 other bands from around the world.
Since then, Hey Monea has shared the stage with many of their musical heroes: ranging from the Bare Naked Ladies and the Goo Goo Dolls to the Doobie Brothers, Lady Antebellum, and Kid Rock. These influences resonate deeply in their music and was captured efficiently by legendary Grammy winning producer Dennis Herring (Counting Crows, Elvis Costello, Modest Mouse) on the bands' major label debut, Cheap Souvenirs, in late 2013.
The band spent two years living on the road in support of Cheap Souvenirs, playing club dates and festivals across the country, as well as opening Bronze Radio Return’s entire 2014 Summer tour. On the heels of all of that activity, Hey Monea elected to seclude themselves away in a cabin in Florida to write, record and self-produce their newest release, entitled “The Fifty.” The record is meant to serve as a hearty homage to the United States, as Daniel Monea offers "not only is the American landscape the backdrop for our lives, it's the inspiration as well. With every new city comes different food, different culture, different nature, and most importantly different people who live entirely unique lives.” Nate Monea adds “it’s our privilege as a band, being able to travel and see new and diverse parts of the country. We try to use that inspiration, and this new album reflects that.”
Hey Monea doesn’t consider themselves patriots in a traditional sense – as Daniel puts it, "We love America for the greasy spoons, farmers daughters, and fishing holes. For the people we meet along the way and for the freedom we all enjoy…”
“The Fifty” was released on October 23 on independent imprint Noble Steed Music, and the band is currently on tour with all of the enthusiasm reflected on this new, youthful batch of recordings.
Nashville’s Paul Pfau (rhymes with "wow") is a modern-day troubadour, a skilled and eager listener, with a gift for setting the truths of love, life and loss to music. His talent for taking in and re-interpreting life’s narrative was honed in six months of personal silence brought on by a threatening polyp on his vocal chords.
During this period of forced quiet, Pfau made ends meet by playing guitar in other bands, and by studying the stories of others. His musical inspiration was drawn from his parents relationship, and from the great music of 70s singer-songwriters like James Taylor, as well as current artists like John Mayer and Dave Matthews. Upon healing, Pfau took his talents to Season 8 of The Voice, where as a member of Team Pharrell, he was fortunate enough to work with and be mentored by the likes of Lionel Richie and Nate Ruess (fun., The Format).
The Great American Love Story EP is a concept album, a collection of songs with a finite beginning, middle and end. Boy and girl meet, fall in love, drift apart, work through struggle, and build a life together. Even though the story does have a classically happy ending, the real pain of relationship is present, unblinking in its ambiguity. Pfau is specific enough to draw listeners in, without giving away the goose. “The lyrics definitely tell a love story, but only one drawn in black and white. The colors are meant to come from the person listening, they can paint their own experiences on to what they’re hearing”, says Pfau. "The record uses a male-female relationship, though the genders assigned to each character are meant to channel stereotypes more than anything. The notion of gender is flexible, as well."
Pfau is a natural collaborator, and the album was produced and co-written with Austin Bello (bassist and vocalist, Forever The Sickest Kids), with one exception. The EP’s denouement, “See You Better” was co-written with Nashville songwriter Jordan Lawhead. Pfau is also collaborating with fans on social media, regularly sharing the love story of others on his Facebook page.
Pfau is touring relentlessly in support of his music, and is single. “I guess I’m still writing my own great American love story”, Pfau says. “We’ll have to see how that one goes.”