Champagne Sunday
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Champagne Sunday

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"Champagne Sunday-A Toast to Originality- by Chris Jay"

Kitchen sink rock: It’s a tough time for original rock bands in Ventura County. These days, it seems anyone who spends more time on songwriting than screaming will end up in a coffeehouse battling to be heard over espresso machines and clinking silverware. Long gone are the glory days of Café Voltaire, when the area’s more subdued acts had a home base to cultivate a healthy scene.

Nobody should pine for those days as much as Champagne Sunday, a band that, if it had been around in the late ’90s, probably would have been the center of that vibrant scene.
Comprising singer-guitarists Jessi Reems-Terrell and Jared Fredeen, the band, which formed in May 2005, has at least succeeded in creating a truly original sound. Pooling their influences — from rock to folk and everything in between — the musicians have a tough time classifying themselves.

“We have such a hard time answering people when they ask us what we kind of music we play,” Reems-Terrell says. “Lately we’ve been covering all bases and going with rock-blues-jazz-folk-pop-country-musical theater.”

Surprisingly, the band’s “throw it in a pot and hope it cooks” mentality does not hurt the songwriting. From the perfectly sublime groove of songs like “With You” to the hauntingly gorgeous “Music Box,” it’s obvious the guys and gal of Champagne Sunday respect the craft.

Most of all, Reems-Terrell is an absolute powerhouse as lead vocalist — quite possibly the best female singer the local music scene has to offer. Reminiscent of a Norah Jones with personality, she’s an engaging performer with pipes that, in a perfect world (or just maybe one in the not-so-distant future), would have record industry weasels knocking on the door.

So what’s a right-place-at-the-wrong-time band to do? Take a tip from the headbanging world that shuns them and hit the road for their first-ever national tour. Booking themselves in everywhere from coffeehouses to clubs to schools, the three-piece is intent on getting its music heard one way or another.

Lucky for us locals, despite the band’s lack of proper attention in these parts, it hasn’t given up on us. It’ll be pulling double-duty on the weekend, with a stop at Franky’s on April 13 and Café Bella the following night.
The date the group is most looking forward to, though, and is the tour kick-off show on April 22 at, of all places, Yolie’s Fresh Mex. They've rented the outdoor patio for the big night and are planning on having a slew of surprise guests from the scene dropping by.

Be sure to stop by and pay one of the county’s most original bands the respect it deserves — before the rest of the country beats us to it.

“VC Reporter“ 04-12-2007 Ventura, CA - Ventura County Reporter


"local music festival write-up"

“. . . Another group in town for the event was Champagne Sunday, a band out of Ventura County in California. Together since 2005 the group played at the Vogue, delighting their audience with a truly unique blend of music.

"We have such a hard time answering people when they ask us what kind of music we play," said Jessi Reems-Terrell the singer, guitar player for the band in a press release.

The group prides themselves on playing a little of everything, literally, from country to rock to musical theater and anything else that sounds good. Despite not fitting squarely into a genre audiences loved it.

"They're awesome," said Leanne Pleasant of Bremerton. Pleasant and friends were in town for the hydro races and happened to stumble across the group playing. In fact Pleasant said she liked the group so much she bought a CD.

Performances continued throughout the day Saturday and into the evening throughout Chelan, from downtown businesses to wineries and everywhere in between. With so many different groups to see and a wide variety of sounds the first ever Rhythms at the Lake was chalked up as a hit.”

-“Lake Chelan Mirror” Chelan Lake, WA
10/6/2007 8:17:00 PM
- Lake Chelan Mirror


"Music"

Posted by Lisa Snider at 7/1/2007

Champagne Sunday is a Ventura band that just returned from a national tour. Described as "sensitive enough for the folk crowds, but loud enough for the rockers," Champagne Sunday plays their own original music with the occasional cover discreetly woven in. With beautiful vocals by their lead songstress backed by solid harmonies, this is a must-see band. "Ventura Sky" is a love song for locals (guitarist Jared Freeden takes the lead here) off their new CD "Make it Mine." CS has several local gigs all summer long - don't miss them. Check out www.ChampagneSunday.com.

-“Radio Ojai” Ojai, CA
- Radio Ojai


"Champagne Sunday Pops the Cork on New CD"

It couldn't be on any other day, so it's not. Therefore, Ventura folkies Champagne Sunday will throw a CD release party this weekend on the seventh day on the spacious patio at Yolie's Fresh Mex Grill in Ventura. The second album is "North," which can be yours for an Alexander Hamilton at the gig, or a Hamilton and an Abe Lincoln thereafter. Just an affordable Abe will get you into the show. The energetic FearMia and Vertigo Blend are also on the bill.

The Champagne band includes front gal Jessi Reems-Terrell on acoustic guitar and vocals; Jared Fredeen on keyboards, guitars and vocals; and Matt Gay behind them on the drums.

Another local band playing original music and trying to make things happen in a tough market, Champagne Sunday remains as bubbly as its namesake, with no hangover in sight. The principals, Reems-Terrell and Fredeen, discussed the latest during a recent phoner.

So how was your gig last night at Caffe Bella?

Reems-Terrell: Oh, my gosh. It ended up being just awesome. Every time we play there we expect it be really low-key and everybody's supposed to be calm, but by the end of the night everyone was ready to rock. It was a really hip show.


And how's the Champagne Sunday biz?

Reems-Terrell: We spent a lot of money on the album we're putting out Sunday.

Where does "North" fit into the scheme to things?

Fredeen: We had a better idea of what we wanted coming into it than we did for the first one.

Reems-Terrell: You don't know when it's your first album and you're on a budget. It was kind of sloppy, but we're proud of it for the time. We worked really hard on this one and knew exactly what we wanted. We had a producer from L.A. — he was so awesome. He's going to be playing bass for us at the CD release party.

Why did you choose Yolie's?

Fredeen: We kicked off our tour there last year. It was a big venue and they were helpful. We really liked the space.

Reems-Terrell: And the margaritas.

Fredeen: Yeah.

Reems-Terrell: They have a really nice patio. It's probably the biggest space in town that can accommodate the vastness of the fan base we're trying to get in there in one area.

And the group sounds like ?

Reems-Terrell: We say it's like rock whimsy with pop fusion.

Why are you guys so happy?

Reems-Terrell: We love what we do.

The band has been around for a while, so what's your take on the local scene?

Reems-Terrell: It's really tough. Over the last four years, we've noticed that there are plenty of music venues, but a lot of them are switching to DJs or want cover bands. We've had a few residency gigs where the venues supported us, but when you play original music, people will leave because they're not familiar with the music.

Fredeen: It's a shame, because there are so many great original bands in this area.

Reems-Terrell: Then, some places will say, "We can't pay you" or "We'll pay you 50 bucks," which is crazy because we're working our butts off for not a lot of payback. So you really have to believe in what you're doing. People started sticking us into a Sunday brunch situation, and we're too much for even that, so we've had a hard time fitting into the community. We tried playing in L.A. and that was a joke — it's just a big pay-to-play scene down there.
But we've had pretty good success in the Monterey Bay area and further north. We did a Pacific Northwest tour with the band Vertigo Blend last December — we went all the way up to Washington — and found the further north we went, the better we were received and people were really excited about what we were doing.

Fredeen: Hence, the name of the album.

You've taken longer road trips?

Reems-Terrell: Yeah, that was just a 10-day tour. We've actually toured across the country.

Fredeen: It was crazy. We left in May and got back in the middle of June. It really tested the mettle as to what the band is made of.
Any really weird gigs?

Reems-Terrell: We had a lot of "not fitting" gigs, like we'd be paired with some heavy metal or punk band. The musicians are cooler than anybody and know you're trying; it's just that the styles don't mesh.

How far east did you make it?

Reems-Terrell: One of the best gigs we played was at a high school. Chris Jay from Army of Freshmen hooked us up. His parents are teachers in Cape May, N.J., and we played for his mom's music class.
That's great! I'll bet they loved it.

Reems-Terrell: They did, but what was great is that we were playing for kids who will be doing our jobs one day. They were so receptive and smart. They told us we were like America, a band that was around before they were born, or maybe even their parents. They said, "We hear a little bit of the Beatles, a little bit of America and maybe some Courtney Love going on." That was one of our best gigs, so we figured maybe the youth audience is the way to go. We're trying to plan a college tour.

Hey, this is supposed to be fun, right?

Reems-Terrell: It is. We just got nominated for 13 MAVRIC awards (Music Awards for Ventura Roots and Independent Creations), which is awesome, but the interesting thing about music is that the people are going to tell you what they want. It's impossible to predict, so you just go out there and play what you play and let them love you. Whatever aspect they love, let them have it.
- Ventura County Star


Discography

Make It Mine (2006)-album
North (2008)-album
Random Acts of Blindness (2009)-EP
Our album "North" has gotten airplay at the following stations:
CA - KZSC in Santa Cruz
CO - KDNK in Carbondale
CO - KVNF in Paonia
FL - WMNF in Tampa
FL - WFIT in Melbourne
HI - KKCR in Hanalei
MD - WHFC in Bel Air
ME - WERU in East Orland
MO - KDBB in Park Hills
MT - Trail 103.3 in Missoula
NC - WSGE in Gastonia
NC - WVOD in Wanchese
PA - WDIY in Bethlehem
PA - WESB in Bradford
TX - KFAN in Fredricksburg
TX - KSYM in San Antonio
TX - KPFT in Houston
WI - WORT in Madison
WY - KUWR in Laramie

Ventura Sky- radio in PA
Leather Life- radio in PA
3 Letters- radio in PA
Psycho- L.A. based indie internet radio

Photos

Bio

Powerful, honest, edgy, and refreshingly original, Champagne Sunday attacks the stage with the theatrical flair of Queen, the seemingly simple writing style of the Beatles, the plain language poetry of Tom Petty, and the restless urgency of Ani DiFranco.

Hailing from the beach community of Ventura, CA, the band has earned fans from coast to coast through touring and radio play over the past few years. Since its inception in 2005 with co-founders Jessi Reems-Terrell and Jared Fredeen, the band (now with drummer Matt Gay and bassist Anthony Kafka) has seen several transformations in the line-up but its roots have always been strong in the writing partnership of Jessi and Jared.

Thier 2006 release "Make It Mine" garnered some radio play from local and college stations and won the group three MAVRIC awards (including Best Rock Song and Best Overall Song of 2007) out of five nominations. The band toured nationally twice in 2007 in support of the album and expanded their fanbase to New York and Seattle.

With the release of their follow-up album "North" in 2008, the band found much more national radio exposure, and won three more MAVRIC awards (including one for Best Vocal Group) out of thirteen nominations; more than any other group in the history of the awards. National touring for North (and the band's addendum EP, "Random Acts of Blindness") will last from September through December 2009.