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The best kept secret in music


"Deleveled shows why it's 'best local band.'"

Deleveled covers more ground in 38 minutes than most bands do in two full-length albums.

On its latest CD, “Keep Them Closer,” the band has songs about sex, love, fun, heartbreak and bad nights.

From almost-hardcore guitar scrapes to radio-friendly modern rock to introspection that would make Scott Stapp rethink his coolness, Deleveled has the ability to shift gears faster than a lawn mower jockey.

Deleveled, voted the Free Times’ best local band of 2005, approached this CD differently. After recording a demo, the members — Ryan Hudson (vocals), Jeff Pitts (guitar), Lee Pridgen (drums) and Matthew Biddle (bass) — sought volunteers to critique the music and offer opinions.

We talked to Pitts and Hudson about the unusual process, the different sounds on the disc and the pressure of being the reigning “best local band.”

How is the music on “Keep Them Closer” different from your debut CD, “Later Than Usual?”

Pitts: It’s much more together as a whole. We’ve got hooks now. The first time we came up with songs, we tried to play everything that was on the radio. We were new, writing what we thought would sound good to everybody. These songs are more developed. It gives you something new that’s not so generic.

Hudson: We were only together for three months and most of the album was some stuff I wrote on acoustic guitar. It didn’t mesh as well as this one does. This album is from a seasoned band.

The album titles suggest a literal meaning. Who do you want to keep closer?

Pitts: The idea with the title is a double meaning. We kind of run the gamut of emotions on the CD. The idea with that is to keep your emotions close. It also has to do with the people who stayed close to us.

Hudson: The idea is not really a person; it’s emotions. From the album we go at this anger in “Drowning in You” and first love in “The Oh My Story” and heartaches from the song “Suffered.” When the listener gets done with this album, you almost want to keep the feelings you have closer to you.

Not many bands allow people to hear demos, let alone critique them. What did you learn from that process?

Pitts: It gave us an early perspective. We heard so many comments after we recorded the first album and we said, “Oh man, we could’ve changed that.” It didn’t bother us that they heard the songs before we released the CD. We’ll do it next time as well.

Hudson: Being able to record them at the house, we were able to get people at an early process to say, “Hey, Ryan sounded a little flat there.” That helped with spot-picking with little tiny things. When you listen to your own music over and over, you tend to skip over things. It’s nice to have fresh ears when you’re in the process.

The band moves from power rock into modern rock into classic rock with ease. Why so many differences?

Pitts: We’re also fans of a lot of different music. We have a big variety in the band, so basically we go in and start playing. We don’t want to make an album where every song sounds the same.

Hudson: The musician today is so diversified. I can be listening to Otis Redding one day and Metallica the next. Recording over a year’s time, you go through different stuff.

How hard is it to find time to tour like you want to?

Pitts: Our singer (Hudson) has a family and our bassist has a family. We’ll play anywhere that will have us. We can’t really travel too far on weekdays. With this CD we’re hoping to get a little success and drop the day-job thing.

Hudson: With me especially, I’m also in school right now and I’m also married and have a child and another child on the way. The fact that I have a wife who is supportive of it helps out a lot. We try to do things on the weekends mainly.

When you’re writing, what are some of the messages you’re trying to convey to the listener?

Pitts: There’s nothing shameful in a way you feel.

Hudson: A lot of times, I guess I write with a lot of hidden meaning. I guess I’m a sucker for poetry and take it over to rock ‘n’ roll and actually have depth in songs rather than right there in your voice. The messages I try to convey are how I felt when I was falling for someone or mad at someone and tell a story to make (the listeners) feel like they are right there with me.

Do you feel pressure from being named Free Times’ best local band?

Pitts: We’re using that to our advantage big time. As soon as we won that last year, it was the biggest shock of the year. We’re going to put it on fliers.

Hudson: I’m just excited that there are people in Columbia that take time to vote for that kind of stuff and listen to our music.

- The State - Columbia, SC (written by Otis Taylor)

"Thursday Night At The Art Bar"

Deleveled - These Florence transplants might've been too giddy with the idea of making a record their first time around, but it's all business on Keep Them Closer; it's 10 songs were even decided upon with the input of a volunteer panel of listeners. Buidling upon the playful metal of its debut, Later Than Usual, the songs on Keep Them Closer are more melodic and mature, fit for any Clear Channel play list. - The Free Times (written by Kevin Langston)


Later Than Usual (2003)
Keep Them Closer (2006)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Music mirrors life. It reflects who we are, who we want to be and the road in between. And good music goes even further, forcing you to experience life in a moment. Deleveled's music does just that. Life -- the good and the bad -- is captured in the words and melodies of each song. You know the pain of The Worst Night. You feel the cold of Winter. And you have dreams of Hollywood.

From the upbeat, relatable tale of The Oh My Story to the pound-your-fist-in-the-air sound of Drowning in You, Deleveled offers up an array of song experiences. The mainstream rock and roll style of Deleveled is like none other, and the band's versatility is evident in listening to its roster of songs. From throaty and powerful to velvety smooth vocals, from classic rock musicianship reminiscent of days gone by in Bound To Bind to the unlike-anything-else sound of The Freedom -- Deleveled's got it all. Each song is a complete thought, from beginning to end, telling a story. And each story is unique and elicits a different emotion.

Deleveled's latest studio effort, a recording crafted in the band's home studio and produced by guitarist Jeff Pitts, feels like a collection of such stories. There are songs of lust, anger, misfortune, mourning, pain and triumph. The stories told within are real and tangible and of situations with which we are all familiar. Keep Them Closer is truly a musical journey that parallels life and all its uncertainty.

Keep Them Closer marks the follow-up to the band's debut disc Later Than Usual, which the band put forth in April 2003. Later Than Usual received the accolade of being named Best Local CD in 2003 by voters in Columbia's Free Times' Best of Columbia. While Later Than Usual was the product of a band still in the infant stages, having only been together a year, it showcased the talent of its creators and left fans waiting for more. Keep Them Closer shows signs of maturity and a band that has honed its skills lyrically, musically and creatively.

Band members Ryan Hudson (vocals), Jeff Pitts (guitar) and Matthew Biddle (bass) are excited about the chance to get on the road and share the new songs with the world. Fans who have already been treated to live performances of the new tracks will now be able to bring the intensity of their favorite songs home.

Deleveled recently received the honor of being named Best Local Rock Band in the Free Times' Best of Columbia 2005, and the band has had the pleasure of playing with national acts Crossfade and L.A. Guns. Though Deleveled took a break from the stage -- with the exception of a handful of shows -- while creating the new CD, they are looking forward to making the rounds of their favorite venues once again and christening some new ones. 2006 is sure to be an exciting and busy year for the band as they tour in support of Keep Them Closer.

- Mary Dolan