Local band The Inn Keepers record at Parkland

George Cruickshank

Staff Writer

Things look good for The Inn Keepers, a local blues-rock band and the first artists signed to Parkland’s new record label Perimeter Road Recordings.

Photo by Scott Wells | The Prospectus Inn Keepers guitarist Andrew Walsh stands inside the Perimeter Road studio on Apr. 8, 2016. Walsh is a Parkland College alumni from the class of 2015.

Photo by Scott Wells | The Prospectus
Inn Keepers guitarist Andrew Walsh stands inside the Perimeter Road studio on Apr. 8, 2016. Walsh is a Parkland College alumni from the class of 2015.

They and the students who work for the label are currently in the process of recording and mastering the newest release from the C-wing at Parkland College.

The Inn Keepers have only been signed to Perimeter Road since the beginning of this semester, but they have been together and performing music for years.

Founded in high school by guitarist Andrew Walsh and bassist Nick Sutton, they have since added vocalist Trevor Moore and drummer Rick Field to their roster, releasing two extended plays and developing a strong local following in the process.

When Parkland held an open submission contest for musicians last semester, they were selected out of a large pool of local talent to be the first act on their new label.

“The Inn Keepers had actually just recently been interviewed on WPCD, and they went ahead and submitted some content,” said Adam Porter, the label’s faculty advisor. “They were our favorite out of all of the stuff that got submitted…and we have been recording their project all semester…”

With help from faculty, including Porter, The Inn Keepers’ new project has been led mostly by Parkland students.

Parkland’s label was established in fall 2015, giving interested students a chance to gain hands-on experience in a recording studio with professional equipment.

Porter has nothing but praise for the band and enjoys working with them.

“It’s been fantastic,” Porter said. “They’ve got some great songs; they’ve been very well prepared. They’re ready to nail their parts when they come in, which has enabled us to focus on the students learning the recording concepts, and also getting great sounds.”

So far, the process has included a studio-recorded horn section with French horn and saxophone.

The band’s sound has shifted over the years.

“We originally started as a pure blues band,” Walsh said. “Then we kind of morphed into blues-rock, and now we’re a mixture of really all kinds of music.”

Their new release will feature more complex musical arrangement than in the past.

“Instead of just having a standard form, we move away from that,” Walsh said.

Combining a bluegrass feel with up-tempo rock, The Inn Keepers have created a unique sound and energy.

Creative control is shared by the band. Though most of their lyrical content has come from vocalist Moore and guitarist Walsh, Moore says their songwriting process has traditionally been an open conversation.

“I have the most classical training—most of the theoretical things,” Moore said. “I’ll bring an idea or a structure for a song to the guys, and then we’ll collaborate. The drummer will say ‘I think this sounds better’. Same thing with the bass player.”

Moore went on to mention how Perimeter Road has been an accommodating place for this process.

“It’s been really good, they’re really nice guys,” Moore said. “I think we’re all trying to work towards the same common goal: play more shows, play better shows, and get our music heard. We didn’t really have any grand expectations going into this.”

Signing with Perimeter Road and gaining access to professional studio equipment without paying for expensive studio time has freed up money for promotions, touring, studio musicians, and growing the band’s presence locally.

The Inn Keepers are on schedule to finish their project by the end of the semester. It will be available www.theinnkeepers.bandcamp.com.