Several weeks ago, The Senators took the stage of The Van Buren for the first time. It was one of the band's best performances, but there was only one drawback to the experience: There were only two people in the audience.
"I wish the first time we had played that stage was to a couple thousand people," says the band's singer and guitarist, Jesse Teer. "It just sounded beautiful. It felt really big."
He and his bandmate Chuck Linton (banjo and keyboards) kept their distance as they played five songs (with several from their now-delayed new album) with Dario Miranda recording the performance and Danny Upshaw filming them onstage.
Phoenix New Times will premiere a video from this performance every Tuesday for the next several weeks. If you're a frequent concertgoer who misses the emotion of a live performance in a beautiful venue, then grab a Kleenex or five. Each one-shot video looks and sounds fantastic, with the honesty and emotion of each song coming through like a soothing balm in an anxious world, and ends with a powerful message that is important to hear from time to time: "We're in this together."
"I thought, 'What if we put new songs out that feel like a live performance, but celebrate the venues that we miss?'" says Teer. "I wanted to put out content that is meaningful to people."
The band went to The Van Buren's co-owner Charlie Levy of local promoter Stateside Presents to arrange the production. Teer confirms that the team of four had to be mindful about keeping their distance throughout, with Miranda often reminding them when anyone was close to being less than six feet away from each other.
"We didn't want to seem cavalier in the face of something that was hurting real people," says Teer. "As a team, we figured that out."
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The first video is the song "Ballad of Montezuma," a "simple tune" that Teer and Linton wrote as the pandemic started to force the world inside. It was influenced by the band's recording sessions in New York's Catskill Mountains with producer Simone Felice of The Felice Brothers.
"The song takes up only the space it needs. To me, it sounds honest, and it seems to fit the collective mood right now," describes Teer. "Dario worked magic — taking a quiet guitar, piano, and vocal and creating a lovely, spacious track out of plain elements."
Please enjoy this performance of "Ballad of Montezuma," and don't forget to come back next week for another video from The Senators.