Athens band redefines jam-rock
The Orange Constant, an Athens-based band, performed a classic jam-rock show for the Buffington’s night crowd on Thursday, Oct. 18.
Originally formed in 2012 by Andrew Brantley and Nickalous Benson, the duo eventually grew into a full band with the additions of Tyler Walker, Chris Freiberg and Sam Groveman.
The band released their debut album “Time to Go” in the summer of 2015 under the production of Grammy-nominated producer John Keane. Keane’s previous work with Widespread Panic and R.E.M. qualifies him with notable credentials not only in the jam-band scene, but also in the roots of Athens music.
Their reigns in the Classic City have seen no boundaries as they now play shows all over the Southeast.
Sam Groveman, the band’s drummer, enjoys watching the group gain a wider range of popularity, but he still emphasizes the importance of staying true to their roots.
“Obviously we want to get as big as we can without compromising who we are,” Groveman said.
The band’s musical influences, such as My Morning Jacket, have also influenced their ideas surrounding who they want to be in terms of the classic-rock genre characteristics.
“It’s the cult following, like outside the classic jam band scene, [My Morning Jacket] have kinda eclipsed that,” said Chris Freiberg, the band’s keyboard player. “They are their own thing. They’re kind of an anomaly of modern rock.”
They take inspiration from the distinct vocals of Jim James or the instrumental precision of Bob Weir, but they are also influenced by the listeners and audience members they attract.
“I like the idea of having this following kinda sticking with you and also getting these younger generations collectively,” Groveman said.
GC student Chandler Durden has been listening to the band since her first time seeing them live last April.
“They definitely rival the sounds of other jam bands like Phish and Grateful Dead,” Durden said. “I enjoyed seeing them a second time and I can’t wait for them to come back.”
The band’s show covered crowd-pleasing jams such as Grateful Dead’s “Brown Eyed Woman,” grabbing the attention of all ages in the audience.
The group has continued touring around Georgia and neighboring states, sharing the stage with other up-and-coming artists like CBDB, The Vegabonds and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong.
Working with other bands in the same genre has humbled the group as they learn how to achieve balance between their individual styles.
“Individuality is huge,” Freiberg said. “I think the band having its own sound, each of the members having their own sound and all the parts making a whole—the whole is greater than the parts.”
The band’s latest release, the instrumental single “Prisoner Reprise,” marks the beginnings of their work towards creating their third album, which will begin this November.
Capturing the essence of the wide range of styles within their genre, The Orange Constant is a group to be reckoned with as they redefine the concepts of what it takes to be a jam band.
Catch them at their next local show at the Georgia Theater in Athens on Oct. 20.