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The Dip with Lady Wray
Presented by the River House Restaurant
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On their Dualtone Records debut Sticking With It, Seattle-based seven piece The Dip deliver the kind of unbridled rhythm-and-blues that hits on every emotional level. Inciting everything from raw catharsis to heavy-hearted reckoning to wildly exuberant joy, the self-produced album marks a major creative breakthrough for the band. To that end, Sticking With It fully channels the vitality of the freewheeling live show that’s earned them an ardent following over the last decade, matching their sophisticated musicianship with a fantastically loose energy. When met with The Dip’s reflection on matters both timely (the crush of late capitalism, the glaring need for true community) and irrefutably timeless (the vast complexities of love and loss), the resulting body of work captures the mood of the current moment while offering immediate escape into a more elevated state of mind.
The third full-length from The Dip, Sticking With It came to life at their studio in Seattle’s Central District, a modest but meticulously outfitted space the band built entirely on their own. Although the album features a small number of guest musicians (including a Macedonia based string ensemble and background singers Vanessa Bryan, Dasha Chadwick, and Nic Jackson), The Dip crafted each extravagantly arranged track according to a self contained process that allowed for a rare depth of exploration and spontaneity. “It’s really important to us to catch those lightning-in-a bottle moments when you can feel the momentum of a song taking shape,” says drummer Jarred Katz. “At the same time, it makes a huge difference to have this homebase where we can take our time with the sounds and not worry about that precious studio clock ticking away.”
Kicking off with a magnificent bang, Sticking With It opens on “Paddle to the Stars”: a prime introduction to the groove-heavy and richly detailed sound The Dip have embodied since playing house parties in the early 2010s. The first song recorded for the album, “Paddle to the Stars” arrives as a striking departure from the reverb drenched aesthetic the band’s favored in the past. “We’d gotten some nicer gear to play with, and wanted to try something completely different in terms of our guitar sounds,” notes guitarist Jacob Lundgren. “We ended up going with a very dry sound with no reverb behind it, which allows you to really hear the room and feels so much more like the live show.” And as lead vocalist Thomas Eddy reveals, the song’s stark quality is perfectly suited to its candid declaration of devotion. “It’s about being in relationship with someone who’s emotionally in touch beyond your own abilities, but recognizing that and wanting to invest in opening up,” he says. “I liked the idea of playing with the image of the immensity of the ocean, how it’s sustaining but also dangerous— and if you don’t watch out, it’ll get you.”
In its intimate examination of the human heart, Sticking With It also includes tracks like “Sleep On It” (a delicately layered love song about “someone who only gets to see the object of their affection in their dreams, so they’re just waiting until they can go to sleep again,” according to Eddy). One of the album’s most profoundly moving moments, “When You Lose Someone” brilliantly contrasts its meditation on grief with the rapturous harmonies of Bryan, Chadwick, and Jackson. “They’ve been singing together for over a decade and they’ve got an impeccable blend in the room, so we captured that by recording the trio gathered around one microphone,” recalls trumpet player Brennan Carter. “They were on board with whatever was required to elevate the music, and the results are undeniable.” And on “Real Contender,” The Dip present a bold but bittersweet standout built on a blues-country groove and shapeshifting arrangement courtesy of tenor sax player Levi Gillis. “It’s about someone who’s always been there as a friend but who now wants to be considered in a romantic way,” says Eddy. “I was really inspired by how Levi’s intro was upbeat but sorrowful, which is a compelling thing to work with as a songwriter.”
While Sticking With It endlessly spotlights each member’s exceptional craftsmanship, The Dip embraced a sort of anti- perfectionism in every step of the process. “One of the main goals for the album was to create that feeling of all of us in a room together, instead of worrying too much about everything lining up perfectly,” says Katz. Not only essential in shaping Sticking With It’s sense of abandon, that approach echoes the uniquely communal spirit at the heart of the group. “In other bands there might be a hierarchy as far as who’s in charge and who writes the music, but we make sure to keep everyone involved,” says Katz. “With seven people it can be hard to agree on anything, but to me all the success we’ve had so far has to do with being very democratic and letting everyone have equal say,” Eddy continues. “We all believe in doing it our way, handling everything ourselves and making sure we’re choosing the right songs for the right reasons.”
After years of defying trends and following their own distinct vision, The Dip have steadily amassed a passionate fanbase (an element reflected in their tremendous organic success on Spotify). In the making of Sticking With It, the band kept their ever-growing reach in mind, ultimately creating their most impactful work to date. “With the lyrics I tried to evoke certain emotions that aren’t often showcased in popular music, with the hope that people will come away feeling validated or understood,” says Eddy. Indeed, the title to Sticking With It partly refers to the joyful sense of gritty perseverance The Dip hope to impart to their audience. “We’re in this strange moment when sometimes it’s difficult to even get out of bed because of what’s going on in the world,” says Katz. “But over the years we’ve had so many people tell us that our songs have helped them get through a rough patch, or break through to a new beginning in their lives. That’s something we’re honored to provide for everyone, and hopefully these songs will do the same.”
Joined By Lady Wray
Like most artists, Nicole Wray’s life in music has always reflected her real life. As a fifteen-year-old in Virginia, she auditioned for Missy Elliot in her mother’s home. Even then, with her voice so full and arresting—Missy signed her on the spot. Later, in 1998, merely two years after that tryout, she had a debut solo album and a single that smashed up radio and TV, quickly going gold. But back then—young and unsure—Nicole was essentially following someone else’s lead, signing the lyrics they wrote for her and in the way they wanted them sung.
Fast forward to now, after a few fits and starts with other labels and projects, and you’ll find a very different Nicole Wray. Today, she’s a mother, a wife, and living for herself and her family. So naturally, this evolution followed into her music: she sings how she wants to, expertly writing lyrics for herself and others. To hear her tell it, it’s these things—and most importantly, an unflinching self-belief—that help lead a young and raw Virginian singer named Nicole to become Lady Wray.
“My goal is always to help and to heal people with singing,” she explains. “Part of that is to try and bring back real music, real singing, so people can feel something again.” Now, she’s not dissing anyone here, to be clear. It’s just that Lady Wray cannot sing without tapping into something deeper, searching for that shared compassion between all of us. Perhaps it comes from her church upbringing, or maybe from her years of trials and tribulations in the music industry. Either way, Lady Wray is looking to bring that “Good Sound” back and the good feelings that come with it. She calls it “those inner hands,” and she always means to stir them up, grabbing your attention from within.
With past albums like the Lady project and Queen Alone, it’s hard to not acknowledge that Lady Wray plus Leon Michels production equals magic. But this magic is also coming from the fact that Lady Wray is now squarely herself, calling her shots, and singing to help heal first—everything else is secondary. “It’s a beautiful thing I’ve always wanted in my career, and now I have it,” Lady Wray says. “They encourage me to be me all day long.” This is Lady Wray at her finest, and she’s giving us all a piece of where she’s at these days.
Table and blanket reservations are non-refundable, but can be transferred to another date in the 2022 season.
Please Note: General Admission Donations do not include reserved seating. This is a way to make your gate donation in advance.
Table reservations seat four.
Blanket reservations are placed in the blankets-only area of lawn and do not allow for chair placement.