Changing the game
Little Elephant celebrates one year with a party, new release
When Rob Courtney was studying audio engineering at Butler University, he didn’t have a starry-eyed gaze fixed on the massive coastal studios. Instead he saw an emerging scene, one that needed a catalyst and he seized the opportunity. After graduation he moved back to Toledo to start up Little Elephant Recording — in one year they have recorded and mastered more than 15 albums, including one of his own, the debut from The MIracle Vitamins, a folk duo consisting of Rob and his brother Russ.
“I saw that the music scene was growing in Toledo and I thought it would be a good idea to start recording these bands at a reasonable price,” Courtney, who started the studio with fellow Butler grad Brian Gross-Bias, says. And that’s exactly what happens at Little Elephant; instead of rushing bands on a hourly rate, they charge by song, allowing room for a quality finished product. After all, the musicians are as much of friends as clients in a tight-knit scene and Little Elephant is putting their stamp on each record. Recently, they put together their business model, and it says a lot about their lighthearted, yet simultaneously serious stance: “To have fun and make good recordings.”Michael Corwin and Timothy David - Double EP
For two singersongwriters who are relatively similar, yet are different enough to attract separate audiences, a split EP is a pretty damn good idea. Mike Corwin — an alt-country folkie with an evocative, gritty Americana touch — and Timothy David (Little Black Mess)— a dark folk-punk storyteller with straight-ahead raspy power — are dropping four songs each (neither play on each other’s tracks) onto a self-titled debut, double EP. The two met a few years ago helping a mutual friend move and started recording last fall. Both have made the most of their archives on the EP, carefully brushing through and punching up their core songs. Collectively, the most impressive element is what they’ve added and how they layered the songs they often play solo. Corwin’s “I’m the Problem Here” has fingerpicked guitar verses backed by rhythmic, driving drums, full chorus’ with subtle harmonies and organ as well as a banjo that sneaks into the second half of the track. Timothy Davis’ Believeland kicks out sporatic blasts from a dirty lead guitar — backing the heavy acoustic strumming — that brings raw hard-swinging force, without being overwhelming. It’s a finely polished release.
The Little Elephant Family
Bands recorded in their first yearThe Strong Talk
The Miracle Vitamins
Black Market Children
This Severe Lifestyle
Phantom Limb Syndrome
D.B. Cooper Duo
Unsinkable Molly Brown
The Faux Paus
Little Elephant will celebrate one year with Michael Corwin / Timothy David (Split EP release), J.W. Carlson and The Miracle Vitamins on Friday, July 6 at the Ottawa Tavern, 1817 Adams St. Free. 10pm.