Q & A with Almost Honest’s Drew Orepeza

San Jose native Drew Orepeza, lead singer of Almost Honest, didn’t always know that music would be his chosen path.

“I always liked to sing. I sang in high school (Pioneer). I didn’t do anything formal, but I would sing at parties,” he said. “I sang at a rally once for fun.”

Even though both of his parents are musically inclined, it wasn’t until after Orepeza graduated from San Jose State University, where he received a degree in Business, that he felt like music was perhaps the right direction for him.

“I was at one of those points in my life where I wanted to do something different. I was a personal trainer, and I wasn’t really happy with what I was doing,” he explained. “So, I decided to drop everything and move to LA when I was 20. So, I started music when I was 20-21. I was a late bloomer, a late starter.”

It was also around this time that Orepeza was introduced to his Almost Honest band-mate, Justin Florence.

“[Justin’s] brother was a radio DJ, and I had cut a demo. I gave it to [him] to listen to; I wanted his critique. It wasn’t very good at that point. He thought there was promise, and he said, ‘My brother is a guitarist. He just got out of a project and he’s looking for something different.’ So he introduced us, and we met at his house one night, and we just jammed. It just kind of clicked.”

Flash-forward to the present, Almost Honest is currently gearing up to release their debut record this early this summer.

This past April, in between flying back and forth to LA to put the finishing touches on Almost Honest’s record, Orepeza and I had an opportunity to sit down one night in Downtown San Jose to talk music, the band, and what to expect from their first record, which Orepeza said, “sounds nothing like what you’ve heard that we’ve done before.”

What artists had an influence on your music?

Growing up, I listened to a lot of 70’s rock. James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, and a lot of classic rock. I think for me, what kind of got me into music was more of the indie scene stuff. An artist named Ernie Halter, Tony Lucca, and some LA guys. I started listening to them around the time I started writing. They kind of inspired me to pick up a guitar and start writing. So, it was more of the indie-folk kind of rock stuff that really got me to where I am with my writing.

How long had you and Justin been playing together before you started playing shows?

After about two months of just trying to throw some songs together, we had a song or two, and we played covers. We had a 6-song set. We played a coffee shop probably like two months after we had met. It was like 12 people. It was like a little coffee shop, but it was fun. I’ll never forget it.

We were really green, but people were like if you guys stick with it, you guys have something special.

Continue reading Q & A with Almost Honest’s Drew Orepeza

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Music Review >> Josh Kelley — ‘Georgia Clay’ EP

Josh Kelley’s upcoming full length album Georgia Clay is due out in spring of 2011, but in the meantime he’s released a three-song EP to give his fans a taste of what’s to come.

Kelley has spent the last two years working on his latest album and has been making people take notice of his talent while on tour with Miranda Lambert.

“I am super excited about these songs,” Kelley said in a press release. “These are the perfect three songs for a three-song EP to give people a little taste of what’s to come.”

The EP kicks off with Kelley’s current single, “Georgia Clay” which he wrote with his brother Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum.

The song came about after reminiscing about an old truck their father used to let them drive in highschool.

“I said, ‘Man, if there’s still some Georgia clay underneath it, if that Georgia clay could speak what would it say?’ It would have seen our childhood and seen Charles and I experiencing our first everythings,” Kelley said.

“Georgia Clay” definitely has that storyteller feel about it. Kelley has a strong vocal, and the tone of his voice makes you believe the sentiment behind the song.

The Kelley brothers collaborated again on the track, “Ain’t Letting Go” along with Patrick Davis. It’s an uptempo song that Kelley described as a guy having a phone conversation with his girlfriend’s answering machine.

“A Real Good Try,” which was written by Kelley is by far my favorite track on the EP. The overall feel and tone of the music are fantastic. The song came across as rather inspiring.

Upon first listen of these three songs, I couldn’t believe how much of Kelley’s sound has changed. And as much as I like these new tracks, I can’t help but wonder what happened to the guy from the 2005 Almost Honest album. I really feel like these songs are toned down in comparison to his previous albums.

Josh Kelley’s Georgia Clay EP is out now.

For more information on Josh Kelley, check out his official website.

Originally posted on BlogCritics.