Indianapolis-based singer-songwriter Brett Wiscons will release his second solo EP, 33, on March 3. Wiscons is a veteran on the Indiana music scene, having fronted Great Scott! for over a decade, as well as with his years in The Michaels. The new EP, which Wiscons calls "the best songs I've written and recorded so far," aims to be his most impressionable statement to date.
Wiscons developed the material for 33 after teaming up with Mark Bryan, Grammy-winning guitarist for Hootie & the Blowfish. The relationship, which dates back to a Hootie concert (Wiscons' favorite band at the time) at the Murat during Wiscons' college days in 2000, has been a fruitful one for Wiscons' growth as a songwriter and musician. All it took for Wiscons to get Bryan on board as a producer was one text from Wiscons (after consistently sending Bryan his recordings over the years), at the encouragement of his sister. Wiscons reached out with one simple text, and Bryan responded, "I'd love to." The parts for Wiscons' next album were in motion.
Why 33? It's a lot of reasons. Wiscons wrote and recorded the songs at the age of 33, its official release date is March 3, and a total of 88 backers on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter raised $11,000 for the album in a mere 33 days. Wiscons says he is "incredibly humbled and definitely surprised by the outpouring of support." As a return on investment, Wiscons wanted to write his best songs to date and deliver on his potential. "I'm certain that happened," he proudly admits.
Wiscons' certainty is rooted in the process of how 33 came to existence. In recent years, Wiscons has sharpened his storytelling craft enough to develop into a published novelist, breaking ground with his Bear Whitman series of detective books. Wiscons says he loves spinning a good yarn, and Bryan pushed him to pursue that direction while writing the songs that would become 33. With a handful of rough song sketches born out of Wiscons' own personal experiences around Indianapolis, Wiscons trekked to Charleston, South Carolina to record the album with Bryan. That's where the songwriting sessions truly came to life. Wiscons says, "He had me stop writing songs and, instead, write short stories without any musical melody in mind. I wrote fifteen shorts and one of the first ones I wrote was also one of the first ones we turned into a song: my first single, 'Sophia's Winery.'"
Even though the artistic breakthroughs became a reality while penning stories in South Carolina, a distinct Hoosier spirit still rings out in the songs of 33. "Broad Ripple" was one of the originals that Wiscons took to Charleston and the only to end up on the record. "Indiana Summer," Wiscons says, "while fictional, is very relatable to me or to anyone else who grew up in the great Hoosier State."
"The new tunes have great lyrics, melodies, killer musicians and a more polished sound than some of the older stuff I've done," Wiscons says. "I feel I'm further up the mountain now than I was a year ago, and I want these songs to have a proper life."
Brett Wiscons' 33 will be released March 3, 2014 via Wiscons' own MAD Diamond Entertainment. In honor of its release, Wiscons will perform at Plat 99 in Indianapolis on February 26, and he will appear on INDY Style on the official release day, March 3. Additional 33 release parties include a show at Cobblestone Grill in Zionsville on Saturday, March 8, as well tour stops in Nashville and Charleston.