Rock performer Eli August finds musical home in Howard
By David Sturm
Howard County Times|
May 26, 2017 at 11:52 AM
When rock musicians start out, they often have a performing venue they call home. Think of Bruce Springsteen and the Stone Pony nightclub in Asbury Park, N.J.
Then consider Eli August and the Abandoned Buildings, who have found a recording and performing home at the Howard County Historical Society museum in Ellicott City.
That's where the band will play Saturday, May 27, to celebrate the release of its newest CD "Cinematic Love."
The band has a four-year history with the museum dating back to a steampunk-themed event where August was the headliner. His ties to the historical society also include a stint working at Belmont Manor in Elkridge.
"His music was immediately very well received. It was gritty and raw — good stuff," said Shawn Gladden, executive director of the historical society.
Put together steampunk, the late Victorian-era science fiction genre, along with the stained glass and vaulted ceiling of the museum and the band's haunting American roots music and you have a compelling combination.
The play begins with two screaming women running across the stage, colliding with each other and tussling furiously. After this explosive opening, "Tunnel Vision," the new play at Laurel's Venus Theatre, is off and running.
By Dave Sturm
May 24, 2017 at 3:00 AM
For August, 36, its all part of the natural evolution of a band he began organizing in 2011. He's the songwriter, singer and lead guitarist, although he allows that most songs are collaborations with other band members.
The name Abandoned Buildings stems from his time witnessing urban blight while living in Baltimore.
"It all started with finding friends I wanted to play with," he said.
August, a Wisconsin native, is currently a resident of Lochearn in Baltimore County, but he lived a lot of places growing up. He said his musical spark was triggered at age 14. Soon after, a friend put a poem of his to music.
"I said this is what I want to do. I went out and got a guitar," August said.
He listened to everything from John Denver to punk rock. His music also echoes Neil Young, the Band and a multitude of bands who stubbornly adhere to a back-porch music ethic.
He and his band recorded their first album "To the Weak and Weary" in 2012 and the EP "Heartache Suite" in 2014. His 2016 album "Is This Darkness?" was recorded inside the historical society museum to take advantage of the fine acoustics.
Several music videos posted on YouTube reveal a band immersed in what some have called "dark Americana," displaying both sadness and grandeur in earthy settings. There is no ironic detachment in songs like "Honey," "The War" and "Light in This Life," which is about how suicide touches the living.
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The CD release concert, which also features opening acts Positronic Cats and Wanderlight, is at 8 p.m. at the museum at 8328 Court St. in Ellicott City. Admission is $8 in advance and $10 the day of the show.