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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Annon and TLS mix local, Latin flavors on new album

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Local guitarist Rod Warfield (aka Roderick Annon) has spent time going back and forth between the U.S. and Costa Rica for the last four years. Studying Costa Rica's culture and music has heavily influenced the music he writes.

This became a problem, though, when Warfield was looking for bandmates in Annon and The Late Show. Most musicians in Indiana are too grounded in rock and roll to get into the different rhythms of Latin music.

"I had a hard time finding other musicians who wanted to play this kind of music. A lot of musicians are used to playing 4/4 time -- straight rock and roll," Warfield said. "If you listen, this music is anything but that. A lot of guys said it was too hard for them to try to do."

Unable to teach old dogs new tricks, Warfield turned to younger, more pliable minds. The new Annon and TLS album "Memories Lost in Translation" featured 15-year-old Cloverdale High School students Ethan Williamson on rhythm guitar and Joe Littiken on bass.

"You're getting fresh, young minds that are not set in their ways," Warfield said. "I love playing with teenagers because their minds are so open to change."

Williamson is a guitar student of Warfield. He brought Littiken with him to play one day and Warfield realized the combo might just work.

He added that the boys' experience with school bands and choir keep them open to anything in terms of genres.

"The two boys are so used to playing marching band and jazz band and everything else that it was just great for them," Warfield said. "They got it real quick."

Add to the mix a couple of veterans in the rhythm section -- Greencastle's Chris Trigg on percussion and Indianapolis drummer Robert Keller -- and Warfield has a mix he likes on the new record.

Even the music veterans were impressed with the young players.

"This is the first time I've worked with 15-year-old musicians who know exactly what you're supposed to do and do it," Keller told Warfield.

Warfield is also thrilled with the music itself, saying it is based in the West African rhythms taken to Central America by African slaves.

"This music -- we like to call it smooth, Latin-style R&B -- it has a direct connection with music played in Central America and South America in the style of Carlos Santana," Warfield said.

With one listen to the CD, the Santana link is obvious.

The Latin American flavor is also at work on the album cover, which local artist Jennifer Herrold designed. She based the design on a picture of a palm frond Warfield took while he was abroad. The foreground is a black and white picture of Warfield and his guitar.

The entire lineup will be together for a CD release party at Hoods and Capers on Saturday at 11 p.m. Besides live tunes, and CDs available for sale, it will also feature a showing of the video for "Requiem Blues."

The video features live scenes from a show at Hoods and Capers, as well as scenes with Warfield and Sheriff Steve Fenwick and Deputy T.J. Smith. The police arrest Warfield, put him in jail and eventually release him.

Warfield wrote and directed the video and said it's based on the question "What does freedom mean to you?"

"It was interesting telling Sheriff Fenwick and T.J. what to do. They took direction very well," Warfield said.

The highlight of the night will of course be the music, though. Songs to listen for are "Still I'm Missing You," "Requiem Blues" and "Sweet Memories Lost in Translation."

For those unable to make the show but still hearing what Annon and TLS have to offer, the CD is available for purchase at www.fashionbyannon.com/lateshow/.