Elliot Waits For No One releases second album
Sevastopol musicians Brian Troch and Jenny Franck spent enough time immersed in the music industry to realize they wanted more creative freedom than it often offers.
That’s why, in 2016, they formed the alternative-rock band Elliott Waits For No One (EWFNO for short.)
“Labels push you to write a certain way,” Franck said. “They kind of box you in. So this group that we formed was specifically so we could have the freedom to write whatever we felt like.”
The result is a sound that defies genre. EWFNO will release its second album, Midnight Melody, next month, and Troch described it as “Americana meets jazzy blues meets grunge.”
Franck, who supplies the band with vocals and guitar, while Troch sings and plays bass, guitar, percussion, synthesizer and piano.
The two main band members are backed up by a small pool of collaborators, all of whom Troch and Franck met through years of music-industry connections. The full lineup includes Ryan Carney (cello,) Jaben Pennell (production, drums, guitar,) Todd Wolf (drums, dobro, mandolin,) Michael James Marchesano (production,) John David Provitt (trumpet,) Diego Leanza (guitar) and Jeff Tortora (drums and backing vocals. He also plays for the Blue Man Group.)
Notably, there are no Elliotts in the band; instead, the group is named after Troch’s and Franck’s mutual affection for musicians Elliott Smith and Tom Waits.
Troch and Franck, a married couple who met while working under the same record label, are the only two members of the band who live in Door County. Franck had vacationed on the peninsula since she was a child and had always wanted to live there. When she brought Troch to the area on a birthday trip, he felt the same. Around four years ago, they moved from the Burlington area to the peninsula.
“It was the best thing we’ve ever done,” Troch said. “I wish we would have done it 20 years ago.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the band is scattered across the country, residing in Nevada, Illinois and California.
This makes for a unique album-creation process. Much of it occurs online, with band members texting each other ideas and recording tracks in their own studios to send to their producer, Pennell, who mixes them and adds his own flair.
Making music in this manner took some getting used to, but Troch and Franck now enjoy it.
“I remember having to leave the world of analog and two-inch tape behind, and I did that kicking and screaming,” Troch said. “Now, I don’t know how I got along without digital editing.”
The process works, in part, because the musicians have worked together face-to-face in the past, having recorded most of their self-titled debut album at Pennell’s studio in-person.
“It’s not like it’s a new relationship where we’ve never met,” Franck said.
According to Troch and Franck, EWFNO’s newest album is an eclectic one, made up of songs written during and before the pandemic. Backed up with string instruments like ukulele, mandolin and cello, Midnight Melody is an earthier, more acoustic-based album than their first, ranging from alternative rock to blues to folk.
“It’s hard when people say, ‘What do you sound like? Send me one or two songs,’” because the band’s stylistic range is hard to encapsulate with just a track or two, Troch said.
EWFNO’s new album is set to come out Feb. 24. It’ll be accompanied by a focus track, Marry My Girl, on the same day, and preceded by a single, Sky Walker, which drops Jan. 28. But the completion of Midnight Melody doesn’t mean EWFNO is taking a break from making music. Far from it – they already have plans to make music videos and release some covers after the album drops.
The pair also wants to connect with their local music scene more. They hope to play more shows – starting with a set at Stone Harbor Resort on March 16, 6:30-10 pm – and connect with Door County musicians, naming Hans Christian and Dirty Deuce as two of their favorites. Their musical wish list includes a cellist, a horn player, a drummer and a standup bassist.
Because EWFNO’s shows only star two members of the full band, their live sound is much different than what appears on their albums, with Troch and Franck saying they almost sound like two different bands. Their live shows, which feature acoustic covers and originals, sound closer to the folksy singer-songwriter sets that are the norm in Door County – though fitting the mold isn’t EWFNO’s goal.
“We’re not worried about sounding different,” Franck said.