The Cherry Only Falls So Far from the Tree

Sibling songwriting duo leads KC band’s debut CD

Monday, April 6, 2009

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The Cherry Tree Parade is (L to R): Matthew Collins, Alex Reed, Jon Collins, and Brandon Chavez.

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Submitted photo

Members of the band who played on the new album are (L to R): Matthew Collins, Alex Reed, Abby Livingston-Shelburne, Jon Collins, and Brandon Chavez.

The sound of The Cherry Tree Parade is an amalgam of influences strung together craftily and sometimes jarringly. Alternating between mighty guitar rock and softer elements like folky banjo and whispered vocals, the Kansas City group comes out of the gate strong on its debut self-titled EP.

Brothers Jon and Matthew Collins collaborate on the music and lyrics with a supporting cast that includes guitarist Brandon Chavez and drummer Alex Reed (bassist Abby Livingston-Shelburne played on the EP, but recently parted ways with the group due to an impending move). Their chemistry is apparent on tracks like “Perfectly Polyphonic,” which—true to its title—features multiple vocalists blending harmoniously.

The brothers Collins stopped by our podcast studio to share the new EP and discuss their fetish for alliterative song titles and experimental fiction.

No-fi highlights from the podcast

lawrence.com: Being brothers and all, have you been making music together for a long time?

Podcast episode

The Dog and Pony Show

An interview with The Cherry Tree Parade

The sound of The Cherry Tree Parade is an amalgam of influences strung together craftily and sometimes jarringly. Brothers Jon and Matthew Collins stopped by our podcast studio to share the group's new EP and discuss their fetish for alliterative song titles and experimental fiction.

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Band songs

Cherry Tree Parade

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Matthew: Yeah, we never really had any friends, so we had no choice but to play music together.

Jon (laughing): We were big military brats.

You moved around a lot?

Matthew: We’ve never been in a place more than two years really until we were old enough to live on our own … We moved here from Seattle in August 2007.

Tell us about the new EP.

Matthew: It’s going to be a self-titled EP because all the songs were written about the story of the Cherry Tree Parade. That way everyone will kind of understand why the name exists.

So what’s the story?

Matthew: It’s about a guy, from the beginning of his conception to his death. All the songs are structured as a part of his life. He goes through a lot of trauma. He’s absolutely in love with this girl but he killed her little brother when he was little—by accident. So she absolutely hates him, and her family wants nothing to do with him. He’s basically a stalker.

So this is autobiographical?

Matthew (joking): Yeah. it’s about me.

Jon: No, no …

What was the inspiration for the story?

Jon: Just little elements of life and trying to make them fit into something less personal.

Matthew: It’s a lot easier to write about a broad subject, because there are so many sappy love songs. We wanted to do something more along the lines of country music, where they write stories.

Do you listen to country music?

Matthew: I appreciate it, but I have a hard time with it.

What about the Kris Kristoffersons and Willie Nelsons of the world?

Matthew: We needed them, but I can’t say that I listen to them. Just like Metallica: we needed them, but god I hate them.

Are you fans of alliteration (on songs like “Pity Party for Penny” and “Perfectly Polyphonic”), or is that just a coincidence?

Jon: We all read a lot, so it kind of happens.

Matthew: I never realized it until you said something. Thanks, we’re just going to have one-word titles from now on.

Past Event

The Cherry Tree Parade

  • Wednesday, April 15, 2009, 10 p.m.
  • Jackpot Music Hall, 943 Mass., Lawrence
  • 18+ / $5 - $7

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Past Event

The Cherry Tree Parade / Softee

  • Thursday, April 16, 2009, 9 p.m.
  • Czar Bar, 1531 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO
  • 21+ / $5 - $7

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What have you been reading lately?

Jon: I just got done reading “Invisible Monsters” by Chuck Palahniuk. It was really good.

Matthew: I’m really into experimental authors like Mark Danielewski I’m reading “House of Leaves” and I’m about to start his other book “Only Revolutions.”

What are the advantages and disadvantages of working together as brothers?

Jon: We live together now so we can’t really get away from each other if we get in little tiffs. So there are some disadvantages, but the advantage is that we’re not afraid to be brutally honest with each other.

Matthew: It’s like peanut butter and jelly.

Jon: Both suck by themselves …

Matthew: But they’re kind of delicious together.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Matthew: After we do the EP release we’re going to start the writing phase for our new album. We’re going to stock up on a bunch of merch and work on the business aspect and try to do some stuff independently.

One interesting lyric on the EP is: “It’s hard to get down with pictures of Christ on your wall.”

Jon: That’s a common comment. It’s a bit of a personal, real-life thing, but also kind of a metaphor. This girl that this guy is hooking up with has a picture of her Dad on the wall, and he’s kind of like her everything and she writes about him all the time even though she doesn’t really know him because he took off when she was young. So it’s kind of weird having that awkwardness there, staring at him.

Matthew: Have you ever tried to have sex with your parents watching?

No.

Jon: That’s gross.

That must have come from some sort of personal experience.

Jon: Sort of. Not having my parents watch, but more like a crucifix on a wall. It was even worse because it wasn’t like the peaceful Jesus; it was the “Look what you’re doing to me” Jesus.