Native musician finds locality inspiring

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BRATTLEBORO — A native musician never tires of the area's aesthetics and allusions can be found in his latest recording.

"I've always found growing up in Vermont and living here really inspiring, the beautiful nature," said Andrew Laitres.

Laitres, who released "Mr. Sun" under The Winter Tree band name in February, uses recording equipment at his home in Brattleboro. He grew up in the area and lived here all his life with the exception of a year spent in Seattle, Wash.

A number of things inspired the latest album including life experiences, spirituality and music.

"Of course, every musician has a lot of influences," Laitres said. "I have a pretty wide scope from the Beatles to Frank Zappa. I try to soak it all in."

He plays acoustic guitar, keyboards and bass on the album. He also sings.

Also on guitar is Neil Taylor, who performed with Tears for Fears and Chris Deburgh.

One of the lead singers is Alistair Gordon. He contributed lead vocals for an album from Tony Banks, the keyboardist of Genesis, and played in a band called Sad Cafe, a British group from the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Tom Dupree, a young drummer from Nashville, Tenn., was also involved in the project.

The album, which came together in about one year, features 10 songs and a bonus track.

"I worked with a lot of people," Laitres said. "Now, with the internet, you can send files."

He would send tracks to the musicians and they would send their parts back. Then the parts would be mixed together.

The title track is a metaphor for "the source of life," Laitres said.

"It could be God for some people, it could be the great spirit," he said. "Plus, it's a metaphor for hope and positivity. There's so much kind of brash and negative music in the world now. I like to be counteractive occasionally."

Laitres describes the music as "art rock." Others have called it "prog rock."

While Laitres loves playing live, he has found it to be too expensive to tour in support of the album. He previously performed with cover bands in the 1980s.

The album has been sold at stores throughout the world and online at Amazon or thewintertreeband.com.

"I sold quite a few of them in Germany," Laitres said. "There's a big distributor there. They always order a lot of them."

His albums — this is number 16 since 1985 — sell enough to make him want to do another one, he said. Expecting a new release this coming February, he was in the middle of recording an acoustic guitar part when the Reformer called for the interview. He is finding collaborators from around the world including a drummer from Florida, a singer from Macedonia, a keyboardist from Argentina and a sound mixer from Mexico.

His goal now is to leave a good body of work behind. He looks at recordings as a time capsule.

"I figure 25 albums would be a good life's work," he said. "Some people do more than that, which is good."

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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