Americana boundaries pushed by Emergency Room

2012-09-07T00:00:00Z Americana boundaries pushed by Emergency RoomTim Shellberg Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
September 07, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Evan Cominus, co-founder of the region–based outfit Emergency Room & Co., sees little in the way of boundaries when it comes to writing and performing what is generally categorized as Americana.

"To me, it feels free," he said. "It feels punky. You can let loose. There's a lot of different things you can do with this. You don't only have to jam with a banjo and a guitar and sing about blood and hate. Personally, I have a lot of fun experimenting with it. I've always loved acoustics."

Slated to perform Sept. 15 for an all–ages show at Valparaiso's Cornucopia Coffee Company, Emergency Room is the brainchild of Cominus and Cody Watkins, both from Valparaiso, who met through a mutual friend several years ago.

The seeds were sewn for Emergency organically, according to Cominus; what originated as jam sessions between the pair and assorted musical friends evolved into a songwriting partnership.

"We're pretty well rounded," Cominus said of his songwriting chemistry with Watkins. "Usually we write a melody before we write the lyrics, and either one of us will try and put some words to whatever melody we got. It doesn't matter who wrote it, and Cody's really good at that. I'm the guy who takes the songs and sprinkles (musical) stuff on it."

On stage Cominus and Watkins are joined by an assorted lineup of auxiliary musicians, most notably violinist Tom Adamson and Cominus' brother, Stephen Cominus, on banjo.

While Emergency Room has posted a handful of songs — both originals and covers — on YouTube, Cominus and Watkins are recording what will be their first proper collection of songs. Cominus described their material as being a "concept folk" set.

"I'm not going to go out there and say that it's something you've never heard before, but we're trying to express the sound that we're hearing," Cominus said. "All of the songs are more than five minutes long with different change-ups."

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