Lemon’s poetic ‘DEPENDENT’ releases

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Wichita’s music scene came to life Sunday night with an album release party and concert for Wichita State graduate student Joey Lemon’s new album “DEPENDENT.”

The performance was held at Kirby’s Beer Store and featured acclaimed singer-songwriter Samantha Crain as well as Lemon performing songs from his new album. After his live performance, Lemon played the album over the speakers to compare the two versions.

“I think it is interesting to compare the live version and the recorded version of something,” he said. “[It will be] very different; these are fully produced and I’ll just be by myself.”

Some of the songs on “DEPENDENT” transcribed well to acoustic, and others didn’t fare as well. Hearing the recording afterward certainly worked to show how the songs were intended to be heard.

Lemon is studying poetry, and it shows in his new album. The imagery within the lyrics is challenging and at times visceral. Paired with unique rhythms and melodies, the poetry shines through within an avant garde showcase of indie alternative rock.

This is Lemon’s second solo album, but the first where he actually adds a full band feel. Although Lemon is first and foremost a guitar player, and never really breaks from that role with his band Berry, he started five of the six tracks on “DEPENDENT” by recording drums.

“It was pretty fun just to like build songs from a random drum part that may or may not fit in any tangible way,” Lemon said. “That was an experience that I think definitely shaped how the album is different.”

Lemon also broke from the norm by taking advantage of the independence a solo project offers.

“When you’re playing with a band you’re always collaborating,” Lemon said. “I guess I would look at this album as the occasion where I kind of threw all of my band’s rules out the window and chose to just kind of do fun things that I hadn’t really been able to do.”

Crain opened the show with her earthy voice and folk-rock vibe. She was just returning to her hometown of Shawnee, Okla. from a West Coast tour when she stopped by Kirby’s. The night before the show, Crain played in Denver.

Lemon met Crain seven or eight years ago and took her on the road with Berry for her first tour. He also recorded two of her albums in his own studio. He contacted her in hopes that she would help him release his new music. For Crain, it was a no-brainer.

“I don’t get to hang out with him very often,” Crain said. “Immediately, I was like, ‘of course.’”

Lemon said he was lucky she agreed to play such a small venue as Kirby’s.

“She really is incredible,” Lemon said. “It’s almost comical that she’s playing [at Kirby’s].”

Joey Lemon’s album “DEPENDENT,” is now available by download at joeylemonmusic.bandcamp.com.

Samantha Crain’s music is available on iTunes and Spotify.