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lo.automatic: high expectations

By Sean Smith

Fort Wayne Reader


Lee Miles’ favorite comedian is Neil Hamburger. This is essentially all you need to know about Miles. It speaks volumes that his funnyman of choice has made a career out of being patently unfunny. Such is the un-rock n roll lifestyle of Miles. He doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, doesn’t stay out late. What does he do? He writes amazing songs.

He also has quite a gift for picking who to make music with. What started out as a duo of Miles and Kyle Morris soon morphed into a band in late 2005/early 2006. Miles plays guitar and harmonica and handles the majority of vocals, Morris plays guitar and adds vocals, and Philip Kurut began drumming with Miles and Morris in the later months of 2005. James Musselman a.k.a. Longsleeves joined the band in January handling keyboards and various other instruments, while also supplying vocals. In the none too distant past, Jon Keller and Matt Dutiel climbed aboard, playing guitar and bass respectively.

They have already played a handful of shows, including their first: a drag show in South Bend. They have already graced the stage of Columbia Street and recently did a show with some out of town talent. Sam Lowry (Bloomington), Brandi Haile (Nashville), and Sam King (Fayettville, Arkansas) all split the night with lo.automatic.
“It was great to share the evening with other musicians who write their own material,” says Miles.

“We seem to get a positive reaction with each show we play. People seem into it and maybe it’s my imagination but it seems like the audiences keep getting bigger. It’s a nice feeling to see more people every time we play. It serves as a sort of validation,” acknowledges Miles. “We’re currently working on an album and we are just as anxious as everyone else to see its release. We have a demo up and running on our MySpace page (www.myspace.com/loautomatic), but I keep getting the sense that it’s not enough. People want more. Again, that’s a nice problem to have and it’s humbling.”

How does Miles explain the sound that comprises lo.automatic? In a word: Wilco.
“I guess you could make an argument for both periods in the relatively young career of Tweedy’s band. I think the majority of our stuff settles more into the second phase. Along the lines of ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ or ‘Ghost is Born.’” admits Miles.

“There’s elements of Sparklehorse and Neil Young as well,” adds Musselman.

“After the album is released we would really like to play as many shows as possible with other original bands. Either in town or on the road,” says Morris, “That’s the plan for the moment.”

“The kinda bands or musicians that I have in mind for right now are kinda varied, but they come to mind because they all share the same spirit and end goal: good original music. Bands like 2Big2BeBuried and Luworm from South Bend and the Matthew Sturm Band from here in the Fort. I think the Trainhoppers put on a great show every time they get on stage. Mike Conley and all the folk artists in town. Cathy Serrano, Drew Munger, and Allison DeMaree,” continues Miles, “I can’t forget about the younger artists that are coming up and continue to impress: Ben Latch, Tesia Lapp, and Andy Sheer. They are all incredibly worthwhile.”

Speaking of the Matthew Sturm Band, lo.automatic will be joining them onstage during the Wayne Calhoun series on June 2nd at 7 p.m.

“This Wayne Calhoun thing seems like a really good time. We’re very glad to be a part of it. Honored, really. We hope it will be supported by the folks here in Ft. Wayne and the surrounding area.”

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