Listen to Fruition perform and chat for WCPO Lounge Acts with host Austin Fast.
COVINGTON, Ky. -- Slightly more than a year has passed since this Portland, Oregon-based quintet last played the Cincinnati area, but Fruition is returning to the Cov Saturday night with a whole new sense of swagger.
Fresh off the Feb. 2 release of their fifth full-length album, Fruition stopped by the WCPO Lounge with a stripped-down, acoustic set that tackled heartbreaking love lost with just a dash of hopefulness.
For the band, "Watching It All Fall Apart" represents far more than a collection of break-up songs. Like a dying tree that falls in a forest, new hope and new life eventually spring forth from the wreckage.
"It describes the feeling of letting go of a sweet love, or of watching the political climate be super gnarly, or watching rainforests get mowed down, or whatever it is, and just being a spectator as well as a participant," said guitarist and vocalist Kellen Asebroek.
Fruition's last Tri-State visit was as a supporting act to Greensky Bluegrass, whom mandolinist Mimi Naja called their "crazy uncles." All that time on the road with the Michigan-based jamgrass band rubbed off on them, said lead guitarist and vocalist Jay Cobb Anderson.
"We are the culmination of every influence that we've had. You try to just use your voice to express feelings that most people have felt before or can be sympathetic with," Anderson said, noting lead singer Paul Hoffman's writing particularly resonates with him. "When you're around a songwriter enough, you start to ... things just get embedded in you. You can pick up on one's style."
In a significant shift from their DIY style on 2016's "Labor of Love," Fruition teamed up with producer Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists, First Aid Kit) to weave his golden thread through every song and make their newest album sound like "magic" in just 10 days' time at Portland's Flora Recording & Playback.
A good producer captures the essence of what a band is going for, and Anderson said that's just what Martine did.
"It was nice to have that captain of the ship, but he was one of those captains that let the crew think they were in charge. We're just out there doing our thing, and that's what he wanted," Anderson said.
Jeff Leonard on bass and Tyler Thompson on drums and banjo round out this folk rock crew. As Fruition tackles its biggest supporting act yet this spring, opening a five-show stint with Jack Johnson, it may be that intimate shows like Saturday's visit to Octave come fewer and farther between.
If You Go
9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17 (doors open at 8 p.m.)
Octave (611 Madison Ave., Covington)