Reviews

The Game of Monogamy

Author: L. Kent Wolgamott
11/11/2010 | Lincoln Journal Star | www.journalstar.com
Tim Kasher, 36, has been a major presence on the Nebraska music scene for close to two decades. The teen Kasher was in Commander Venus and Bright Eyes, along with his Creighton Prep pal Conor Oberst.

His early 1990s band, Slowdown Virginia, was on Lumberjack Records, the predecessor to Saddle Creek Records, and it provided the inspiration for the name of the Omaha indie label's downtown Omaha club, Slowdown.

When Slowdown Virginia broke up in 1995, Kasher and other members of the band formed Cursive, now one of the stalwarts of the national indie rockscene with a half-dozen albums under its belt.

When Cursive went into hiatus in the mid-2000s, Kasher formed The Good Life, a more folk-oriented outfit that took its name from Nebraska's tourism slogan. The group has released three albums on the Saddle Creek label.

Last month, Kasher released his first solo album, "The Game of Monogamy," also on Saddle Creek. Recorded in Whitefish, Mont., where he moved after spending some time in California, "The Game of Monogamy" addresses, obviously, marriage, family and more "grown-up" subject matter. It's filled with a strings-and-keyboards sound.

Kasher is now on tour supporting the record that will bring him to the Bourbon Theatre on Thursday and to Omaha's The Waiting Room on Nov. 19. He called from the road last week for a quick talk about the new record, the tour, the future of Cursive and some reflection on his career.

On whether he thought he'd still be doing music when he was playing Duffy's Tavern with Slowdown Virginia and Commander Venus two decades ago:

"Think about it this way: I've been doing the same thing since I was 18, 16. When you're a teenager, you assume people in their 30s are really old. If I'd have been asked at 18, 'What will you be doing at 36?' I'd have said being an English professor with a wife and a couple kids. I think it's remarkable that I'm doing the same thing. I'm stuck in this, but it's a great thing to be stuck in."

On the band accompanying on his solo tour and how it can reproduce the strings-laden music on "The Game of Monogamy":

"It's a great band. I have Patrick Newbury, who I've been playing with for a while in Cursive, on keyboards. I have Dylan Ryan, who is a Chicago drummer. I have Lewis Patzner, who is from San Francisco, on cello and bass. I'm working on somewhat of a budget. I can't really take out the symphony. It's why I hand-selected the guys who could pull this off. It's a modified version (of the songs). It's been working well."

On whether he wrote for a solo record differently than he would have if the songs were to go on a Cursive album:

"It shouldn't really matter, but there's more freedom, liberation. I don't have anyone to be responsible to but myself. I'm not representing them lyrically. I did feel free to write more personally. ... It's not really expressing just one's self, but you take some experiences and create a body of work from that. I don't write autobiographically."

On writing about more "grown-up" subjects as he gets older, speaking to the experiences of his generation:

"Even though I touch on the subject of relationships and marriage, I hope I have something new to offer; that's the biggest part of it. Every five years, the songs reflect the changing experiences in our lives. That's why I'm writing about that now."

On where he lives now after moves to California, then Montana:

"I just moved back to Omaha before this tour began. I wasn't sure what to expect from touring this time, and it was too hard to try to tour out of Whitefish, Mont."

On the future of Cursive:

"We try to keep a schedule going, but we have to keep it pretty loose. It is a business, so I'm trying to find tours and keep promoting the record. In between all that, we're able to schedule Cursive practice sessions and writing sessions. We've already started that."

On where he thinks he'll be in another 20 years:

"It's similar to how an 18-year-old would see a 36-year-old. I see a 54-year-old as pretty old. I'll give the stock response: I'll have a wife and a couple kids."
The Game of Monogamy

The Game of Monogamy

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