Madison was given a mid-week treat when Carl Broemel took the stage with his talented tour mates, Steelism.
Broemel proved himself to be a legendary American rock musician. Breaking away from his band My Morning Jacket for this tour allowed him to dig a little deeper into his personal style and musicianship. He has mastered a number of instruments, including guitar, pedal steel guitar and saxophone, while also perfecting his vocals.
Many gathered in the center of the floor at High Noon Saloon Nov. 7, eager to hear what Broemel would bring to the stage. Even after just a few notes, it was obvious there was loads of talent radiating from the stage. Immediately, the sound struck a stylistic combination of twangy synth vibes over a deep rock ‘n’ roll beat. Both Broemel and Spencer Cullum of Steelism brought the heat with their unique pedal steel sounds.
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It was incredible to witness what a group of talented musicians could create collectively while sounding like they have been playing together for years.
A personal favorite off the setlist, “Sleepy,” is a mixture of mellow vocals over a super groovy dueling guitar riff. The breakdown gave the crowd chills while watching everyone on stage. Aside from the mesmerizing beat, the moody, cool-toned lights added to the soulful rock tones that were cranked out from various instruments.
Before the show, Broemel shared some insight into his musical journey.
When asked about creating his latest work “Wished Out,” he elaborated on the hoops he jumped through to record his own masterpiece.
“I built a studio in my backyard about a year and a half ago and started recording out there,” Broemel said. “As I was working on these songs, I didn’t necessarily have a plan to put a record out.”
The Midwestern-grown Indiana native jokingly explained how he used to fight cover bands to get booked in his hometown. He now lives in Nashville where the music scene is booming.
He started recording by himself and figuring out what he was able to accomplish in his new space. Shortly after, he brought in some of his bandmates from My Morning Jacket to help him bring everything together. It was an accumulated project that he felt was a “good challenge.”
“I have my own space now, and I can just kind of experiment endlessly, and if I need to redo something because I messed it up, I’ll just redo it,” Broemel said.
Broemel finally had a space where he could have unlimited time to work. He learned how to record music again — an incredibly rewarding experience in which he had to “do it all.”
The musician’s favorite recording created in his studio is the title track, “Wished Out.” Broemel was satisfied with how it sounded once it was released. The track was the last one recorded.
Broemel also shared a look into his wide-ranging personal music taste.
“I like jazz and rock and roll and I like new stuff and old stuff,” Broemel said.
Broemel is a huge fan of the new Dr. Dog record, but still listens to the classics such as Nick Drake, Neil Young and Duke Ellington. Being a pedal steel player, he enjoys listening to “old, creepy pedal steel stuff,” which he said is unique. The musician is also passionate about introducing his nine-year-old son to a plethora of iconic music.
“I’m just always floating around,” Broemel said.
Broemel had the opportunity to play with Neil Young but is always a little jealous watching him perform with his band. He also mentioned that he is very thankful for the opportunities to collaborate with other artists that came about through My Morning Jacket.
The talented artist has dreams of playing guitar with Paul McCartney and says the same thing every time he sees him in those dreams: “Put me in!”
His favorite part of the current tour has been working with his backing band Steelism. He loves their versatility and has a wonderful time performing a powerful dual pedal steel bit on stage.
“Since they didn’t play on the album, the cool thing is that the songs are evolving and changing because of it — the music is getting more intense,” Broemel said.
When the record first came out, fans described it as moderately calm and chill, but Broemel disagrees.
“The shows are more rockin’ and kind of intense,” Broemel said.
Broemel, along with Steelism, definitely backed up this statement with their stellar performance. The energy on stage was contagious and no person in the venue could stop tapping their feet. Broemel’s timeless tracks and strong vocals made for a memorable evening.