On their debut album PLANETS OF PLENTY, Chiefly explores the haunting spaces between yearning and self-realization, comfort and triumph, confusion and certainty. And more than all that, each of these songs is friggin catchy as a baseball mitt. The core of the band is: Greg Dember (songwriter/vocals/piano), Jeffrey Lorien (bass, guitar, vocals), Alma Garcia DeLilla (violin) and Noah Dolan (drums).
These players, with help from various other Cellists, Trombonists, Guitarists, Vocalists, and Drummers, cobble together a sound that can totally hang out in the cool corner with today's Indie heroes, but with an originality and sincerity that transcends trend or genre. Both Timely and Timeless.
"Much like the smell of the first day of Spring, Chiefly has been known to cause vauge memories to resurface. With PLANETS OF PLENTY, the band makes a strong debut with haunting melodies and sentimental chord progressions. Greg Dember sings with the clarity of an actor, so when he's just a little too clever.... or a little too simple... you notice. All in all, Chiefly creates a delightful, if nostalgic, presence." -- SEATTLE SOUND MAGAZINE
Chiefly began coalescing in 2003 when Greg Dember (Lavish Cat, Rumpus, Loud Zoo) and Jeffrey Lorien (Coffin Break, Sky Cries Mary, Her Last Arrow) met on the island of Vashon (near Seattle) to which each had moved in a retreat from urban intensity. Their friendship and creative collaboration was driven by a need to find fresh ways of using sound and word to express feeling. Greg soon met Alma Garcia DeLilla, a Seattle author and violinist and with the recruitment of musical whiz kid Noah Dolan on drums, a band was born and a record was ready to be made.
While recording their debut CD, Planets Of Plenty, Chiefly began gigging in small venues around Seattle, such as The Rendezvous and Mr. Spot’s Chai House as well as honing their sound for fans at Vashon venues. With chief songwriter Greg on piano and vocals and occasional guitar, Jeffrey on bass/guitar and background vocals, Alma on violin and Noah on drums Chiefly evoked a style that was unique and yet recognizably influenced by acts such as Elliott Smith, Ben Folds, Death Cab for Cutie, The Velvet Undergound and The Pernice Brothers.
The completion of the CD brought changes, as completions often do. Jeffrey was drawn to the East Coast for personal reasons, and the remaining Chiefly members spent some time searching for a Jeffrey replacement, until they discovered that they actually liked the agility that was possible as a three-piece. Greg gave up the serenity of island life to base himself in Seattle full time and make himself more available to the music scene. Now based in Seattle, Chiefly continues to evolve, adding and subtracting new members (Cameron Herrington, Sam Geren, Thorn Michaels), exploring new venues, and developing new material.
Chiefly’s 14-song CD, Planets Of Plenty was completed in 2005 and released on the band’s own label, Hieronymus Records, in February 2006.
Most of the tunes are built around Greg’s piano-based songwriting, and meaningful melodic violin lines add a compositional twist by taking the part usually filled by lead guitar. Chiefly’s lyrics are wry, fresh and sometimes funny, but do not shy away from serious themes such as loss and the search for self in relationship. Although there is a common feeling across the entire CD, the texture is nicely varied with artfully placed bits of slide guitar, cello, organ and trombone as well as the notable absence of piano on several songs.
The disk, in pre-release, has been played in the local music slots of Seattle stations KEXP-90.3 (Audioasis with Lisa Wood) and KMTT-103.7 (Sunday Morning Brunch with Drew Dundon).