local music scene south carolina
Lay Quiet Awhile
I have spoken before about how I was living in California when South Carolina was at the peak of what I like to call its “Golden era” of music. This would be the time period somewhere just before Hootie and the end of the 90’s, a very experimental and rich presentation of artistic development both in music and the scene it rested comfortably on. I’ve been putting these showcases together now for almost five years and each one is a deep study on every nuance of each artist and band represented. From the music to the video performances, the songwriting and composition to the tattered photographs and music samples. I realize I am in a most unique position from an historical point of view and I’m learning that is actually accentuated by the fact that I missed just about the whole thing. You see, I get to hear these artists for the first time, for me everything is on face value and I find I’m enjoying that aspect very much.
I have known about Lay Quiet Awhile for years but these past two weeks I have truly gotten to know them and their body of work through my research. Being no fool I clearly understand Danielle Howle’s place in the South Carolina music scene and yes, she is a treasure, but what I took away from this band and this study was the fact that she was one of four talented musicians. In the mix of what became Lay Quiet Awhile I could clearly see how she grew and developed more as an artist by working with them and they grew and realized their sound by working with her and I believe this is as it should be. Everyone here is an exceptional talent, great players no doubt, and I am grateful for discovering new music to add to my private playlist.
The Lay Quiet Awhile story began in 1986 with brothers Phil and Dan Cook. Both were musically inclined (Phil played guitar and Dan played bass and had studied violin), and the legendary Washington DC punk scene had inspired them both. Dan had already played in the local DC-inspired Virginia hardcore band Kids for Cash, and was ready to move on to something more diverse and challenging. Phil and original singer Greg Broom were absorbing the music of the Southeastern college rock scene (R.E.M, etc.) and the Paisley Underground (Rain Parade), and a project they called Lay Quiet Awhile was conceived. The band roster changed during its early stages, but they did release an independently produced and distributed EP, the self-titled “Lay Quiet Awhile” vinyl EP, in 1987 with Greg on vocals. They also had a song placement on the locally distributed compilation album titled “Another Pesky Compilation Album,” which was put together by DJs from the WUSC college radio station in 1988.
That same year saw the addition of front person Danielle Howle on vocals, guitar and songwriting. Together with drummer Troy Tague, who joined in 1987, they released a six-song cassette titled “The Other Eggs Are Waking Up”. With Danielle Howle joining the band that distinctive Lay Quiet Awhile sound came into full focus. But how exactly would one categorize that sound? Critics have described it as "eccentric buzz-mania" and "a blending of folk and punk without the sudden gearshifts that one might expect". The band described themselves as "melodic thrash folk metal.”
Lay Quiet Awhile built a reputation for being one of the Southeast's most promising (and eclectic) bands, opening for acts as diverse as Fugazi (who became big fans) and the Indigo Girls. It was at a 1992 show in Charleston, SC where the band caught the ear of the Indigo Girls’ Amy Ray, which landed them a recording contract with Daemon Records. Also in 1992, they contributed an early version of the song “Time Won’t Help” to the legendary Columbia compilation album “Please No Profanity.” Then in 1993, with the inclusion of drummer Dave Wright (who had a musical background that included structured drum corps and improvisational jazz ensembles), they released their first full-length offering titled “Delicate Wire,” which was recorded at Inner Ear Studios in Washington DC with Fugazi producer Don Zientara, and released by Daemon Records. In May of 1994 “Delicate Wire” was licensed to Southern Records for release in the UK and Europe with new artwork and packaging. The band’s last release was a vinyl EP recorded in Charlotte, NC, “Live at the Milestone,” released in 1994.
Greg Broom – vocals (1986 - 1987)
Danielle Howle - vocals, guitar (1988 - 1995, 2018)
Phil Cook – guitar (1986 - 1995)
Dan Cook - guitar, violin (1986 - 1995, 2018)
John Furr – guitar (2018)
Trae Eller – drums (1986)
Mason Stokes – drums (1986 - 87)
Troy Tague – drums (1987-1990, 2018)
David Wright – drums (1992 - 1995)