On Stage (Extra): Kozie beginning to make a name for himself

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By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times


Kozie can mean different things to different people.

People familiar with the Slovak Republic know it as an area in the western Carpathian Mountains. Other people know Kozie as a clothing line that makes high-quality special needs children’s clothing.

Music fans in the Philly area and Los Angeles know Kozie as a rock musician who is starting to make a name for himself on both coasts.

Kozie the musician is actually Cody Sherman, an indie-rock singer/songwriter/guitarist from Burlington County, New Jersey.

Kozie, who now lives in L.A.,  just released his debut single “Life Is A Bitch” and is back in the area for a show July 21 at the Foundry at Fillmore Philadelphia (1100 Canal Street, Philadelphia, 215-309-0150, www.thefillmorephilly.com).

“I don’t know how I got started in music,” said Kozie, during a phone interview Wednesday morning from his parents’ house in Chesterfield, New Jersey.

“I just got interested in playing acoustic guitar when I was 12. I stared. I started paying electric guitar a year later. Some of my early influences were John Mayer, Pink Floyd and the Talking Heads.

“When I was a little older, I was putting shows together in South Jersey and I’d also put myself in the show. I never really had a band. I was always a solo act.

“I went to L.A. to record when I was 19. I went out there to record with Carlos de la Garza. Now, I’m working with Gavin Mackillop. He’s a producer who has worked with Phoenix, Goo Goo Dolls, and Miley Cyrus.

“He suggested that I move out to L.A. because of the rock scene here – so I did. I’m living in Santa Clarita, which is close to his studio and not nearly as expensive as other parts of L.A.

Kozie is on the brink of releasing his debut full-length.

“The album is pretty much done,” said Kozie. “I’ve been recording it at Gavin’s studio in North Hollywood. I’ve spent the last year-and-a-half working in the album.

“For the most part, I do everything — guitar, bass, piano. But, Gavin also brings in some session guys for other parts. I’ve been writing songs for it for the last two or three years.

“The first single ‘Life Is a Bitch’ came out about a month ago and the second single ‘Fly’ was released two weeks ago. I know the songs were released pretty close ot each other but I just wanted to get some songs out there because I’m going on tour.

“After I finish this tour, I’ll be going back to L.A. to record four more sings. Then, I’ll be back out on tour in October. When I’m playing on the road, it’s me along with a keyboard player and a bass player.

“I’m excited about this show at the Foundry. It will be my first time back to play in Philly since I moved to L.A. four years ago.”

Video link for Kozie – https://youtu.be/35zH4Q8tbEU.

The show at the Foundry has a massive lineup – Promise of Redemption (featuring Shane of Valencia), Best Ex (formerly Candy Hearts), Baggage and Kozie. The show will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Fruit & Flowers

Music fans attending the July 21 show at Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 South Ninth Street, Philadelphia, www.conniesricrac.com) will also definitely get their money’s worth.

The show will feature five tainted young rock bands – Fruit & Flowers, SpacePizza, Wyldflowers, WorstOnes and Blushed. And, admission to the show is only $8.

Fruit & Flowers – Caroline Yoder (bass/lead vocals), Ana Becker (lead guitar/vocals), Lyzi Wakefield (rhythm guitar/vocals), Jose Berrio (drums) — is a Brooklyn-based “surf noir” band that just released its debut EP “Drug Tax” on June 30 via Little Dickman Records.

“We started making the EP in February 2016,” said Yoder, during a phone interview Monday afternoon from a tour stop in South Carolina.

“It took us a while. We just finished mixing it this February after we finished a West Coast tour.”

Fruit & Flowers are one of the most active bands in the New York City area, and have been named one of “NYC’s Hardest Working Bands” by Oh My Rockness.

“This is our third tour this year,” said Becker. “We’ve toured the West Coast, played SXSW and did shows in the Midwest. We do play a lot of shows.”

Fruit & Flowers’ exuberant, electric performances always satisfy enthusiastic audiences. Becker’s angular, expressive guitar style and Wakefield’s gritty rhythmic backbone merge a post-punk heaviness with psychedelic warmth.

Charismatic front woman Yoder summons a fervent energy, surrounded by distinct, warm and refreshing three-part harmonies, which are the foundation of Fruit and Flowers sound.

Conceived in a Bushwick loft during the summer of 2015 by Yoder on bass and Shaw Walters on drums, the band’s lineup was completed by the addition of Wakefield and Becker on guitars and vocals.

“I had been living in New York and wanted to start a band with people who shared a similar vision,” said Yoder. “I have a friend in Shark Muffin and I watched how she got her band off the ground. I thought – I can do this. It wasn’t that difficult. I met Lyzi at a Shark Muffin show and then met Ana through our original drummer. That was April 2015. Our first show was in June 2015 as part of the Northside Festival in Brooklyn. We’re all living in Brooklyn now.”

None are Brooklyn natives. Yoder grew up in northern Virginia. Becker is from New York and Wakefield is a native of Amarillo, Texas. Berrio is a Colombian citizen from Bogota.

“Right after our first show, we just tried to keep playing constantly,” said Yoder. “We hit the ground running and got some nice shows pretty quickly.”

Weaving together the perspectives and expressions of the band’s multiple songwriters, “Drug Tax” presents the unique and varied voice of Fruit & Flowers.

The well-structured EP was recorded at Thump Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It was engineered and co-produced by John Thayer, and mixed and mastered by George Harris. Berrio designed the band’s logo and album art.

“This was our first effort,” said Wakefield. “We took our time because we wanted it to be a good representation of what we sound like. We wanted to make sure it was really right. The next one won’t take as long.”

Video link for Fruit & Flowers – https://youtu.be/DTR246Km6co.

The show at Connie’s Ric Rac, which also features SpacePizza, Wyldflowers, WorstOnes and Blushed, will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8.

Abbie Gardner

Abbie Gardner is no stranger to area music fans.

She has played locally numerous times — as one-third of Red Molly and, more recently, as part of a duo project with Jesse Terry.

Now, Gardner is on the road as a solo act and will visit the area on July 22 for a show at Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043,www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com)

Gardner, a talented dobro player and multi-instrumentalist, has been touring with Americana act Red Molly for more than a decade. She also has three CDs on her own notable for award-winning songs.

“I’m doing stuff from my whole catalog,” said Gardner, during a phone interview last week from her home in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“I’ll be doing a lot of solo stuff. Instrumentally, I’ll be sticking mostly to dobro. I used to do guitar but dobro now is my main instrument. I love it. It frees me up for vocals and melodic lines.

“My main dobro was made by Paul Beard. I play a Hipshot dobro which is like two instruments in one. You can pull a lever and change the tuning. I put everything through a compressor microphone. It’s a throwback sound.”

Gardner’s songwriting has brought her much acclaim including 2008 Lennon Award Winner (folk) for “The Mind of a Soldier” and 2008 American Songwriter Magazine Grand Prize Lyric Winner for “I’d Rather Be”. Her song “Honey on My Grave” was also published in Sing Out! Magazine in 2008.

“Lately, I’ve been writing starting with melody and getting the words later,” said Gardner. “I try to work on it until it’s so stuck n my head that it seems like it’s on ‘repeat.’ That’s the early stages.

“I don’t record a demo until I’m set on the melody. If a melody comes to me when I’m out – say in a park – I’ll put it on my cell phone. If it happens at home, I’ll use ProTools.”

There’s good news for fans who are awaiting a new Abbie Gardner solo album.

“The new album is recorded,” said Gardner. “It’s in the process of being mixed right now. It has 13 tracks – 12 originals and one cover – all with vocals.

“Three of the songs were co-writes. One was done in Nashville when I wrote with David Olney. I wrote another with Molly Ventner from Red Molly and the other with Chris Stapleton, a country writer.

“In my current live show, I’m playing five of six originals from the new album and some older songs. I usually throw in one or two Red Molly songs – with different arrangements. On this tour, I’m joined on guitar by John Paul Ruggieri.”

Video link for Abbie Gardner – https://youtu.be/BpbLfxf5sKM.

The show at Steel City, which also features Brittany Ann, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18.

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