Bryce O'Loughlin is pictured above playing guitar in Jawbone Park. Also pictured is musician Connor McCauley. / Submitted photo

Dear Neighbor: Buckhannon musician releases ‘pure, raw, unpolished’ 2020 compilation

Editor’s note: My Buckhannon columnist Tyler Hall talks to local musician Bryce O’Loughlin about his home recording compilation, ‘Every Way Shape Form and Fashion’ in his latest installment. Check out the collection here.

One of the single most important moments for any artist is the one when they first publish a piece of art.

Whether it be music, writings, paintings, etc., many artists have a hard time making their inner self public – that is, putting their work out into the world. Too often, the fear of public perception stifles and paralyzes the artist. That’s exactly why I chose to interview Bryce O’Loughlin and relay the message of his ongoing net label as well as highlight one of his most recent projects.

Bryce is a native of Buckhannon who’s been a longstanding force of creativity within the town. Since returning to Buckhannon after having graduated Tulane University with a bachelor’s degree in film studies and digital media production, Bryce kept busy with various artistic projects, many of which he has performed at Festival Fridays or the 88 Restaurant & Lounge. Furthermore, he heads a YouTube channel, and manages an independent net label.

Bryce started the Church of Sound net label in the year 2009 in hopes of providing an unashamed archival of local artists.

“The Church of Sound is an outlet and an archive for independent artists of any level,” Bryce explained. “You can record it and release here as if in its own gallery.”

“I think everyone deserves to have their art treated that way, even if they don’t have high production value or they make art that doesn’t fit into the mainstream,” he added. “It’s about having access to being treated as an artist and an equal.”

This mentality helped Bryce to realize a rare opportunity during the pandemic of 2020.

“I went through phases where I just wanted to record some music,” Bryce reflected, as we talked about the hardships of last year. He explained that this fervor to create eventually led him to the idea of a compilation album — one where each person participating would be recording and producing themselves from wherever they may be during the quarantine.

“I put out a calling for anybody who wanted to record an original song,” Bryce told me as we talked over phone. He also admitted that while he never asked for a particular theme, much of the resulting music seemed to be heavily tied to what was going on the world at the time.

The compilation contains nine songs featuring various local musicians and some who are from other states. Like many of the archived projects through the Church of Sound, the audio quality varies greatly from artist to artist.

“It’s pure and raw, unpolished – filled with beautiful inconsistencies and rough edges,” Bryce said proudly.

Having listened to the compilation I could not agree more. The collection of pieces tells its own unashamed story. Many of the performers archived are not full-time artists but rather simply talented individuals. This lent a raw sense of honesty to the album that cannot be understated.

As I stated before often artists can become lost in the channels of industry and public perception. However, there are those like Bryce O’Loughlin who wish to help immortalize art for the sake of the artist. The mission is one of understanding, and total control by the performers. It is a valiant mission, and one that I hope continues to receive support.

To listen to the compilation, titled ‘Every Way Shape Form and Fashion: 2020 home recording compilation,’ click here.

Tyler Hall is a Buckhannon local whose enthusiastic interests include, but are not limited to music, gaming, public service and literature.

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