The Battlefield brings its eclectic take on Americana to Venice for the group’s first Westside gig
By Michael Aushenker
Tapping into rich traditions of folk, gospel and rock for a take on Americana music that’s driven by melodic three-part harmonies, The Battlefield has released a single, toured the southeastern U.S. and played the House of Blues in Hollywood.
Not bad for a band that, six months ago, didn’t even have a name.
Matt Ducey, one of three singer-songwriter L.A. transplants comprising The Battlefield, had his heart set on Civil War Hero. But, as band mate Jenny Weaver pointed out, that sounded too much like one of her biggest influences, The Civil Wars. At a stalemate, Ducey embarked on a long drive. Somewhere between his native Marin County and Los Angeles, Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” came on the radio, and the phrase just clicked.
On Saturday, Ducey, Weaver and James Addison open up a new front for The Battlefield with a show at Witzend in Venice — their first Westside gig.
The term Americana has lately come to describe a broad category of music inclusive of everything from Johnny Cash to the alt-country group Son Volt.
The Battlefield’s sound derives from influences as diverse as Ryan Adams, the aforementioned Civil Wars and indie folk rockers the Lumineers. There’s even a bit of the ubiquitous Brit rockers Coldplay.
“Coldplay’s music helped me realize that I wanted to [become a professional musician] and take it to another level because it’s so emotive,” Ducey said.
To create the group’s unique sound, all three members contribute to writing each song.
Ducey grew up near San Rafael and Addison in North Carolina, but it’s Addison who provides the group’s alternative rock leanings. Weaver, also from North Carolina, brings a country music influence.
The group is also lyrically diverse. The Battlefield’s songwriting address topics that range from breaking ties with exes to global warming to more narrative pieces, including songs about the gay son of a preacher struggling with his identity and a Civil War “Romeo and Juliet” story.
Ducey and Addison met each other working food service at the W Hotel in Hollywood, but the idea for forming a band came after seeing Weaver sing and play ukulele at the Federal Bar in North Hollywood.
“We had a meeting at my house and tried playing one of Jenny’s songs,” Ducey said. “We knew this was going to work.”
While the three maintain day jobs, Ducey is at work on his own EP and Weaver recently released a solo album, but the Battlefield remains at the forefront of their ambitions.
“There really is a power that comes from a strong collaboration that you don’t find working by yourself,” Ducey said. “Just the sound of our voices harmonizing is very infectious. It’s almost like a drug. It feels so good to have a connection with other people like that.”
The Battlefield performs at 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Witzend, 1717 Lincoln Blvd., Venice. Doors open at 7 p.m. for a bill that also includes New Blues Revolution, Katie Cole, the Nashville Gang and Jon Piazza. Admission to the all-ages show is $10 and requires a minimum purchase of one item. Call (310) 305-4792 or visit witzendlive.com or wearethebattlefield.com.