Local band to release album August 10

Local band Vertical Bridge members work with famous names from Nashville. Pictured are (l–r) Jim Douglas (vocals), Brad Thomas (guitars), Dave Ellefson (bass player for Megadeth), Billy Smiley (producer, and founding member of Whiteheart), and Jamie Sorsen (drums).

The past 12 months has been an exciting year for one local band. Vertical Bridge is set to release their debut album “Never Too Late” August 10. The 11-song album features nine originals and two covers including “Shine” by Collective Soul and “She Talks to Angels” by The Black Crowes.

Brad Thomas of Rockford is the band’s guitarist. Jamie Sorsen of Greenville plays drums, and Jim Douglas, also of Greenville, is the lead singer. The three members have been playing together for over 12 years.

The recording process started a year ago in June, when the band made a trip to Nashville for an indie music conference. They went with a demo CD in hand—not knowing what to expect. While at the conference, they met producer Billy Smiley, founding member of the Christian rock band Whiteheart. He was speaking at the conference. The band talked with him and gave him a copy of their demo CD. A couple days later, Smiley phoned them and said he liked what he heard and wanted to meet again with them and discuss making an album.

A month later, Smiley flew to Rockford from Nashville and met with the band. They quickly hit it off and scheduled another visit from Smiley to work on pre-production of five songs. Smiley came back to Michigan in September to complete pre-production and the band was in Nashville in October, recording five songs.

The guys in the band didn’t realize what they were in for. In Nashville, they were introduced and worked with some of the music industry’s great pros, including mix engineer Billy Whittington, who has worked with Carmen, Michael W. Smith, Vanessa Williams and many other artists. Also mixing part of the album was mix engineer Richie Biggs, who has worked with many artists and bands including Switchfoot, Newsboys, Michael W. Smith and most recently won two Grammy awards for his work on the Civil Wars Album Barton Hollow.

The band was between bass players during recording. Smiley, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., but works in Nashville, is friends and neighbors with Megadeth bass player David Ellefson. Smiley sent the material to Ellefson to see if he was interested in providing the bass tracks for the band. Ellefson liked the music and offered to assist.

In November, the band flew to Phoenix and met with Smiley and Ellefson and sat in during the recording process.

A few weeks later, Smiley and the band decided that since the first five songs went so smoothly, they would just go ahead and make a full album. So Smiley flew back to Rockford in January for pre-production of the final six songs, and the band was back in Nashville at the end of February to record.

Fast forward to July—all the mixing and mastering is complete, the CDs are being manufactured and the CD release event is scheduled for August 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Greenville Community Church, 6596 Vining Road, Greenville. Doors open at 7 p.m. and admission is free.

The new album will also be available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and elsewhere on August 11. For more information about the band, visit www.verticalbridgeband.com.

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