By: Hannah Herner, In The Record Store staff writer.
It’s the dawn of a new day for local act Sean Marshall & The Near Miss.
The band released its debut album, “New” on April 14.
“It’s all about displacement and relocation and being in a new place, and while that can be overwhelming, daunting and stressful, the record is about choosing to look at it like blank new slate and a fun new chapter to write more of your story,” Marshall says.
Marshall is originally from New Jersey, but moved to Columbus in 2014 when his then fiancee, now wife, was accepted to a PhD program at Ohio State. He’s written eight of the 10 songs since he’s been here in Columbus.
“In the Bare” was chosen as the single because it encapsulates the group’s rock ‘n’ roll Americana sound and is consistent with the themes on the record, Marshall said.
“People are so afraid of change and I understand that, I feel that, too,” he says. “Change can be really exciting and I think that’s the idea that I wanted to remind myself and other people with this record.”
By day, the singer-songwriter is a high school literature teacher, and says reading the stories feeds his songwriting, while the teacher’s schedule gives him some free time — to tour this summer, for example.
The ninth of 10 kids, Marshall says most of his memories of his childhood involved looking to his older siblings’ music choices and asking them about it.
“I was like ‘oh, there are people doing this? People moving their limbs and making music? I want to do that,’” Marshall says.
While his siblings liked 80's music, he said high school was the most formative time for him musically. He loves Death Cab for Cutie, Iron & Wine, and The Shins — people making great music in their basements, he described.
Marshall started playing guitar at 12 years old, did his first live show at 15 and ran some open mics in New York City in college. Since he’s gotten to Columbus, he’s played for a Ballet Met class and played keyboard for a couple of local projects, including a Johnny Cash tribute band.
Marshall says he has the most creative control he’s had in his music career, spearheading the lyrics and instrumentals for each song. He and the backing band members liked the ambiguity the name supplied.
“One thing that we liked about the idea of the name is the idea of success and what is a near miss?,” Marshall says. “Is it something that you almost had and don’t have or is it something that you do have and almost didn’t have?”
And perhaps if Marshall hadn’t made the move to Columbus he wouldn’t have had the material to write such an album as “New.” With the album's’ theme and in life, he’s kept a positive attitude when dealing with these changes.
“Rather than looking at it like ‘I don’t know anyone here’ look at it like ‘look at all the people I could meet,” he says.