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Seattle Band Focuses On Sunny Sounds

Courtesy Photo

Seattle musician Tim Wilson formed the band Ivan & Alyosha in 2007 with his friend Ryan Carbary. Since 2009 the group—rounded out by Wilson's brother Pete and guitarist Tim Kim—has recorded and issued a series of mini albums, but February saw the release of the group's first full-length, All The Times We Had.

Wilson says he was confident about the record even during the earliest stages of recording. “It felt pretty special early on,” Wilson recalls. “I remember texting our manager that and he was, like, ‘Yeah, yeah.’”

The band has long been a favorite of the staff at NPR Music and a number of press outlets. Wilson says that having support from those areas has been important while the group builds its fan base.

“It’s certainly given us the ammo to keep going and keep on making records,” he says. “The NPR Music guys in particular have been with us since the get-go, before anybody knew about us.”

Some might find it odd that a band from Seattle is often referred to as having a distinctly Californian sound by members of the press. But Wilson says he understands why.

“Maybe, to me, it’s just kind of a West Coast sound,” he adds. “I know we’ve got a little less sunshine but we’re kind of obsessed with Los Angeles because of the weather and we love it down there. We love The Beach Boys and The Monkees and whatever else."

All The Times We Had features a few songs the group has issued on previous mini albums. One of them, "Fathers Be Kind," is a longtime fan favorite and written by Wilson's brother, Pete.

“He had played that song at an open mic or something here in Seattle,” Wilson says, “and I went up to him afterwards and said, ‘Hey, Pete, I’m gonna steal that song. I wanna sing it. I think this was way before he was even in the band.”

Another song, "Easy To Love," has been another favorite. Wilson says the band frequently hears from fans who have played it as a first dance at weddings. Its origins, however, are more personal.

“I wrote that about my wife understanding my own nonsense and shortcomings,” says Wilson.

Ivan & Alyosha performs at John Barleycorn's Saturday evening.