Travel influences local band’s first album, ‘UpRooted’

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published August 7, 2013

 Aaron Markovitz, a Ferndale native, right, is the lead guitarist and singer of Escaping Pavement, with band members, from left, Evan Profant, Niall Sullivan and Emily Burns.

Aaron Markovitz, a Ferndale native, right, is the lead guitarist and singer of Escaping Pavement, with band members, from left, Evan Profant, Niall Sullivan and Emily Burns.

Photo submitted by Emily Burns

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FERNDALE — Aaron Markovitz’s music career has taken the Ferndale native from his hometown to Los Angeles and even to the open sea as he played on cruise ships. But ultimately, Markovitz ended up back at home to see his career blossom.

Markovitz, 26, is the lead guitarist and singer for Escaping Pavement, a Detroit-based Americana band that dabbles in rock, folk and country. On June 26, the band released its first album, “UpRooted,” during a launch party in Ferndale.

Yet, if it hadn’t been for his time on the West Coast or on cruise ships, the opportunity to release an album may not have happened, Markovitz said.

“In Los Angeles, we went into the studio and recorded a couple of songs, but at that point, it was too costly and we didn’t finish it,” he said. “When we got back here, we had the idea that we wanted to record an album, so we went on the cruise ships to get money together and make it happen. This has been something we have wanted to do for a long time, but we took a bit of a hard way to get here.”

Markovitz started playing guitar at the age of 7 when he would hang out with his neighbors and listen to them play. From there, he started listening to Nirvana and learning new songs, but it wasn’t until 2005 when he met Emily Burns that things started coming together for his music career.

Burns, an Oxford native, met Markovitz during an open mic night in Lake Orion and the two kindled a friendship that has lasted. The two played in a couple of bands together but, eventually, they both wanted to attend music school out in Los Angeles.

“We went out to Los Angeles in 2007 and the program was a one-year program, so we went to school five days a week and then stayed out there for a little while, for about two years,” Markovitz said. “We met a lot of cool people and musicians and (were) writing a lot of songs those years. We put the effort in to get something going.”

Through moving and cruise ships and multiple bands, Markovitz and Burns have remained together, playing music. While other bands rotate through people on a frequent basis, Burns said she and Markovitz have just stayed connected since the first time they met.

“I think sometimes you play with certain people and it’s really some kind of a connection with them — who knows what it is, really, but you have something that works really well when you play together,” Burns, 25, said. “We can read where one another is going with something and we get ideas from each other and feed off each other. With all the hard work we have had to do to get to this point, we have just kept playing together.”

When Markovitz and Burns got back from their cruise-ship- playing days, they reconnected with some friends — drummer Evan Profant and bass guitarist Niall Sullivan. Profant was a former high school classmate of Burns and played with the duo for some time, while Sullivan auditioned to go on the cruise ship but didn’t end up going.

Through all the former band members and the current lineup, Escaping Pavement has found their sound in a unique way, Burns said.

“We have tried so many different variations of our group, and each time someone plays with us and leaves, they have all left their little stamp and influence on us,” she said. “If you are specifically listening, you can hear those influences popping through from the past. It all blends into Americana and country now, but from the vocals and the lyrics to the background music and the guitar solos, you can hear those influences still.”

The recording process was a different task altogether, Markovitz said, and didn’t go exactly as they had expected.

“It takes a while to have a song come together as it is on the album,” he said. “Some of the songs were written quite a ways before the recording process and a few songs were written kind of halfway when we went into the studio. Some songs, we rehearsed them and went through them to make changes and tighten up, and others, we wrote in the studio and hadn’t played them much, but they worked out.”

Markovitz remains in Ferndale and Burns has made her way to the city, as well. While it has taken almost 10 years for the duo to find the right band members and get everything together for an album, they said it has been worth the wait and hard work.

“The theme of the album, ‘UpRooted’ — that is the way we felt the past few years, kind of not knowing the direction to get things done,” Markovitz said. “We were going different paths, and some things worked out and some did not work out, so we had to change directions. We did a lot of traveling, but we wanted to come back home.

“It really is something to see something like the album come together, finally, in a finished product. It is definitely a pretty satisfying thing.”

For more information on Escaping Pavement and the album “UpRooted,” visit www.escapingpavement.com.

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