Artist reveals 'View From Within'

April 09, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

In explaining how he's matured as an artist, Conner Gilbert said his song writing process used to be no longer than 15 minutes.

"I had it set to a formula," said Gilbert, 22, of Hagerstown. If he couldn't crank it out in 15 minutes, the song sat somewhere and collected dust, Gilbert said.

But that was then. Gilbert, the former guitar player and vocalist of the defunct rock group Basement, is billing himself as a solo act. He's performing an acoustic show Friday at Ava, the downstairs lounge of Duffy's on Potomac in downtown Hagerstown.

Gilbert is also a former Herald-Mail stringer and son of Herald-Mail Chief Photographer Kevin Gilbert.

Formed in 2003, Basement was the quintessential high school rock band. But the band split up in 2006 after the guys went off to college. Gilbert said there were no hard feelings. Everyone still keeps in touch.


Aside from the upcoming show, Gilbert has a lot going on. His first solo album, "The View from Within," is coming out later this month. He revisited some of the old tunes -- some back from his Basement days -- and has created some new ones for "View."

Instead of using the clock as a creative filter, he's testing the new stuff on audiences.

Gilbert's music will also be featured on a radio show in Liverpool, 7 Waves Community Radio (, on April 15, a feat he attributes to networking online. He's been gaining traction as a performer in and around his school, St. Vincent College, near Pittsburgh. Gilbert is a senior majoring in communications.

So why is all this happening now? Gilbert chatted about it with The Herald-Mail from his dorm room, a day before he came back home for Easter break.

"I wanted to get something out there primarily to prove to myself that I could do it," Gilbert said, "to put out something for my college friends to remember me by."

If you go ...

WHAT: Singer-songwriter Conner Gilbert performs an acoustic show

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, April 10

WHERE: Ava lounge, 28 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown. Ava is in the basement of Duffy's on Potomac.

COST: Free

CONTACT: Check out Conner Gilbert's music at

Q&A with Conner Gilbert

What was the hardest part about recording an album by yourself?

Probably deciding what to include. I had a lot of stuff that I had written recently and then I had stuff I had written as long as four years ago. I liked all of it. Eventually I narrowed it down to 12. It's a pretty good mix of stuff I've written recently and stuff I brought back around.

What do you think your strengths are as an artist?

I've developed my voice a lot better than it used to be. I used to not really care about how my voice sounded -- I used to consider myself more of a guitarist. I used to not put as much drive behind my singing. Now, I take care of my voice.

What sort of impression do you want to leave audiences with? What do you want people to know about you?

I want people to know that this album is symbolic of me.

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