Lajon Witherspoon is so apologetic that it's difficult to remember that he is one of the most revered rock vocalists in the nation.
“Man, I'm late calling you - and I am so sorry. I had to walk around this resort for 20 minutes to find a spot where I had reception on my cell phone,” he said, with a twinkle in his voice. “I've been looking so forward to visiting with you because I can't wait to talk about Sevendust coming home to Kansas City.”
Multiple-gold-record selling Sevendust – with Witherspoon on vocals, Morgan Rose on drums/vocals, Clint Lowery on guitar/vocals, John Connolly on guitar/vocals and Vince Hornsby on vocals/bass – will headline their successful acoustic tour to celebrate the release of their new album, “Time Travelers and Bonfires.” Sevendust will hit the stage at 8 tonight at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland Theater in downtown Kansas City. Second balcony and standing room tickets only remain for the show. They are $9.98 at the box office.
The new acoustic album is a collection of new songs and Sevendust classics including “Black,” “Gone,” “Denial,” “Karma,” “Trust” and “Crucified.”
While many fans new to the group might be surprised by the heavy metal warriors releasing an acoustic album, it is the not the first time the group has explored its acoustic side.
Their critically acclaimed “Southside Double-Wide” live acoustic album was released in 2004.
“This is just a labor of love,” said Witherspoon, who calls Kansas City home. “What's so amazing about this album and this tour is that we just released the album April 15 – to give our fans a little something to think about other than tax day – and I look out in the audience and our fans are singing right along with me.
“Man, do you know how that makes me feel? It makes me feel good. And I can't wait to get back to Kansas City and have them singing right along with me at the Midland Theatre.”
“Time Travelers and Bonfires” is a unique album in that the band's fans played a big part in its creation.
“We asked our fans for some help and they came through for us,” Witherspoon said.
Sevendust partnered with PledgeMusic for a 130-day direct-to-fan campaign to help fund the creation of album. They surpassed their financial goal in the first weekend as fans received news of the pledge process from Facebook and Twitter sites. Sevendust received more than 3,400 pledges and rewarded their fans with autographed drumheads, liner notes from the album, guitars and guitar picks.
“We even went over to some fans' homes and played for them,” Witherspoon said. “That was the coolest part of the whole process. They made the album happen and we wanted to reward them, to show our fans what they mean to me and the band.”
And now, they are on a nationwide tour and the response has been what Witherspoon and his bandmates had hoped for.
“This acoustic album is a dream come true,” he said. “I don't quite know how to explain this, but the energy we're feeling at our acoustic shows is equal to energy we feel at our electric shows. Does that make sense? It's a different kind of energy, but our fans seem to love the new music and the acoustic version of some of our biggest songs.”
Witherspoon said he has been thinking about an acoustic album for 10 years because everywhere he goes, fans ask him about it.
“They've been asking us to do it since ‘Southside Double-Wide’ came out in 2004,” he said. “And we finally thought, 'This is the right time.' I've never had so much fun on a tour. You just have to come out and see it for yourself – and I promise everyone, they won't be disappointed.”
“Time Travelers and Bonfires” is the follow-up to Sevendust's ninth studio album, “Black Out the Sun,” which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Hard Music Albums” chart, as well as No. 18 on the “Top 200 Albums chart, No. 4 on the Record Label Independent Current Albums chart, No. 5 on the Top Current Rock Albums chart and No. 14 on the Overall Digital Albums chart.
“We want to give our fans something to hold on to, to cherish,” Witherspoon said. “It's just a magical experience for me, and I hope our fans feel the same way, too.”