Music series

The free musical series Soldotna will begin on Wednesday with the group Medium Build

Anchorage-based project Medium Build takes the stage in Soldotna on Wednesday night as the first lead act in this summer’s free Levitt AMP Concert series.

The event will also mark frontman Nick Carpenter’s first major performance on the Central Peninsula.

The music of Medium Build – which started taking off in Anchorage in 2016 – is a mix of ‘80s Country, 90s R&B and what the group describes as “grapefruit sparkling water.”

The band sometimes references and idealizes life in south-central Alaska. In “Be Your Boy”, Carpenter asks a woman if she’ll love him if he returns to the valley – a nod, he said, to the Matanuska-Susitna region. In the song “Rabbit,” he comes to a relatively daunting realization at Flattop, one of the most visited peaks in the Glen Alps in Anchorage.

But Carpenter is actually far from home. The singer-songwriter is originally from Atlanta.

He first moved to Anchorage in 2009 when he was 18, following his older brother who took a job fishing in Alaska.

“Coming from Georgia, I barely made it through the winter,” Carpenter said. “I think I did it in March; I didn’t know it was going to get better. »

The couple lived in a downtown hostel and walked to and from Moose’s Tooth to bus tables for work until they could get a car that winter. He left Alaska after about seven months and returned south.

After spending five years studying songwriting at a college in Nashville and later finding his own sound, Carpenter returned to Anchorage for good in 2016.

“Now my whole family is here, which generally feeds into the myth that the carpenters are from here,” he said. “But really we are not.”

The frontman started singing and playing instruments in his church band and choir, he said, and then dabbled in everything from country pop to Nashville to indie. After returning to Anchorage, he was unsure how his music would be received.

“I didn’t really fit in at Anchorage,” Carpenter said. “All the kids were either hardcore punk or bluegrass folk, so I showed up and started playing disappointing indie. I guess my songs are like folk songs, but I play electric guitar, so people (were) a bit weird.

But after finding a sound that worked — inspired by Radiohead, the Beatles, Kacey Musgraves, Billy Joel and others — his career really started to take hold, he said.

“It definitely didn’t work out in Nashville, but here I was like, ‘Well, nobody’s going to like this,'” Carpenter said. “But then people did. They kept asking me to play again.

He and his band first performed as Medium Build in December 2016, a band name that actually started out as a joke between Carpenter and a former girlfriend – who was a bit offended after Carpenter asked how would describe her and he first thought of her physical build.

Now, Medium Build has played everywhere, from Alyeska’s Slush Cup Spring Carnival to NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert.

Carpenter will follow Nelson Kempf and Keeley Boyle to Soldotna Creek Park on Wednesday night. The free concerts will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Wednesday through August 31.

A new single Medium Build is set to be released on June 8, Carpenter’s first on a label, which can be found on all listening platforms. Follow the band for more music and upcoming shows on Instagram and Spotify.

Contact journalist Camille Botello at [email protected]