BOSTON — It was dark out when Keith Goodwin’s career was on the line. Growing up in a business where record labels signed and abandoned him several times, life had spun full circle again.
With the new formation of his band Good Old War, Goodwin controlled the stage with an authoritative presence. His modest personality caused his voice to quiver over the amplifier. He picked up his guitar, rested it on his right leg and bellowed a loud note. The crowd was silent. Everyone was paying attention. Fan approval meant life or death for Goodwin and his new project.
It was Dec. 27, 2007, and the new musical project, Good Old War, included Keith Goodwin (guitar), Dan Schwartz (guitar), and Tim Arnolds (drums). All born in Pennsylvania, the three have been working together for two years.
Their sound is a mixture of folk and alternative rock combined with heart-felt lyrics, which is widely different from Goodwin’s past bands. Although Good Old War is new, Goodwin has been a part of the music scene since 1998. Repetitive dedication has gone into each project, but his love of music and desire to get his voice heard keeps him motivated.
By bringing in an acoustic sound, Goodwin has been able to focus on his lyrics, rather than loud distorted guitars. The result of Goodwin choosing to differentiate Good Old War from his past projects was a risk, and could have alienated past fans. “I want my vocals to be heard when I’m playing live,” said Goodwin, “It’s difficult to perform when you can’t even hear yourself singing.”
Although the creation of Good Old War has had a profound affect on Goodwin, fan acceptance has not happened immediately. “Keith has a great voice, but I miss the crazy tuned guitars,” said fan Christina Bock.
In late 2007, Goodwin played four shows introducing his new band, which received mixed reviews. However, Good Old War quickly released demos online, and gained exceptional praise by Myspace dwellers, and Goodwin fans.
Goodwin has had a busy career, and until Good Old War he has been constantly competing with louder instruments. After the demise of Days Away—Goodwin’s last project—he has been able to share his exhaustive hard work through his vocals.
However, at first fans were cautious. “I remember when he announced what had happened,” recalls fan Chris Tanner, “everyone was excited, but sad that Days Away was over.” Following the short tour, Good Old War slowly gained a fan base, and was asked to join popular music festival Bamboozle.
“Now we don’t have to come off the stage and wonder what it sounded like, we already know,” laughs Goodwin. His more popular projects have earned him press coverage, but it’s not about the commercial success for Goodwin. He recently began to work with Sargent House Management instead of a record label. However, without the support of a label, the road ahead will be tough.
Good Old War self-promotes their music. They go on tours, record their own music, and personally greet fans. Unfortunately, without a label it is harder to get your product out there. Goodwin is not against the idea of signing with a record label, but Good Old War is still in its early stages. “I don’t feel relieved that we’re doing it ourselves,” said Goodwin, “I just feel like it’s necessary at this point.”
Goodwin’s dedication to his art has helped him achieve success both artistically and personally. In summer 2008 he plans to have a record released, and tour nationally. Good Old War has recently been added to the Bamboozle festival, and has daily updates on their Myspace page to keep fans informed.
“I believe that if you love what you are doing and you are truly happy doing it, people will follow and enjoy it.”