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Amy Farrand & the Like Releases 'One'

Above image: Amy Farrand is frontwoman and songwriter of The Like, which prepares to release its debut album "One" this weekend. | Photo: Michelle Bacon

Amy Farrand’s relationship with music started when she was an inquisitive kid.

“I was the little kiddo who would run up to any instrument I saw and put my hands on it, despite the ‘No! Don’t touch that!’ I would usually hear,” she said. “It would never stop me, and in most cases I would have to be physically removed from the instrument. I wanted to play everything.”

This inherent curiosity helped cultivate one of Kansas City’s most versatile musicians and boldest personalities. Over the past couple of decades, it’d be common to catch Farrand pounding away behind a drum kit, laying down a crushing bass line, creating ghastly sounds on a theremin, performing solo songs of her own, and even hosting her own variety show (Weirdo Wednesday Supper Club) for a few years. But now, Farrand is investing most of her energy into her own project – Amy Farrand & the Like – which prepares to release its debut album, “One,” this weekend.

When you see this six-piece outfit in action, it’s hard not to take notice immediately. The Like is Farrand’s most ambitious and absorbing project yet, guided by the strength of her unabashed songwriting.

"I just kind of allow whatever happens to happen," she said of her writing process. "I don't think I ever really create much of it; sometimes my brain just picks it up from the universe, as if I’m channeling it."

But Farrand will also be the first to tell you that The Like’s material is equally fueled by the chemistry and energy of her robust backing band – which features Felix Dukes on drums, Steve Tubbert on bass, Kyle Dahlquist on keys and backing vocals, Stephan Jean-Francois on trumpet and Katie Gilchrist on backing vocals.

"Sometimes these little jams happen at rehearsal — like, Kyle will be playing a random bit, I'll get my phone out, record it and come back to it later,” she said. “It might be something that happened six months ago and nobody remembers, but I'll go home, write some lyrics and another part. It's different every single time, though I rarely show up with a complete song. These days, it’s a pretty collaborative effort.”

This Saturday night, The Like will unveil the culmination of this collaboration – more than a year in the making – at Davey’s Uptown Ramblers Club.

"We started tracking at the beginning of 2017 [with recording engineer Duane Trower], and all of these obstacles got in our way,” she said. “Duane thought he might have to move out of his studio, and I was sick as a dog for two months. I had no voice and couldn't put a scratch track down, which interestingly changed some of the songs because I couldn't even squeak out vocal cues. I still didn't have a full voice when I went in to record my vocals the next week, so I showed up with an electric tea kettle, honey, lemon and cayenne pepper and jammed it all in my face. I tracked all 11 songs that day, and couldn't talk for two days after.”

But in spite of, and perhaps even partially because of these hurdles, “One” is a gratifying mishmash of Stax-inspired soul, high-steppin’ funk and scorching-hot rock ‘n’ roll, built around Farrand’s framework and powered by a group of skilled, expressive musicians.

“I love what we do together. It’s not just about playing music; these are people I really like as human beings,” she said. “I’m proud of it, and I’m proud of them and what we’ve managed to do together.”

“One” is now available on all major digital platforms, and will be available to purchase on CD (with vinyl coming at a later date) at Davey’s Uptown this Saturday, April 28. The Like performs around 10 p.m., between GAV7D and Pamper the Madman.

Michelle Bacon writes about #kcmusic for 90.9 The Bridge and plays drums and bass in bands. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter at @michelleobacon.