Jefferson Township Rising: The Return of From Good Homes
2009 has seen many seminal jambands and roots-rock acts return to the stage, but few have been more unexpected than From Good Homes’ surprise reunion. Formed in suburban New Jersey in the 1980s around the core trio of Todd Sheaffer (guitar), Brady Rymer (bass) and Patrick Fitzsimmons (drums), From Good Homes helped bridge the gap between early second generation jambands like Blues Traveler and organic pop groups likes Guster and Old Crow Medicine Show. After recruiting Dan Myers (saxophone) and Jamie Coan (multi-instrumentalist), the band settled in on an honest, Celtic-influenced brand of roots-influenced jam-pop and hit the road with the likes of Dave Matthews Band, Bob Dylan, RatDog, Widespread Panic, Hootie & The Blowfish and Blues Traveler. The group was one of many jambands to be nabbed by the major labels in the mid-1990s after the success of Spin Doctors, Blues Traveler and Phish and released three albums on RCA. From Good Homes also holds the record for twelve consecutive sold-out shows at New York’s Irving Plaza.
From Good Homes parted ways in 1999 and, in the years since, Sheaffer formed Railroad Earth, Fitzsimmons released multiple albums as a singer/songwriter, Coan started performing with The Red Top Ramblers in the Charleston, SC-area, Rymer focused on Children’s music (he was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Musical Album for Children category earlier this year) and Myers formed a production company and studio that produced recordings for Adam Green and Sam Champion.
After a decade apart, the group will return to the stage for three shows this fall: a stealth club gig under the name Jefferson Township at New York’s Mercury Lounge (11/25) and two shows at Montclair, NJ’s Wellmont Theatre (12/18 and 19). Relix and Jambands.com caught up with the members of From Good Homes two days before Thanksgiving to discuss their upcoming reunion and future plans as a band.
Let’s start at the beginning. When did you first discuss the idea of a reunion?
Jamie: It’s been a couple months. Apparently Todd was the first one to get the idea rolling. I guess Rich Schaefer had approached him about doing a show with [New York/New Jersey promoters] Bowery Presents, and Todd emailed us a couple of months ago about it, and we all kind of jumped on it…well, kicked around the idea and then jumped on it.
Todd: We all talked about it over the years but the timing never seemed right or it never really felt right to each guy individually. I’m not sure why this time around when the inevitable “Do you wanna do something” came about we said yes. It just seemed like things fell into place and everybody was in a place in their own world where it felt right. It came together real quick—I think we first discussed the reunion in September and about a month later we were selling tickets and talking about rehearsing. Everything fell into place very naturally, and it happened quickly. I guess when the timing is right that’s the way things go.
Brady: Rich was a big fan. It being ten years away from the farewell show it felt time a good time to do it.
When did you start rehearsals?
Jamie: We got together about two weeks ago and then the week before Thanksgiving. It was good to see everybody again.
And I am correct in saying there have been no formal reunions since the band initially parted ways?
Jamie: That is correct. We did a couple numbers at a wedding several years ago but that was a private situation.