The Matchstick Architects, Gus McKay, Misty Blues, Toney Rocks, CATFOX, Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints, Trevor McShane, Ameraucana Kurt Fortmeyer
From our interview with Gina Coleman of Misty Blues, available on Episode #66 of the Top Left Corner, releasing August 29.
“So, last year we won the Capital Region Blues Network International Blues Challenge competition which sent us to the greater International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, where we competed against about 250 of the best Blues bands around the world. Each blues Society gets to pony up their best band and send them to Memphis in January every year, and I think this was the 33rd or 34th year of this competition. We were really excited—we thought, “What a wonderful opportunity…we held our own and it really afforded me the opportunity to learn that we are right in the mix with Blues bands throughout the world.”
— Gina Coleman
Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #11—of the Cornbread Cafe. Cazh and cozy, we’re located at the five-corners of Blues, Americana, Folk, Country, and Gospel. And you can sometimes catch an express to Rock ’n’ Roll at the bus stop across the way.
Featured in this Episode:
The Matchstick Architects • “Renegade Friend” • All That’s In Between Gus McKay • “Out Like a Torch” • Salt Flat Mojo Blues Misty Blues • “Blues on My Heels” • Call & Response Toney Rocks • “Drifting” • Drifting CATFOX • “The Basement” • Thank You, I Love You, I’m Sorry Jeb Barry and the Pawnshop Saints • “Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time” • texas, etc… Trevor McShane • “Lonely Weekends” • Lonely Weekends Kurt Fortmeyer • “Snugglin’ with My Demons” • Snugglin’ With My Demons
I am the mongrel, and I’ll be your waiter today. I hope you brought your appetite, because I’ll be bringing you plate after steaming plate of grubbin’ Americana delicacies with all the fixins’. On this show, we joyfully reach for second helpings of some of our favorite artists, as well as taste test a couple tracks off new items on the menu. Starting us off is the Matchstick Architects, hailing from Western Massachusetts, a hotbed of American Roots music right now. They give us “Renegade Friend” off their recent release, All That’s In Between.” After that, we sample a treat from Down Under with “Out Like a Torch,” from Gus McKay. Aussies really get American Roots, and they do it very, very well, whether we’re talking about the Blues, Americana, or their own brand of Country.
We’ll finish this course off by returning to the Berkshires and bringing Misty Blues back on the show. We love featuring this band, because of their range of full-spectrum, bring the house down power down to the sparest, most intimate measures of a lonesome tune. If you’re interested in hearing from the band’s unstoppable leader and powerhouse vocalist, Gina Coleman, have a listen to our August 29th episode of the Top Left Corner on the Greylock Glass. Right now, let’s get this show started with Matchstick Architects and “Renegade Friend.”
That was “Blues on My Heels” from Misty Blues off their brand new 2018 release, Call and Response. Now, this high octane act took home the top spot at the Capitol Region Blues Network, regional, which means they’re on their way to Memphis to throw down in the 2018 International Blues Challenge. If you’re going to be in or around the Berkshires on September 28th, consider hearing them live at Jiminy Peak Ski Resort in Hancock Mass. Misty Blues and other great regional acts will be performing that night to raise fund to send the entire band to Memphis, Tennessee for the Challenge. Check out the show notes for links and more information at cornbread.cafe.
You’ve probably figured it out by now by I, the mongrel, have just a touch of the Dark Side in me. That’s probably why I’m drawn back time and again to the margins of the American Roots scene where you stumble across some pretty macabre gospel, melancholy murder ballads, and malcontent outlaw country. In particular, I circle back around to the CATFOX, whose mind-bending lyrics and haunting instrumentation define the genre I call Northern Gothic. We’ll hear “The Basement,” from her release Thank You, I Love You, I’m Sorry.
First though, let’s head West, all the way to Las Vegas, Nevada, and debut singer-songwriter Toney Rocks, née Robinson. He started his musical career at the age of five on drums, but more often performs on guitar or piano these days. You may have caught his act at SXSW, the NAMM Show, or Folk Alliance International. Ever since his 2018 EP, Drifting, landed in my mailbox, I’ve been impatient to turn you on to a tune or two. I know you’re going to enjoy, for the first time on the show, Toney Rocks, with “Drifting” here at the Cornbread Cafe.
Again, that was the CATFOX, with the Basement. I don’t Catrin’s musical plans are for the near future, given her schedule of theatre, voice-over gigs, and other creative endeavors. I guess we’re going to have to try to get her on the show one day and ask her, right? Someone who pairs well with Northern Gothic is Jeb Barry. Jeb, and his band, the Pawnshop Saints, explore the gritty underbelly of working class life through their Americana stew of Country, Folk, and Blues. Their most recent release, 2018’s texas, etc…, is like a shoebox full of old Polaroids of heartbreak and disappointment, with the occasional snapshot of hope thrown in—just enough hope to get us up in the morning and face the hard times that make up reality for more and more of it seems these days. From that ground-breaking double-album let’s hear, “Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.”
I have been waiting for a just the right time to treat you to that track. That was Kurt Fortmeyer and “Snugglin’ With My Demons,” off his latest release Ameraucana—And that’s spelled Ameraucana, like the chicken breed. What I love about Kurt’s music is that he has a song for every mood. You need a good-time tune to get into the party spirit? He’s got you covered. Feeling pensive and introspective? Check. Ready for some unfiltered, biting social commentary? Coming right up. And I have a bunch more where that came from, so we’ll be featuring that and other albums for a long time to come.
Well, that’s it for episode 11 of the Cornbread Cafe. I’ve been your host, the mongrel, and it sure has been a pleasure to serve up this amazing musical feast. Whether you’re a music fan or a musician, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at [email protected]. Until next time, thanks for listening, and I’ll keep searching out more of the best of American Roots.
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