Live Music Fans,
We had a wonderful time at the Fair this year. It started last Thursday with a great band, the Haymarket Squares. That got the stage nice and warm for a fantastic dance party on Friday with the Badda Boom Brass Band. They packed the room with sweaty dancers and even got a street dance going outside. The room was packed again on Saturday Night for a sweet show from the Deer. Even more dancing going on as the chairs were stacked again. And, we got lucky with another great booking with the amazing Black Lillies. I think this was our best Fair weekend ever and hope you got to enjoy some of it in the room or on the street in the back of my old 1966 GMC pickup, Chuck. We all had a blast!
But now, the most important shows are the next ones, right? And, luckily we have two more very talented acts for your listening pleasure. The great live music continues on Saturday Night with an amazing act, the Suitcase Junket. Like nothing you have ever seen plus Tuvann throat singing. An act to catch for sure. And on Sunday, we have another very talented act that KDNK gave a big recommendation to book. Can’t miss this weekend! Come on out!
See you at the shows!
SATURDAY NIGHT – AUGUST 3RD – THE SUITCASE JUNKET – 8:30PM – www.thesuitcasejunket.com
“The latest album from The Suitcase Junket, Mean Dog, Trampoline is populated by characters in various states of reverie: leaning on jukeboxes, loitering on dance floors, lying on the bottoms of empty swimming pools in the sun. Despite being deeply attuned to the chaos of the world, singer/songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist Matt Lorenz imbues those moments with joyful wonder, an endless infatuation with life’s most subtle mysteries. And as its songs alight on everything from Joan Jett to moonshine to runaway kites, Mean Dog, Trampoline makes an undeniable case for infinite curiosity as a potent antidote to jadedness and despair.
Produced by Steve Berlin (Jackie Greene, Rickie Lee Jones, Leo Kottke) of Los Lobos, Mean Dog, Trampoline marks a deliberate departure from the self-produced, homespun approach of The Suitcase Junket’s previous efforts. In creating the album, Lorenz pulled from a fantastically patchwork sonic palette, shaping his songs with elements of jangly folk, fuzzed-out blues, oddly textured psych-rock. Engineered by Justin Pizzoferrato (Dinosaur Jr., Speedy Ortiz) and mixed by Vance Powell (Jack White, Houndmouth), Mean Dog, Trampoline rightly preserves The Suitcase Junket’s unkempt vitality, but ultimately emerges as his most powerfully direct album so far.
The follow-up to 2017’s Pile Driver, Mean Dog, Trampoline takes its title from a lyric in “Scattered Notes From A First Time Home Buyers Workshop,” a brightly tumbling folk romp built on ramshackle rhythms and jeweled guitar tones. “I found the notes I’d taken during a first-time homebuyers workshop years ago and they were completely incomprehensible, so I decided to put them into a song,” says Lorenz, an Amherst, Massachusetts-based artist who’s made music under the name of The Suitcase Junket since 2009. “Mean dogs and trampolines are two things insurance companies really hate,” he adds.
With its name nodding to Lorenz’s longtime love of collecting old suitcases (including an antique that he’s refurbished into a bass drum) and to a secondary definition of junket (i.e., “a pleasure excursion”), The Suitcase Junket reveals all the warmth and wildness to be found within such limitation. Not only proof of his ingenuity as a songmaker, that improbable richness is ineffably bound to Lorenz’s purposeful fascination—an element he alludes to in discussing one of his most beloved tracks on Mean Dog, Trampoline, the gloriously clattering “Stay Too Long.” “I’m the kind of person who wants to stay around till the very end of whatever’s happening,” Lorenz says of the song’s inspiration. “Whether it’s a party or something else, I always want to know how it ends. Even if it’s probably gonna be a total disaster, I want to be there to see it all.”
“Now this is the shit I’m talking about, Jack. The Suitcase Junket is a lo-fi, low-tuned, low-down blast of end-times folk blues. It’s crude; it’s magnificent. With a stage set-up that resembles a junkyard foley stage or Fred Sanford’s living room, The Suitcase Junket — one man band leader Matt Lorenz — incants and intones like a cross between Hound Dog Taylor and a Tuvan throat singer who has swallowed a bird. Take the singer-songwriter idiom, give it a low grade fever and a guitar and this is what you get. Captivating, mesmerizing, and gone … real gone.” — Frank De Blase, Rochester (NY) City Newspaper
SUNDAY NIGHT – AUGUST 4TH – KELLY HUNT – 8PM – www.kellyhuntmusic.com
“On the walls of any local used music shop there hangs a gallery of mysteries. Picked up and handed down across the decades, each instrument contains the imprints and stories of those who have played it before, most of which remain untold. For Kansas City-based songwriter Kelly Hunt the most intriguing of these stories is the origin of her anonymous calfskin tenor banjo. “I really wasn’t looking for it,” she says, “but I opened up the case and it said ‘This banjo was played by a man named Ira Tamm in his dog and pony show from 1920 to 1935.’ I strummed it and said ‘This is unlike anything I’ve ever heard.’ People often think of the banjo as being rather brash and tinny – loud and kind of grating – but this was so warm and mellow, with an almost harp-like quality to it, very soulful” – apt words for the Memphis native’s debut album, Even The Sparrow, coming out May 17 on Rare Bird Records.
The daughter of an opera singer and a saxophonist, Kelly Hunt was raised in Memphis, TN, and grew up performing other people’s works through piano lessons, singing in choirs, and performing theater. “It was a very creative, artistic household,” says Hunt. During her teenage years, influenced by musical inspirations as diverse as Norah Jones, Rachmaninov, and John Denver, she began writing her own songs on the piano as a creative outlet. After being introduced to the banjo in college while studying French and visual arts, Hunt began to develop her own improvised style of playing, combining old-time picking styles with the percussive origins of the instrument. “I’m self-taught, I just started letting the songs dictate what needed to be there,” she says. “I heard a rhythm in a song that I wanted to execute, so I figured out how to do it on the drum head while still being able to articulate certain notes in one motion.” After college, Hunt followed a rambling path that took her through careers in acting, graphic design, traditional French breadmaking, and medicine, all the while making music as a private endeavor. “I wanted to get serious about a responsible career choice, but music kept bubbling up. I was writing a lot and playing a lot and started to not be satisfied just playing to my walls of my room.”
After moving to Kansas City and discovering her mysterious Depression-era tenor banjo, Hunt began recording Even The Sparrow in Kansas City alongside collaborator Stas’ Heaney and engineer Kelly Werts. “It took almost two years to record,” she says, “learning how to let the songs dictate the production.” Having finally come to light, the album displays Hunt’s penchant for masterful storytelling and intriguing arrangement, as researched and complex as they are memorable, punctuated by her articulate melodies and a well-enunciated and creative command of lyrical delivery infused with deft emotional communication. While reminiscent of modern traditionalists such as Gillian Welch–a number of her songs even borrow titles and phrasing from traditional American music (“Back to Dixie,” “Gloryland”)–Even The Sparrow reveals an ineffable quality that hovers beyond the constraints of genre, à la Anais Mitchell and Patty Griffin. In “The Men of Blue & Grey,” what begins as a Reconstruction-era ballad about the repurposing of Civil War glass plate negatives in a greenhouse roof soon becomes a meditation on the hope that growth and life may one day be able to emerge from the ruins of suffering and haunting of violence. “Across The Great Divide” turns an otherwise traditional accounting of spurned love into a philosophical epic of the ethics of forgiveness and freedom, evoking the ideas of Søren Kierkegaard and Walt Whitman.
As for the original owner of Kelly Hunt’s mysterious tenor banjo, not much is known. “I’ve never been able to find anything about Ira Tamm,” she says, “I think he just had a humble little traveling show.” What’s clear is that the itinerant performer laid down his banjo at the height of the Great Depression, almost eighty years before it would be picked up by Hunt. “That banjo has stories. I wish I knew them all,” says Hunt, though the banjo’s most intriguing story may just be beginning with Even The Sparrow. “The marks of Ira’s hands are still in the calfskin head, so I can see where he played and left his mark,” she says. “Now my own hand marks are there too, in different places, like a kind of portrait.”
3 – The Suitcase Junket – www.thesuitcasejunket.com
4 – Kelly Hunt – www.kellyhuntmusic.com
11 – Second Sunday in Sopris Park – Free Concert with The Blue Canyon Boys – www.bluecanyonboysmusic.com
12 – Voices 3rd Birthday Party & Fundraiser – 6pm – www.amplifyingvoices.org
13 – Ira Wolf – www.irawolfmusic.com
18 – The Outer Vibe – www.outervibe.com
21 – Lipbone Redding – www.lipbone.com
23 – Molly Healey Trio – www.mollyhealey.com
27 – Maybe April – www.maybeapril.com
8 – Second Sunday in Sopris Park – Free Concert
12 – Dan Bern – www.danbern.com
And, we are looking at booking the following acts, as well: Liver Down the River, Thunderstorm Artis, The Outer Vibe, Natalie Spears, Sam Reider and the Human Hands, Noah Adams and the Louisiana Natives (formerly with Dirty Bourbon River Show), One for the Foxes Irish Band, Marbin, Moors & McCumber, the Deer again and another fine night of standup comedy. Keep your eyes and ears open for more details. Leave the house and enjoy this wonderful entertainment. Why not?
Steve, Mary Margaret and Shannon