“The Beat” is a column name that has had a few different lives for me. First, it was a column in Charleston’s Free Time from 1990-1993 that focused on local music and covered good shows happening during that issue’s run dates. Then with my move to Columbia, SC, it came with me and appeared for several years in the Columbia Free Times. More recently, it enjoyed a three year resurgence in Charleston’s Free Time as a roundup of live music happenings on a monthly basis in the Lowcountry. Below is a batch of columns from the second, Columbia era that I’ve recently re-discovered in my files.
The Beat 2/22/95—————————————————–kevin oliver
MORE DEMOS: As promised last week, I’ve got a few more demo tapes to talk about today, starting off with a Columbia musician, MILTON HALL. Formerly a member of Douglas Chay’s DEAL BOX and also BLANKET, Hall has recorded a solo instrumental cassette that almost transcends mere description. “MUSIC FOR THE APOCALYPSE” contains three compositions, “If Only There Were Hope”, “She Won’t Die”, and “Bound by Questions Not Yet Asked”. All three consist of lightly strummed bass and guitar parts, with an ambient mellowness familiar to fans of David Sylvian, Robert Fripp, or any of the projects they have participated in. This is mood music for the highly suggestible, and the song titles push you towards at least one of many interpretations. Look for live performances soon, with many special guests promised.
STATE OF DISORDER is a popular upstate band from the Clemson area that is just beginning to make an impression here in Columbia, and judging from the music on their latest release, it will be a good one. The self titled album (My copy is a cassette dub, but it will be released on CD soon.) is nine songs of what used to be called alternative guitar rock, before that became the mainstream on every rock station in the country. Similarities exist to bands like LIVE and TRAGICALLY HIP, with insistent, melodic guitars (Courtesy of the two guitarists, Jeff Jordan and Drew Long.) and a memorable lead vocalist in Dan Watson. Some songs, like “Patton”, veer closer to traditional hard rock territory, like CANDLEBOX. Look for this band to appear in the area again soon, and look for the CD now.
Good news to report on the local live music scene–the Art Bar has begun having live music again, on Thursday nights. This Thursday, local aggro-techno-industrial band TONGUE is scheduled to appear, and as far as I know, there is still no cover charge.( It is, however, 21 and over to get in.)
BAND NAME OF THE WEEK is STRETCH ARMSTRONG, a local columbia hardcore punk band. They were recording recently with Steve Borders and Art Boerke, but no word yet on possible upcoming releases. Check them out this Sunday, the 26th, opening for Pegboy at Rockafellas.
DELORIS TELESCOPE, Annies, Thursday Feb. 23rd
One of my personal rules for listening to music is, “just because you haven’t heard of them doesn’t mean they suck.” Tampa Bay band Deloris Telescope is a perfect example. Nobody in Columbia has heard of them, but they are an excellent, experienced, and critically acclaimed band in Florida. Together for over five years, they have collected music awards every year since their inception, including a dozen “Jammy” awards from the Florida entertainment magazine, JAM. They have achieved this level of success through the independent release of six albums, including EYE OF THE CHICKEN, COCONUT HEAD, and the most recent,on CD, XENOLITH. the band has a reputation for high energy performances and a healthy sense of humor, which surfaces on the sometimes goofy songs. Musically contemporary like all good pop music, DT also has an ear to the past, with a cover of the Beatles, “She Loves You”, on XENOLITH.
HUMAN ZOO, Dr. Feelgoods, Friday, feb. 24
HMAN ZOO is a somewhat lesser known local band (but then again, isn’t everybody, compared to Hootie), but that designation is soon going to change. The band has been recording their debut CD for Athens, Ga. based Arch Records, a seven song effort due out around the end of March. The band describes themselves expansively as , “Straightforward 90′s rock n’ roll in a similar vein as Offspring, Live, and Collective Soul, but with a sound totally their own.” If that combination sounds as interesting to you as it does to me, go see them this Friday, the 24th, at Dr. Feelgoods, with Phantom Park, a Charlotte NC,band.
THE BEAT , 3/1/95————————————————–kevin oliver
Of all the things I have learned over my years of writing for Free Times, respect for the musicians is pretty high on the list. Creative people who do most of their work for little or no reward, other than the joy of playing music, deserve at least that. Which brings me to what happened at local music club, Annie’s, last Tuesday night. Like many other nights, there were several bands on the bill. Unlike many other nights, a member of one band, Third Eye Lounge, assaulted a member of another band, The Mary Chasers, while the latter band was on stage, resulting in a fight that spilled out the door and effectively ended the band’s set only four songs into it. While there were apparently some words exchanged in between sets, I don’t know the cause of the argument. After having been pushed backwards into, and falling over on top of, his amplifier, I don’t necessarily blame the Mary Chasers guitarist for going back after the other guy. What was missing here, however, was a basic respect between two musicians for what the other was doing. Provoked or not, it strikes me as particularly rude to interrupt another band’s set, or to leave the stage during your own set. Taking care of rude customers is what bouncers and bar owners are for, the band’s job is to play music. As unprofessional as the two bands involved that night were, I don’t think either one will be playing there again. Ironically, I went that night to see two local bands that I had not had a chance to previously, and up until the fight broke out, I was enjoying the show quite a bit. Unfortunately for the Mary Chasers and Third Eye Lounge, I don’t respect them enough to bother telling you about their music.
LOCAL RECORDING NEWS: Soundlab recording studio in Lexington(Where Blightobody recorded their excellent “Poovey’s Groove album) has been a busy place lately, with recent sessions completed with a number of local bands. Tongue just finished their second EP, “Cooperative Aneurysm,” which will be released this month. Tracks from these sessions will be on two German labels’ (C.O.P. and Machinery) compilation CDs , and the band is already working on pre-production for a full length CD to be released this summer.
Swig has recorded a single with John Furr of Blightobody producing, which will appear on an upcoming compilation CD of Columbia bands, due in a few months. Other bands who have recently finished projects at Soundlab include The Deboning Method, Drone, and Lifeline.
Band Name Of the Week is: Brat, who will be throwing their usual tantrums at Annies on
Saturday, March 4th.
ALLGOOD, Rockafellas, Wednesday, March 1
These Atlanta GA, boys are one of the new breed of Southern Rock bands, with more than a passing debt to their predecessors in Macon. Like other bands in this genre, Allgood has made a name for themselves not only through their recordings (The Self released “Ride The Bee”, and last year’s major label debut, “Allgood”), but through relentless touring. Those of you not privy to the joys of an Allgood show, expect high energy blues and rock, with the ghosts of Duane and Stevie looking on, and smiling.
Millan & Kenzie, Annies, Friday, March 3
If you have missed this excellent new Atlanta band on their previous forays into the Capitol city, don’t make that same mistake again. This band’s name refers to the two guys standing front and center, who, until the music starts look like folk musicians with a rhythm section behind them. Like locals Treadmill Trackstar, however, the acoustic guitars take a lot of abuse from furious strumming and pounding beats. Like JACKOPIERCE and Luka Bloom, Millan & Kenzie bring new meaning tot he term ‘acoustic rock.’ They have a CD out, called, “Shine”, look for it at a cool record store near you.
The Beat 3/8/95——————————————————–kevin oliver
IODINE is a new band from Charlotte, NC, that has made waves in their hometown with only six months of playing together. Their cassette debut, “Buttercup”, is ample evidence to drop all kinds of creative adjectives, with five songs that recall not only Nirvana(“Letterette”), but also Game Theory(“Ana”) and the Twin/tone records days of Soul Asylum(The rest.). The guitars buzz but don’t bite too hard, the vocals are sticky-sweet brilliant and lazily moronic at the same time, and the tunes are straight from Big Star Heaven. Lead guitarist and vocalist Jeff Williams may be familiar to some as a member of the now defunct Charlotte band, Cellophane, and Glen Gibson (bass) and Donnie Merritt also had other bands before this one. Add Iodine to the list of great bands from Charlotte, including Electroluxe, Me & Emma, and the Hardsoul Poets. Anybody who rhymes “Country-fried”, with, ” Charley Pride”, in a rock song and gets away with it is all right with me. This tape should be available at Manifest Discs & Tapes here in SC, and look for the band to play Columbia soon. I can hardly wait.
An update on a band mentioned here recently, State Of Disorder. The Clemson band has changed their name to Cornbread, and a CD is scheduled for release under that name on March 16th, with a release party that night at Tiger Town Tavern in Clemson. You may have caught their impressive set last Saturday night opening for Spider Monkey down at Rockafellas, if not, look for them to return again soon, that’s “Cornbread (Formerly State of Disorder)”.
Band Name Of The Week is Blue Ribbon Sissy, who are appearing at Annie’s on Thursday, the 9th, with Tongue. I’m not sure if they are referring to the beer, the cab company, or the State Fair award, or all of the above.
The last time we heard from locals SWIG on these pages, they were about to take a winter break after a busy fall. Since spring is just about here, the band has come back out of local hibernation and is even spreading its music up and down the east coast. The band’s self released cassette was picked by New Jersey’s WFMU radio station as their “Top Release of Fall 94″, and the band is traveling to the Garden State at the end of the month for a live performance to be broadcast on that station, on March 30th. On the way there and back, the band has dates scheduled in Charlotte, Richmond, VA, Philadelphia, PA, and East Orange, NJ. Those of you unfamiliar with Swig, they are alternately described as a pop band with punk undertones, or a punk band with pop undertones. Suffice it to say that they play hard edged, three minute songs with catchy melodies and memorable hooks, and anyone who sees them play live is instantly a fan. They will be playing in town at Rockafellas on Sunday, the 12th, with supporting acts Danielle Howle and Random Ged. Also, look for a split 7″ single with Random Ged, to be released soon on the NJ label Popkid Records.
Speaking of Danielle Howle, she and her band Lay Quiet Awhile are headlining a great night of local music at Rockafellas on Tuesday, the 13th. Other bands appearing include Blightobody, the Dale Simmons Band , and Fontaine, and the whole show is a benefit for the local MS chapter. LQA and Blighto need little introduction, but the other two artists on the bill bear some explanation. Dale Simmons is the lead singer for long running local band Psychotoy. He was floating a solo tape around town late last fall (which I haven’t heard yet myself), hopefully some of those songs will surface for this show. Fontaine is not a band, but a solo female performer, much like Ms. Howle, who plays acoustic guitar and sings. Good things have already been said about her from people who have seen and heard, but since I’ve done neither yet, I, like you, will have to get there early to find out for myself. Support local music and a good cause at the same time, and don’t miss this show.
St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and with it comes your best opportunity all year to see local and regional music all in one place, the festival in Five Points. Next week, the paper will have a full schedule, and I’ll be right here to give you advice on who to see, when, and where, including not only the Festival stages, but also the Five points clubs that will be hosting bands throughout the day, also. With a little planning, anyone can have a full day of music there, no matter what their tastes.
The Beat 3/14/95———————————————————Kevin Oliver
Well, St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, and that means that the closest thing this town has to a local music festival will be flooding the streets of Five Points with humanity and great music this Saturday. The bands will be playing on the four outdoor stages from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm, with plenty of variety for everyone. Many thanks and credit to Steve Gibson, who coordinates the band scheduling for this huge event, because it looks like another great Festival this year. With all these bands playing simultaneously on all four stages, it is impossible to see everything. With a little careful planning and a few hard choices, though, you can come close. What follows is my personally selected schedule of bands to see throughout the day, with the emphasis, as always, on local bands that play original music. In parentheses is the stage that the band will be appearing on.
11:00: Mountain Express (S. Harden) or Midnight Society (Santee)
A tough choice to start out the day. Mountain Express is a Columbia band that boasts an incredible guitar player and an Allmans-inspired groove throughout their lengthy, sometimes improvisational songs. Midnight Society is a new band in town, with a harder, funk/metal edge.
12:30: Treadmill Trackstar (Devine) or Danielle Howle, solo (S. Harden)
Again, a hard decision here between excellent local performers, both of whom should be familiar to regular readers of this column. Judging from each act’s recent shows, they are both at the top of their form. Danielle played some fairly new material last week, quiet stuff that may not go over well in this setting. Treadmill should have no problem drowning out the crowd. Make this choice based on where you were for the first band. Those of you already at the S. Harden stage, stay there. Anywhere else, and Devine st. should be closer.
2:00: Cherry Cherry Pow Pow w/ Danielle Howle(N. Harden) or Groovy Cools (Devine)
CCPP, for those of you not fortunate enough to have seen them yet, is a side project featuring John Furr of Blightobody and Angelo Gianni of Treadmill Trackstar, and Troy Tague, an alumnus of Lay Quiet Awhile and BSY. The Groovy Cools, from Charleston, SC, play expansive pop rock with traces of the Moody Blues and the Police. If you missed Danielle earlier, go see her now. If not, you won’t be disappointed by the polished pop of the Groovy Cools.
3:30: The Root Doctors (N. Harden)
A unanimous choice, one of Columbia’s most fun bands at a time in the afternoon when everyone should be in a good mood.
5:00: Jump Little Children (N. Harden)
One of the most entertaining and musically interesting bands I’ve come across in a long time, this Charleston band is well versed in folk, Celtic, rap, and rock, mixing and applying different genres like paint smeared on a palette. Make sure you stay around to hear this band.
Several area clubs, including Rockafellas, Clyde’s, Elbow Room, Group Therapy, and more, are also hosting bands throughout the day, and into the night. Check the ads and the concert calendar this issue for more info about those.
Believe it or not, the festival in Five Points isn’t the only thing going on this week. Hilton Head band The Mundahs return to Clyde’s on Thursday, the 16th. They have been playing around the southeast for years, and have a new CD out, (on the new Virginia label Trumpeter Records) Tropical Update. Bassist and lead vocalist Al Cech is the soul of this band, his Morrison-esque voice droning over wavelike bass patterns. If you didn’t know these guys grew up near the ocean, you’d probably guess it anyway, because the band’s sound can best be described as liquid, soothing, yet moving.
Cravin Melon, the Next Big Thing out of Clemson, SC, return to the Elbow Room on Thursday, the 16th. They have just released a full length CD, which is a nice introduction to the pastoral folk rock this band plays. Hootie, Toad, and the Connells are obvious touchstones for these guys, as well as the classics like the Byrds and the Allman Bros. circa “Ramblin’ Man.”
Catfish Jenkins, from Atlanta, are also on the bill that night. They have a CD out, “Normaltown”, on Kudzu Records, produced by John Keane, and it’s a keeper. Echoes of R. E. M. appear occasionally( “Underground”), and the “new southern rock” groove is prevalent also, but there is too much bite in the guitars to lump them in with the neo-hippie revival. The best thing that Catfish Jenkins have going for them, in fact, is that while there are a lot of familiar moments on NORMALTOWN, the whole comes out with an identity all its own.
the beat –3/22/95—————————————————-kevin oliver
A news item of interest to any unsigned local artists or bands that have CD’s, albums, cassettes, or 7″ singles out: a company called Luminous Flux Records is looking for product to distribute nationally in their summer 95 catalogue. This catalogue will be available worldwide via the Internet, and will be available free through an 800 number, on-line services, written request, or e-mail. It will also be distributed to music directors at college and commercial modern rock stations nationwide, and selected music and alternative press publications. Bands are asked to submit a copy of their work along with a brief bio, press kit, and picture if available, and the name of the publication you saw this mentioned( that’s Free Times, Columbia, SC.) to LUMINOUS FLUX CATALOGUE, P. O. box 419, Glenwood Landing, NY, 11547. Send a SASE if you want your materials returned. Deadline for submissions is April 15th. This looks like a good opportunity for bands with limited distribution to get their music out to a wider audience, so act fast, and tell them we sent you.
Hootie & the Blowfish are in the news again, this time in the March 23rd issue of Rolling Stone magazine. Darius Rucker is featured in the monthly “Raves” sidebar, where a musician lists his or her favorite things, musical and otherwise. Darius mentions the obvious, like Al Green, Stevie Wonder, and Toad the Wet Sprocket, and the not so obvious, like sweet potato pie. Collectively, the band is the official corporate sponsor this year for the traditional Day After The Masters golf tournament here in Columbia at Spring Valley Country Club, which is usually attended by a number of pros straight from Augusta National. Hootie souvenirs will be available at the event. Official Hootie golf balls, maybe?
BAND NAME OF THE WEEK is Thunderpussy, (Annies, Tuesday, 28th)a self professed “PUNK ROCK” band from Myrtle Beach, SC, This band with the James Bond ripoff of a name consists of several former Bazooka Joe members and a current member of another Myrtle band, Ground. Heavy, abrasive stuff, that fans of the previous bands will definitely appreciate.
Ghetto Blaster, In/Humanity, Sticky– Annies, Thursday, 23rd
I must admit, when I heard that my fellow Free Times writer and self proclaimed “Podunk Rock Journalist”, Kipp Shives, had started his own band, after years of promoting everybody else, I was skeptical. After seeing a recent show, however, count me among the fans of Ghetto Blaster and their take on the stereotypical indie-rock guitar band sound. Shives plays a loose, limber guitar style characterized by casual riffing and lots of effects to fatten up the three piece’s sound, which is anchored by a solid, if anonymous, rhythm section. The songs themselves are what puts the band over the top, obnoxious odes to being a punk rocker in a non-punk world, with a large dose of humor and sarcasm included.
In/humanity, for those unfamiliar with this uncompromisingly harsh local outfit, started out life as an average annoying punk rock band, but have grown since then, into an aggressive noise band whose music owes more to early Swans than to Minor Threat. Definitely not for the weak.
Jebel, Swig, Cherry Cherry Pow Pow — Annies, Friday, 24th
Whenever I try to tell people from out of town about Columbia’s booming music scene, one of the bands I get hung up on these days is Jebel. The urge to categorize is lost on a band like this, which incorporates punk intensity into a musical theory that borders on jazz, at times. The legendary Minutemen were heading along a similar path back in the early 80′s, but Jebel doesn’t really sound like them, or anybody else, either. Trashing the musical filing cabinet seems to be what Jebel is all about, and more.
Cherry Cherry Pow Pow is somewhat of a local supergroup, with members from Treadmill Trackstar, Blightobody and more appearing in various shows. The basic format is flat out three piece pop/punk, and the basic reason, having fun. Their originals, penned specifically for the group, are good, but the highlight of thier shows so far has to be the punk rock version of Hootie’s, “Hold My Hand”.
Gibb Droll — Rockafellas, Saturday, 25th
With a growing following on college campuses and in clubs from Colorado to New York, as well as their native Southeast, Gibb Droll is not your average blues band. Opening spots with Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Danny Gatton, the Spin Doctors, Dave Matthews Band, and Widespread Panic point to the diverse sound of this group, which is, nonetheless, based in the blues. Gibb has referred to it as “Raw blues, but with a funkier 90′s style that you can dance to.” The band has a couple of self released CD’s out, but their real strength so far is the incendiary live shows.
The Beat 4/29/95 ——————————————————kevin oliver
Dayroom, from Athens, Ga., is an off-kilter rock band that combines elements of classic Athens bands with a Phish-like sense of style. “Perpetual Smile” is the band’s debut CD, and as anyone who witnessed the show they put on at Clyde’s last Wednesday could tell you, it is full of great songs that veer off the path of traditional rock songwriting. Unlike Phish’s hippie-go-lucky attitude, Dayroom exhibit a more pronounced urbanity, and a better feel for a melody, on songs like, “Johnny Can’t Drive”(We all know that Johnny can’t drive/ May be maimed, at least we’ll arrive.), and “Sideways Town” (“Got sixteen lanes and nowhere to walk/I’d try to get out on the ground/ If they hadn’t built this town all sideways.”). But don’t get the idea that Dayroom is one of those 90′s art rock bands, because they’re not. The band rocks like “Pageant ” era REM on “Holding out for the Roses”, and like another new Athens band, the Go Figures, on “Breathe”. Parts of “Bone” could pass for one of Uncle Tupelo’s heavier country rock jams.
While the members of Dayroom may not be household names around here yet, you might recognize a few of their guests on “Perpetual Smile”. Donkey’s Scott Davis plays trombone on two tracks, “Color of Mine”, and “Between the Lines”, and Jump Little Children’s Ward Williams plays cello on “Holding Out For the Roses”, and “Johnny Can’t Drive”. Those of you with CD players, look out for a strange hidden track at the end of the disc, about Spam. Those of you who missed last week’s show, get the CD and don’t miss them next time.
Hootie update, part 2: Rolling Stone again features the band in the April 6th issue, even putting their name on the cover heading. Inside is a fairly positive review of a live show at Tipitinas, in New Orleans, during Mardi Gras.
Band Name Of The Week is The Verve Pipe. No, I don’t know what it means, either, but it sounds cool, and for this particular award, that’s enough. They are appearing at Rockafellas on Thursday, the 30th.
The Return of Tribute Band Week: Last year, due to an inordinate amount of “Tribute” bands playing in the area, I had a running tally going on them for a while. Just when I was starting to miss them, Rockafellas is hosting two of the more unusual ones in one week. Tuesday, April 4th, Crazy Diamond, a Pink Floyd tribute, will appear, and on Wednesday, the 5th, it’s 2112, a Rush tribute. While I am mainly a fan of original music bands, there is no denying the entertainment value of seeing a favorite band recreated on-stage in a small club, which the best of these kind of bands do, quite well.
Pulse, Annies, Friday, March 31
Pulse is a self-described experimental pop band from Atlanta, that on the surface is not that unusual. the standard guitar (James Salter), bass (Rotie Salley), and drums (Troy Weber) are present, as well as keyboards (Tracy La Barbera), vocals (Patti Howard, Salter,and La Barbera), and the slightly unusual addition of woodwinds (Salter). What makes the band different is what they do, and don’t do, with that fairly standard lineup. The music is soothing and mellow, with voices weaving in and out between the instruments, Howard’s being the most prominent. Possible reference points could include the Cocteau Twins, David Sylvian, and even Portishead, on the couple of tracks that have a real beat to them. Pulse lives up to its name with music that moves and flows, never sitting still for a moment, but never appearing to move very much, either. Trance-inducing, hypnotic stuff.
Face Of Change, Annies, Saturday April 1st
On the outside of The Face of Change’s new CD, “Coffee”, there is a quote, attributed to Jim Morrison (April Fool, right?), that says, “This album is a progression from Despair to Hope and beyond, to a place where despair is a crucible in the hands of the Creator and ‘The Paths of the Dead’ is the path to Glory.” Aside from the obvious April Fool’s joke available here, I have to admit that “Jim” is right, about “Coffee”, at least. This is coffeehouse folk rock trying to be grandiose arena rock, and succeeding more times than not. Raleigh, NC’s The Face Of Change goes for the big statement with every song, using a sound that combines the bombast of “October” era U2 and the Alarm with the warmth and wit of Tiny Lights. With a largely acoustic, energetic sound, fans of local Columbia band Treadmill Trackstar should like this band. Lead singer Michael Ramsey injects a similar strained sincerity into the band’s songs, and for the literate set, there is “Bright Wings”, which borrows from Tolkien, and on the lyric sheet, refers the listener to Gerard Manley Hopkins’, “God’s Grandeur”. “The Paths of the Dead” quotes from Hopkins. For the eco-conscious, the packaging of “Coffee” is all recycled cardboard.
Elvis Presley, The Windjammer, Charleston, SC, Saturday, April 1
While this may or may not be an April Fool’s Day joke, the Charleston edition of Free Times has been listing this date in their concert calendar the last few issues. Maybe he just wanted a tan, after being in hiding all this time. There is a rumor that the opening act will be a spoken word reading by Jim Morrisson (See above).
The Beat, 04/09/97 “A Tale Of Two Singers”
When one thinks of solo acoustic performers in Columbia, the first image that usually comes to mind is the multitude of human jukeboxes in Midlands restaurants, regurgitating Jimmy Buffett and James Taylor songs. There are musicians out there, however, who are forging a singular path, with their own original music. Two of those, Fontaine and Chris Murphy, are playing at different locations this week.
Fontaine is a visually stunning, vocally alluring, singer, songwriter, and acoustic guitarist. She’s also seventeen years old. In the last couple years, she’s shared a stage with the likes of Paula Cole, Jackopierce, Holly Palmer, Kevn Kinney, and Treadmill Trackstar. Fontaine began her musical “career,” however, at the ripe old age of nine. “I played keyboards first,” she reveals,”And knew all the Bangles and Madonna songs.” Born in the south of France, to an art professor father and an art student mother from New Jersey, Fontaine’s rich, dusky vocals paint an aural canvas all their own, with all of the experience of her short, but full, life behind them. “Most of my songs are about relationships,” she says, “and the feelings that result.” For Fontaine, music is therapy. “When I’m off stage, not singing, I’m really a nice person,” she professes. “It’s when I’m performing that I get all the anger out of my system.”
As for her still tender age, Fontaine is understandably touchy about it. “I sometimes get tired of people making a big deal about how young I am,” she admits, “but then I look at Silverchair, or Leann Rimes, and catch myself having the same reaction to them.”
Chris Murphy is coming at his music from a much different place than Fontaine, both chronologically and otherwise. Murphy is a native South Carolinian, but he’s just moved back to the area after spending years in California practicing his craft. He’s a veteran of several bands on the Left Coast, and he completed and released several recordings during his time out west. Family considerations have brought him back home again, however, and it’s Columbia music fans who are the lucky recipients of this latest move.
Murphy is a seemingly effortless songwriter, tossing off engaging tunes with apparent ease. He plays what he terms, “country blues-grass,” a hybrid genre-lization that doesn’t quite adequately describe the quavering, high lonesome sound of his voice and the driving, persistent pluck of the strings. He’s equally at home on a traditional-sounding bluegrass tune as he is with a Neil Young or Jerry Garcia style sound, because he knows what few others ever realize–it’s not where it comes from, but where you take the song that’s important. Murphy has been a frequent sight and sound at local acoustic jams since his return, pulling two or three songs out of his creative hat each time–It’s about time someone let him play for a full night.
Fontaine will be appearing at The Elbow Room Sunday, April 13th, opening for Hobex. Chris Murphy will be appearing at The Daily Grind Saturday, April 12th.