apparently, i'm kind of weak for low brass - because when i went to hear guy forsyth at rodeo bar, and the bass player (will landon) walked into the room with a sousaphone, i got all giddy.
not that i wasn't already a little on the giddy side - i blame the giant prickly pear margarita that i downed with dinner. also maybe a stella. or two. the combination of sugar and booze always makes me d-r-o-o-n-k crunked, so i may have been feeling a little silly.
anyway, my presence at this show was all based on an impulse that i couldn't define. i googled "honky-tonk" one day at work (yes, i have a Big Important Job which allows me pleeeeeenty of time to google whatever crosses my mind), which led me to the rodeo bar calendar, which, after a quick google chat exchange with one of my most trusted music advisers, led me (with music adviser in tow) to hear guy forsyth that friday.
they started out doing some pretty standard, four-on-the-floor guitar-bass-kit tin pan alley fusion action. it was fun, catchy, a little bit bluesy, a little bit rock and roll. but not gripping. there were a few folks at the table in front of us who were clearly bigol'giant guy forsyth groupies, but in those first three songs, there was little to show me why such a thing would exist.
it was nice. but it wasn't a revelation. i even leaned across the table at one point to mutter something derogatory about rob hooper, the fairly unexciting drummer. (don't worry. he lived to redeem himself as a percussionist. boy howdy, did he ever.)
then, after three songs, guy pulled out a little blue plastic ukulele, the bass player picked up the sousaphone and the drummer moved to cajun.
oh. my. fucking. god.
you know that surge of excitement when you are listening to really excellent musicians hit their stride, enthusiastically playing music they love?
that.guy forsyth has this... voice. it does everything a voice should do to this style of music. it pets, purrs, howls, caresses, jabs and retreats, only to come wailing back again.
despite lulling me into complacency with the beginning of their set, these fellas totally knocked me on my ass with intelligent, modern, fun, high-intensity music tinged with notes from all walks of american music. they have an album called "unrepentant schizophrenic americana" - and that's exactly what it is.
it. is. fantastic.
and i swear on a stack of bibles that i'm not just saying that because after the ukulele, guy broke out the harmonica and proceeded to rock that. and then he pulled out the saw and proceeded to rock that even harder. i mean, i have a bit of a weird instrument fetish, but it still takes a good musician to make the weird instruments work. (yes, harmonica qualifies as weird.)
there is nothing on youtube that does these guys justice. and while i'm often all about the free illegal download, this is one of those cases where buying the cd from the artist actually supports the artist - so if schizophrenic americana appeals to you, i heartily suggest you consider doing just that.
even more, i'd suggest keeping an eye out for when they might be in your area and then heading down to that there watering hole. because this is definitely a band that should be experienced, as much as heard.
2 months ago