7 RI Bands

combo-webSeven Rhode Island Acts To Take Note Of

By A.J. Wachtel

All the participants in the New England music scene are on the same team. We just play a lot of different genres at a lot of variable venues throughout five separate states. Each of these assorted areas have their own special sound and unique characteristics. Check out what THE SILKS, LUCKY UNITED, ALLYSEN CALLERY, JP JONES, VUDU SISTER, JOHNNY EDWARDS WILD COMBO and MEN OF GREAT COURAGE all say about Rhode Island’s happening entertainment environment.

THE SILKS

(blues/ rock power trio)

Tyler-James Kelly – guitar, harmonica, vocals |

Jonas Parmelee – bass |

“Uncle” Sam Jodrey – drums

Noise: Where is your band located?

Kelly: Providence.

Noise: What’s good and bad about your local scene?

Kelly: Providence has underrated artists ranging and spanning creative genres. Downfall is that it is a small city. Almost a town.

Noise: Describe your band’s sound and how you fit into the scene?

Kelly: The Silks are suckers for songs that get to the point even if that entails an entertaining point. We fit on our own, that’s all I have to say about that.

Noise: What’s your best song?

Kelly:  It is hard to say what our best song is. I find it all subjective. I like songs for different reasons. I enjoy when we play live ‘n learn.

Noise: What national act’s influence is most evident in your sound?

Kelly: The Sheepdogs

Noise: What are your plans for the future?

Kelly: Our plans for the future are to try and push to get recognized and hopefully go national ourselves.

LUCKY  UNITED

(high energy rock)

Jenn Lombari — guitar, vocals

Donald Yglesias — bass

Jennifer Yakes — drums

Noise: Where is your band located?

Lombari: We practice in Warwick, RI and we thrive in Boston.

Noise: What’s good and bad about your local scene?

Lombari: This is a loaded question. Haha.There’s a lot of alt country type bands and metal bands. Lots of that. And the same bands play constantly. It’s over saturated. Not many punk bands left either. No one works together to help each other out either. If I like a band, I brag about them to everyone. Eric and The Nothing. Go listen to them.

Noise: Describe your band’s sound and how you fit into the scene?

Lombari: We don’t fit into the scene! We’re better received in Boston. And we love Boston right back!

Noise:  What’s your best song?

Lombardi: That could be answered differently every day.

Lombari: Right now my favorite is “Touché Pussycat.” It’s a song about wasting time with all the wrong people when the right person was right there the whole time and once the two people realized that, everything is terrific!

Noise: What national act’s influence is most evident in your sound?

Lombari: Our sound is similar to ’90s pop punk. Love songs, crush songs, breakup songs. Like the Parasites style of song writing.  Gameface, The Muffs, a lot of people have even said Social Distortion. I think we would have fit well on Ringing Ear Records or Lookout back in the day.

Noise:  What are your plans for the future?

Lombari: Right now I’m playing solo acoustic shows while Jenn (drums) recovers from her surgery and DJ (bass) heals a broken wrist. I’m being very careful not to get injured. Our album is available for download on Bandcamp. Hopefully, we’ll be back in action by the end of 2016.

ALLYSEN CALLERY

(roots/ Americana folk)

Allysen Callery — guitar, vocals

Noise:  Where is your band located?

Callery:  I’m in Bristol, RI, about 25 minutes from Providence.

Noise: What’s good and bad about your local scene?

Callery: There are a couple venues that really shine, The Columbus has an upstairs theatre with seats that’s a dream for me to play, I’ve really enjoyed myself there. Aurora under Jacob Wolf’s booking is starting to emerge as a premier room, as well. They brought out tables and  chairs the last time I played, and that works best for my sound.

Noise: Describe your band’s sound and how you fit into the scene?

Callery: I play finger-style guitar & sing on the British Isles spectrum of folk, but I’m New England. I’m not trad Americana, but I play with some of the gentler acts like Haunt the House (I was in his band too, for awhile) and  love the gothic New England folk style of Vudu Sister, and I book with them a lot, too.

Noise: What’s your best song?

Callery: Wow, that’s a tough thing to answer- but I’ll go with “I Had A Lover I Thought Was My Own,” for the DADGAD fingerstyle playing, and the narrative. That song got me into SXSW in 2014.

Noise: What national act’s influence is most evident in your sound?

Callery: Jessica Pratt & Meg Baird do a similar style of acoustic that I do, not quite folk, but I call it that out of convenience.

Noise: What are your plans for the future?

Callery: I’m doing my first Italian tour this October, stopping to play a show in Brighton, England for some folks instrumental in getting me on my first European label. I am also thrilled to be returning to SXSW festival in March, 2017.

JP JONES

(folk rock new age poet)

JP Jones — guitar, vocals

Noise:  Where is your band located?

Jones: I live in Newport, RI

Noise: What’s good and bad about your local scene?

Jones: I love Newport. We’ve got old pros, bands that travel through, and a LOT of young talent. In a town this size, musicians get to know one another.  I’ve seen so much good music when I’ve traveled around the country – Newport’s no different.  The only complaint I’d make applies everywhere these days – unless your name is well known  it’s almost impossible to draw much of a crowd or make much money playing original material… and these days that’s all I do.

Noise: Describe your band’s sound and how you fit into the scene?

Jones: I’m considered a singer-songwriter and that label’s as good as any. The “style” of my songs varies widely – it all depends on the subject matter and feel I’m looking for. Sometimes I play solo shows, sometimes with a full band. Sometimes people even dance!

Noise: What’s your best song?

Jones: That’s impossible for me to answer. Out of a couple hundred published tunes? I guess the standard answer applies: my favorite song is the one I just finished. The title song of the new CD, Touch, is getting airplay – folks seem to be taking a shine to that one.

Noise: What national act’s influence is most evident in your sound?

Jones: Paul Simon was one of the first artist’s to give me the idea that I could write songs and perform. The critics have compared my work favorably to Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Mark Knopfler, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, etc. I’ll take their word for it.

Noise: What are your plans for the future?

Jones: I will have done  a solo show in Warren, RI, by the time your readers see this.  We should have another show here in Newport sometime in October. I’m only half joking when I say I’ve retired. I’m doing what I can to promote the new CD. I don’t do bar gigs these days. I’m not driven anymore to establish my brand. I see what I do as an offering of the best I have to give. I prefer to play for audiences who are interested in that. I’m fortunate to have a relatively small but ardent fan base.

VUDU SISTER

(goth/ grunge folk)

Keith J.G McCurdy – vocals, guitar

Diane O’Connor – violin

Amato Zinno – bass

Noise:  Where is your band located?

McCurdy: Vudu Sister is located in Providence, RI.

Noise: What’s good and bad about your local scene?

McCurdy: It’s small. That is the best and the worst thing about it. Generally, people are very supportive of one another and it can feel very familial… everyone knows each other. Sometimes, however, it can feel a little insular. You have to make your own room for growth.

Noise: Describe your band’s sound and how you fit into the scene?

McCurdy: Our latest record, Mortis Nervosa, is a sort of gothic faerie tale string of songs inspired by folklore and romantic fiction. We’re continually evolving with our sound. At this point, I’m really not sure where, or how, we fit in the scene. We’re friends with bands of all genres and are happy to play to different audiences.

Noise: What’s your best song?

McCurdy: Right now, my favorite song of ours is “Cold As Clay” from our new record. A close second is “White Satin Evening Gown,” also off of our new record.

Noise: What national act’s influence is most evident in your sound?

McCurdy: Nirvana and Rasputina. Lately, I have been listening to a lot of classical music, particularly from the romantic era (i.e Chopin, Grieg). I voraciously consume anything by PJ Harvey; I adore White Chalk. I’ve also been obsessed with this Danish songwriter, Agnes Obel, and her album Aventine. Music I’ve been listening to lately has inspired me to try and learn piano. It’s slow progress but I’ve started brewing ideas for a subsequent record.

Noise: What are your plans for the future?

McCurdy: I have no plans to tour in the immediate future. I don’t really have any motivation to do anything but write. I am developing some concepts that I’d like to explore for a follow-up record to Mortis Nervosa. I fully intend to continue writing and performing with my violinist, Diane O’Connor and our friend, Amato Zinno (bass). Some additional instrumentation is always a possibility. I only know that I have no wish to repeat myself.

JOHNNY EDWARDS WILD COMBO

(blues/ r&b)

Johnny Edwards — guitar, vocals

Austin Brown — drums

Rick Kenyon — bass

Noise:  Where is your band located?

Edwards:  East Providence, RI.

Noise: What’s good and bad about your local scene?

Edwards: Bad: Not enough clubs book blues and the clique is very thick

Good: Can’t think of a thing!

Noise: Describe your band’s sound and how you fit into the scene?

Edwards:  Blistering electric blues. We appeal to hard driving blues guitar lovers.  I’m described as a “guitarist who likes to play music that rips the guts out of his instrument and lays out a song like a cadaver on a cold marble slab’ (Art Simas The Blues Audience).

Noise: What’s your best song?

Edwards: “When You Got A Good Woman” (original) / “Ride Until I’m Satisfied” (cover of Walter Trout).

Noise: What national act’s influence is most evident in your sound?

Edwards:  Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Luther Allison, Walter Trout and Albert Cummings

Noise: What are your plans for the future?

Edwards:  Put out original CD within the next year, perform at blues festivals and open for national acts in 2017.

MEN OF GREAT COURAGE

(rock ’n’ roll/ country and soul)

Mark Cutler — guitar, vocals

Jimmy Berger — bass

Rick Couto — drums

Bob Kirkman — guitar, banjo

Richard Reed — keyboard

Cathy Clasper -Torch  – fiddle

Noise:  Where is your band located?

Cutler: My bands, The Men of Great Courage and The Schemers are located in Providence, RI.

Noise: What’s good and bad about your local scene?

Cutler: I love the variety of styles and the high quality of music that’s being made around here. There’s always a sense of support and community. Although nowadays, I don’t get out too much unless I’m playing. One thing that gets me down and it’s probably true for many places is that I hear musicians talking about what they do like its a pain in the ass to play music. For God’s sake, you found something that you love to do! And sometimes you make some dough doing it! It’s not like you’re working in a chain gang. You’re playing music.

Noise: Describe your band’s sound and how you fit into the scene?

Cutler: I don’t know how we fit in the scene. We kinda hover around it. My band is all over the place but we’re influenced by tons of styles and artists. We like to  get hypnotic and expansive but we also like to play a cry in your beer song too. Hank to Hendrix and all that it implies.

Noise: What’s your best song?

Cutler: I don’t know and I hope I haven’t written it yet.

Noise: What national act’s influence is most evident in your sound?

Cutler: The usual baby boomer stuff, Stones, Velvet Underground, Dylan, gut bucket blues, old time country.

Noise: What are your plans for the future?

Cutler: I plan on playing, writing, mentoring, putting out records, creating, and trying to do the right thing until the day I die.